Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday Sculpture Series

(Yes, I know, I am a day late.  Better late than never!)

This beautiful sculpture named Liv, was created by local artist Arabella Tattershall.  It is created from copper coated steel and stands 4'6" tall with a bottom diameter of 4'.  The pieces is designed with the intention of allowing plants to wind their way in and out of the open weave gown towards the leafy bodice of the dress.
Tattershall says of her work, "I am enamored with leaves. They keep falling into my pieces, as they would from a tree, and I accept their gifts of seasonal engagement in the guises of frailty, tenacity, color and shape."  
This piece sits in front of Embellishments, a boutique at 611 S. Public Road.  It is a nice complement to the 2010 Art on the Street Sculpture walk.  This pieces is available for purchase for $7,500.

(posted as part of Art Everyday Month)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shop Local - Support Small Business

Get creative!  Give creative! Shop Local!
We all know that we are supposed to "shop local."  There are many reasons to shop local - you support the tax base in your own community, you potentially support a small business owner, you can find local goods at local stores, you can reduce your carbon footprint, you can find unique items that aren't available at big box stores, and you can buy from local artisans.  Be a little more creative in your gift giving this year. 

Purple Poppy

There is even a national movement called Small Business Saturday, which has been designated as Saturday, November 27.  It's sponsored by American Express and hopefully will give support to small businesses nationwide.  I think it's a great idea.  Shop at small businesses this Saturday, but also shop at small businesses on Black Friday and next Tuesday and the following Thursday.  Don't stop!

You can take things a bit further and also commit to shop small businesses on-line, as well, instead of the big websites. Look at craft sites, like Etsy.  Or find small businesses to order from for your holiday gift giving.  There are plenty of companies on-line that are not mega-stores.  For interesting and unique gifts for pool players, check out Lafayette's Pool Dawg.  They not only have gifts for billiard lovers, but also for dart players and poker players.  A further look at their site and you will find game room furniture, lamps, game room wall art and clocks and even a few good thematic movies.  This on-line only, local store has a lot to offer.
Indulge Bakery

If you live in or around Lafayette, Colorado,  you should know that Lafayette is a great place to shop.  At first glance, you may not see all that Lafayette has to offer.  You can find gifts, home accessories and art at Purple Poppy, Timbalier, and Embellishments.  You can find jewelry and fine art at Particulars.  There are great flowers, plants and gifts at the Lafayette Florist.  You can find antiques at Jeri's Antiques and Noble Treasures.  You can stop for coffee at Cannon Mine or Mojo.  To satisfy your sweet tooth stop in Indulge for cakes and pastries or you can get hot chocolate or ice cream at Eats and Sweets, on Festival Plaza.  Hanna's sells sandwiches and delicious dinners to go. You can get lunch at Zamparalli, Pinnochio, Tutti, Martino's, Smash Burger, or Efrain's. 

There are plenty of events around the holidays, as well.  Check out the city's Events listings.

Where can you shop or eat in your town?  Do you have small businesses you can support?  Think outside the box, think away from the national chains.  Get creative with your gift giving.  There are many options to make your holiday gift giving much more interesting this year.

(and just in case you were wondering... this is not a paid advertisement.  Just a little PSA to do my part in my small town...I like my town)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recipe - Cranberry Martini

Frozen Cranberry Martini

½ cup plus 2 T cranberry juice
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup fresh frozen cranberries, rinsed
3 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
4 oz. vodka
3 oz. Grand Marnier   

Pour all ingredients into the pitcher of a blender. Fill pitcher with ice. Blend until smooth. Add cranberry syrup from sugared cranberries to thin to desired consistency.  Use extra cranberry juice if you have no syrup.
Pour into a sugar rimmed glass & enjoy!  Serve with Sugared Cranberries at your next cocktail party or holiday dinner.
Substitute tequila for vodka to make a Frozen Cranberry Margarita.

( I would have posted a recipe Thursday or Friday of this week, but seeing how this is the perfect cocktail for your Thanksgiving festivities, I thought you might need the recipe early.  Enjoy!)

New Toy - Art Every Day #23

I have a new toy. 
I am almost giddy about it.
Yesterday I bought myself a 1 inch square punch, like this one.  It's an Inchie Punch!

I am so excited, I can hardly stand it! 
I went to the chilly studio and punched and punched and punched. 

Two different colleges started to form.  A bright patchwork of paper squares in random pattern and color.

And a black and white patchwork of squares.
Two more works in progress. 
Obviously I can't just put down a random assortment of paper squares on a canvas, or can I?  Should I incorporate some of my already completed inchie collages?  Should I use the patchwork as a background for a bigger collage? 
Oh the possibilities are seemingly endless.  I love my new toy! 
To be creative today, I have new possibilities.
(Part of Art Every Day Month sponsored by Creative Everyday.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time and again - Art Every Day - Day 22

This collage is the companion to this one, called Endless Possibilities.  I paired them as companions because I worked in a similar style, with similar elements, and similar colors.  But I like this one so much better.  The words seem to resonate with me more than the words on the other one.  I love the element of time in this one, and the eager little girl towards the bottom of the piece.  I added the layer of meshy paper and miniature clothespins at the top.  I may continue to add to this one by adding some metal elements and maybe even clip something into the clothespins.  Any ideas of how to complete this one?  Sometimes I don't know when I am done.  Does anyone else have that problem?

(This post is part of Art Every Day Month.  I am so happy I signed up.  It has pushed me to work on art, or at least think about art for at least a small moment each day.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Sculpture Series - Art Every Day #21

Ayse, by Belgin Yucelen (photo by C. A. Crandall)

This piece is a cast sand resin sculpture by Belgin Yucelen.  Ayse weighs 200 pounds and measures 3' x 2' x 3'4".  It is installed along Public Road in Old Town Lafayette, just south of Simpson Street.  She sits in the gardens in front of the Metro Brokers.
I like this larger than life quality that she embodies in this woman.  In her figurative work, Yucelen aims to reveal the beauty and the perfection of the human form. Her art is meant to stimulate the viewer’s imagination and reveal the peacefulness and the purity of the sculpture through the beauty of a woman’s body as it is created.
Old town Lafayette is a perfect place to celebrate Art Every Day.  There are 12 sculpture on loan installed in our sculpture walk as well as 5 additional permanent installations.  A brief stroll down Public Road will be sure to get your artistic ideas flowing.  In addition to the public art, there are several art galleries and antique shops.
For more information about Lafayette's Art on the Street Sculpture Walk, visit the city's website.  This work is available for purchase for $8,800.
Lafayette is a great place to be to celebrate art!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Art Every Day - Day 19

Art Every Day # 19 comes from a recent trip to the Denver Botanic Garden, where I was inspired by the fall colors and unique plants.
Art can be found in the garden
Look at these crazy flower stalks,
the stems run through the center of the blossom-

 and the bloom appears to be upside-down
and if you look closely, the petals are fuzzy. 

Recipe - Kale Chips (Art Every Day - Day 18)

(A Day Late for Art Every Day Month)
Today's Art Every Day comes in the form of food.  After a couple of sugary recipes, it's time for something a bit more healthy: Baked Kale Chips.  You may be saying, "WHAT?! Ick!" But, wait!  Hear me out...
These crispy little treats have made their rounds on cooking blogs, on diet menus and have been tauted as the next best thing to the potato chip, so I decided I needed to try for myself.  Here's what you do:

Washed curly kale, stems removed.
Baked Kale Chips
1 bunch curly kale
1 T olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Kale tossed with olive oil and parmesan
 Wash kale (I do this by soaking for a few minutes in a bowl of cool water.  You will be amazed at how much dirt and silt is left in the bowl.) Remove the large stems from the center of the leaves.  Let leave dry on a paper towel.  When dry, tear leaves into smaller (about 2 inch) pieces  into a dry bowl.  Toss with 1 T olive oil, salt (about 2 teaspoons), pepper and 1 T grated parm. Line 2 baking sheets with foil, spray baking sheets with oil.  Arrange leaves on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.  1 bunch of kale may take two baking sheets.  Top with more parm.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until dry looking.

Baked kale, cooling on baking sheet

  • Be sure the leaves are somewhat dry before tossing with oil, so they don't steam in your oven.
  • Add additional herbs and spices to change the flavor.  Try garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or chili powder.
  • Go easy on the salt, the chips shrink and the salt becomes more concentrated.
  • Let cool completely before storing.
  • Store in a covered container in a cool place for up to a week.
Crispy kale chips
So, what's the verdict?  Are these the next potato chip?  No, they most decidedly are not.  But they are a  unique crispy treat that are curiously addictive.  I can see that they would be a great garnish on top of a steak or hearty bean soup.  They could be spiced up or down.  They make a great "Bat Wing" food item for your Halloween Buffet.  They are unique, healthy, crispy, spicy, tasty, and interesting.  Don't let anyone fool you that they are a substitute for other type of chips, but I think that they can hold their own.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Art Every Day - Day 17

letter C letter r letter e
a letter T letter E
letter A letter R letter T

Find creative letters on Spell with flickr

For my Art Every Day month post I decided to post someone else's creative idea - but it's one that I use to spark my creativity and may inspire you, too.

Uses: print and use in collage, make a card, send a message, use in a blog, send a letter, make a sign, use for a name plaque, spell your name, spell your kids' names, send in an email,

Best things about it: it's free, it's eclectic, there are endless possibilities and combinations.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Art Every Day - Day 16

Just checking in for Art Every Day Month, sponsored the the blog Creative Every Day.  I have been working on this one throughout the month - I am not sure if it has reached completion.
"Endless Possibilities"
I was inspired by fall colors and lots of words - I used paint, handmade paper, vintage stamps, vintage tickets, word clippings, metal bits and pieces of wood beneath some of the labels to create dimension.  All of it is on a painted and walnut ink stained 8 x 10 flat canvas.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creative Every Day

I strive to be creative every day.  I do this with my cooking, my home, my family, my art.  I even try to devote time every day (even if it is just a half hour) to making some art.  I have been following the Creative Every Day blog  and have wanted to hop on board... until now, I have been too busy to take time to write about it... and some days too busy to be creative.  But, here on day 15 of Creative Every Day Month, I am joining the movement.
So here is today's creativity.  A brief stint in the studio to work on some inchies:

Inchies, in progress.  Some are easy to complete,
others are waiting for the right word or detail to be finished.

These ones are done, I think. 
They will someday be part of a bigger collage or maybe a card. 

Recipe - Sugared Cranberries

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to share more cranberry recipes.   The Cranberry Salsa I posted last month is a great Turkey-Day appetizer, but these little tid-bits make great noshing from now until New Years.  Be sure to stock up on cranberries, they last about a week in a cool dark place (not the refrigerator.)  These are the best for cocktail parties or on a dessert bar or as a homemade hostess or teacher gift, or when you want a crisp sweet bite.
Sugared Cranberries
(From Cooking Light)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 package fresh cranberries, washed and picked over.
3/4 cup superfine sugar (available in the baking aisle)

Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat and let cool for up to 5 minutes. (Do not boil or the cranberries may pop when added.) Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Place superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.

  • The steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week, but do not refrigerate
  • Use the cranberry syrup to make cranberry margaritas (next week's recipe)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Sculpture Series

One of the great things about living in my small town of Lafayette, Colorado, is art.  While we aren't as artsy at Taos, New Mexico, or Telluride, Colorado, we are evolving to be an art oriented community.  It is great to be a member of this community during this metamorphosis from small town to town with an identity.

Last year the city started its Art on the Street Sculputre Walk.  We installed 8 sculptures as part of an art on-loan public art program.  This year we expanded our offering to 12 pieces.  Additionally, Lafayette owns 7 pieces as part of its permanent collection.  Not bad for such a little town. 

I want to take a moment to introduce you to the art in our town.
Today's sculpture was created by Lafayette artist, J. Lucas Loeffler. Part of the permanent collection, Sky Dance is one of four sculptures installed at Festival Plaza in the heart of Old Town Lafayette. It was part of the first year of Art on the Street.  It won the People's Choice Award and was donated by the artist to the city.

This bronze piece is beautiful and has fine attention to detail.   Loeffler says, "Years ago I was privileged enough to witness what is referred to as a Ghost Dance - a Native American Ceremony which exhibits many dancers in various forms. The dancer that most fascinated me was the Eagle Dancer. To anyone not present, it would be hard to believe what happened next. The Eagle Dancer seemed to become one with the flame, take flight and vanish into the night sky. This image was a driving inspiration to create this body of work."

J. Lucas Loeffler was born in 1972 on the east coast and moved to Boulder in 1976. At an early age, Lucas showed interest in many disciplines; however, sculpture was the one that suited him most.  After high school, Lucas started his own company while simultaneously pursuing his sculpting career. He cast his first bronze pieces at the age of 26. That same year he was accepted into a gallery in Santa Fe, who would sell his first sculpture to a museum in Germany. Since then, he has been in many ongoing exhibits, both private and public. Lucas has established the drive and creativity needed to pursue his dreams and still runs the company he started many years ago while consistently sculpting new pieces.
I hope you enjoy the first installment of my Lafayette art tour.  If you're in town, take a tour for yourself and enjoy the art around town.

Friday, November 12, 2010

10 Things I Learned

Fall is that funny time of year, I look forward to all that it is, cool, colorful, changing, crisp, cozy, but it has its bittersweet bits as well. It is a nostalgic time of year for me. Each fall I find myself thinking about all the things my mom taught me. I never got to thank her for these lessons. With my gratitude for her, I will share them with you:

1. Save everything, you never know when you will need it. I think my studio was meant to be. When we were moving our business into the studio, Kerry and I certainly had a head start getting it set up, with all the wonderful art supplies that my mom had collected over the years. Now it is where I have set up my things: art, sewing, collage, painting.
2. Surround yourself with beautiful things, in the garden, on your walls, in your home. Those things don't have to be expensive, just put care in what you do and how you do them.
3. Never save the good china, silver or crystal for a special day. What is the point of having all those special things if they are hidden away in a cabinet, or in a box?
4. And, if it breaks, that’s okay. After all, they are just things.
5. Always have enough good food and drink in the house to entertain at the drop of a hat.  Anyone who knows me, knows I can throw a party in a minute.
6. Everyone is beautiful, in his own way. This one drove me nuts as a teenager. I actually think it was part of a song lyric from the 70's that my mom tormented me with--does anyone recognize it? Always the optimist, my mom could find beauty in anyone or anything. I appreciate it now.
7. Be inclusive, the more the merrier. Holidays and parties were grand affairs at our house!
8. Never turn away a friend. Whatever a friend or relative needed, my mom was sure to try and accommodate.
9. Laughter is necessary and contagious. My home was always filled with laughter and happiness.
10. Be kind, it’s that simple.

I wrote that post three years ago and posted it on the blog I shared with my friend and business partner, Kerry.  I can’t believe that time goes by so quickly.  With just a few minor modifications it still applies today.  The only change is that since then, Kerry and I have closed our jewelry business and no longer run it out of my backyard studio.  The Schoolhouse, as it is known by many, was my mom’s studio dream, and today is where I house all my art supplies and work on collages and such. 

I miss her more than I could express in words.  Sometimes it is too raw and bitter, other times that pain has mellowed.  I hope that I can honor her memory and the lessons she passed on and shared.  Sometimes I need reminders.  Numbers 6 – 10 are so important and so often overlooked in today’s society.  They are a good reminder to me about how I want to live my life and who I want to be.

It has been 12 years since my mom died. It was too soon, so sudden, and we had way too many plans for her to go. But her legacy lives on in so many ways. And I hope that I learned enough of her lessons so that I can continue her vision.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Decorating with collections

I inherited a gene for collecting.  Some call it hoarding, or being a pack rat, hopefully it really isn't that extreme and it can be more delicately called "collecting."  Collecting can cause it's own problems: where to store a collection, when to stop, and what to do when a collection gets out of control.  Never fear, collections can be tamed, and in some cases it is okay to say goodbye to a collection.

My first collection gone wild was a collection of suns and moons that I started in the 90's.  Remember those?  Celestial imagery was everywhere.  I thought it was charming, so I bought, created, and collected many, many suns and moons.  My family got on board and I couldn't pass one holiday or birthday without receiving at least one celestial gift.  You can imagine that eventually it spiraled out of control.  I had a solution.  Confine them.  Instead of having suns and moons strewn about the house, I decorated the bathroom with them.  It wasn't even a full fledged bathroom, more of a powder room.  To embrace the theme, I painted the walls a bright orange and hung the best of the suns and moons on all four walls.  I must admit, it was a bit overpowering, but it was confined and contained.  It was kitschy and cute. 
Since then, I have broken that collection and I only have one unique ceramic sun left on a wall in my home.
I learned a lesson, though.  Grouping items is a great way to display confine a collection.  I used this technique when designing one of the bathrooms in our 1890's home renovation. I have a large collection of vintage photos.  Some are family shots and some have been collected at flea markets and yard sales just because they are interesting.

Using black and white in that bathroom seemed like a natural choice.  I found a white waffle weave shower curtain, and simple black towels.  I framed my collection of hand me down antique photos in black wood frames, and incorporated some black and white artwork as well.  I decoupaged a tissue box with black and white imagery.  I scoured the other parts of my house for a white kettle, a white pitcher (to put flowers in), a black glass bowl (for soaps). I painted the walls white and the built in shelving, window trim and door trims black. 

The overall effect is quite nice and was easy to achieve.  I didn't have to spend much to get the look.  I used old photos and vases.  The frames, if they weren't black, were painted or found at local discount stores.  I made the tissue box and the polka dot candle with black and white papers and Mod Podge. 

With white walls and only black accessories, there is potential for an easy switch up, if I want one.  I can add red towels in December for a pop of color.  If I find a really great antique accessory with a bit of color, I could add that too.  It's a great look, and I haven't tired of it yet!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Diabetes Awareness Month

Last year, a very dear friend of ours was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  She was 11 at the time.  While I have had several friends who've also have Type 1 Diabetes, I have learned more about this disease in the past year than I had known before.  As the CDC is releasing information that numbers are rising for Type 2 Diabetes, it is important to be aware of Type 1 Diabetes as well.  They are different. 

Our friend, and her family, have learned the ins and outs of Type 1 Diabetes.  They have experienced how people react, how schools handle kids with special circumstances, and how to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.  They are now on a life-long journey of living with diabetes.  You can follow their story on the blog Type A Mom Type 1 Kid.

In the meantime, take a look at the information.  It is important to know.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Share what you know, pass this along, spread the word.  Information is the key!

Information from the JDRF – Basic info on type 1 diabetes.  
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.
Affects Children and Adults
Type 1 diabetes usually strikes children, adolescents, and young adults, but it can be diagnosed in adults as well. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.
Needs Constant Attention
To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump. They must also test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. While trying to balance insulin doses with their food intake and daily activities, people with this form of diabetes still must always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, both of which can be life-limiting and life threatening.
Not Cured By Insulin
While insulin injections or infusions allow a person with type 1 to stay alive, they do not cure diabetes, nor do they necessarily prevent the possibility of the disease’s devastating effects, which may include: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.
Difficult to Manage
Despite paying rigorous attention to maintaining a meal plan and exercise regimen and always injecting the proper amount of insulin, people with type 1 diabetes face many other factors that can adversely affect efforts to tightly control blood sugar levels. These factors include stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness/infection, and fatigue.

  • As many as three million Americans may have type 1 diabetes.
  • Each year, more than 15,000 children – 40 per day – are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.
Warning Signs
Warning signs of type 1 diabetes may occur suddenly and include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Fruity odor on the breath
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness

Monday, November 8, 2010

Recipe - Truffles

 I think it's time for a recipe. 
This one is worth trying as the holidays approach.  I happened across this recipe while I was watching the Food Network and saw a show called 5 Ingredient Fix.  The show was new to me and I was unfamiliar with the host, Claire Robinson, although I have found I like her recipes and her tips. Her guest for the day was pastry chef Keegan Gerhard and they made hand rolled chocolate truffles. I have always been intimidated by candy making but they made it looked so easy I thought I had to try it!  I made them for Halloween.

Chocolate Truffles

8 ounces good dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa)

8 ounces heavy cream

Coatings for rolling:
cocoa powder, decorative sugar, sprinkles, spices, chopped nuts

Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate.  Scald the cream in a saucepan (heat over medium heat, stirring so the cream doesn't scorch on the bottom, until almost boiling)  Add the cream to the melted chocolate and mix with a wire whisk.   Here is where you wonder if something is wrong with the recipe.  The chocolate and cream don't seem to want to mix together, but don't worry.  Keep mixing and you will get a beautiful, shiny chocolate ganache.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  The ganache needs to be firm enough to scoop.


Using a small scoop, place small balls of chocolate on a lined cookie sheet.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.  Then, working quickly in small batches, roll the lumps of chocolate in your hands and then roll into the toppings.  Place in petit four cups or covered container and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
    Rolling truffles.
  • This recipe has two spots where I wondered what went wrong.  First, when I combined the cream and the chocolate, mixing took longer than I expected.  Have patience.  Second, when rolling the balls, I found they melted quickly.  My solutions: place them in the freezer for a few minutes or don't obsess about hand rolled truffles being perfectly round.
  • I see so many places for creativity with this recipe.  I mixed (1 t) cayenne pepper with one of my (3 T)rolling sugars and made spicy truffles.  I mixed cinnamon with another.  The cayenne was my favorite.
  • Use the warm ganache as a "frosting" for muffins or cupcakes.  Hold the muffin upside down and dip it into the ganache.  We did this with pumpkin muffins - delicious!
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  (After 5 days, they taste fine but the toppings "melt")

Finished truffles, Chocolate Cayenne on the left with orange sugar;
Plain Chocolate with black sugar on the right.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Purple Poppy

(WARNING:  Unsolicited advertising for my favorite boutique
- The Purple Poppy)

I have a new favorite store.  Not just because it's close by, not just because it's in Lafayette, not just because my lovely friend owns it, but because I love what they sell.  The Purple Poppy has beautiful custom rugs, lamps and furniture, but they also have a gorgeous assortment of home decor and personal accessories.  And, yes they have some fun art on the walls, too!  I know I can pop into the Purple Poppy and find a unique hostess - birthday - holiday - or just because gift.  I know they can wrap it for me in charming purple and lime.  I know that I can find a witty card.  I can find something new every time I go.

I have shopped for birthday, house warming, and hostess gifts.  They have the most distinctive napkin holders and unique vases, candlesticks, and paper weights.  I have bought things for my girls; the girls love their funky stuffed animals and colorful jewelry.  I have picked up a few things for myself.  I love the pick up sticks charms and nicely scented candles! 

So, if you want to buy local, if you want to support small business, if you want to give unique gifts that are several steps above the average, check out the Purple Poppy.  It is one of the many reasons I love living in my small town.

And, if you want to visit them out at their finest, attend next Tuesday's Snowflake Social to kick off the holiday season.  (6 - 9 pm, Tuesday, November 9) They will have all the usual plus some extra goodies, like hot chocolate while you shop and door prizes.  Maybe I will see you there.

Find The Purple Poppy in Lafayette in Atlas Valley (near the YMCA) at the south west corner of Arapahoe Road and 95th Street.  They are near Crawdaddy's Toys and Struttin' Pup.

Tell them I said hi when you stop in!

Friday, November 5, 2010

That is Home

Where thou art,
that is home.
-Emily Dickinson

I know that Dickinson meant "where ever you are - that is your home,"  but this quote also makes me think of what makes a home.  My home is made up of my husband, our daughters, extended family and our friends; we have family antiques and junque passed down generations.  My home is filled with photos of people here and gone.  Our home is filled with books, tchotchke and collected treasures.  Sometimes it feels like too much, but when I look at pruning and reducing, it is so hard to do.  Home means candles and comfort and good food.  It means decorating for the seasons and holidays.  Home is art, too.  Real art, kid art, friends' art, my parent's art, old art and new art all grace our walls. 

The sum of those parts is that our environment, our home, is a welcoming one.  It is one, I hope, that you could step into and feel comfortable.  I would offer you a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of wine.  Perhaps we could sit on the couch with a fire in the antique potbelly wood stove.  I most likely would have cheese and crackers to offer - maybe even an assortment.  We could have a conversation.

I don't think anyone would say our home is sterile, some would say it has a museum like quality, or if they have no tact, they could say it's too cluttered and junky.  What I hope a guest would say is that our home is welcoming and comfortable.  It may not be your style, but I hope you feel good here.

It is not by accident, and it's not easy.  But creating that warm environment is not all that hard, either.  It takes thought.  Make a home that is welcoming by making it look lived in, but not so much that there's not a clear surface to rest your eyes.  Place a pretty candle on the counter.  Hang a colorful print or painting (or two or three) on the wall.  Have a space for family pictures.  Leave a soft pillow or throw on your couch.  Buy grocery store flowers once in a while - just for you.  (alstroemeria or mums last a long time)  Make your house a home.  Then open your home to friends.

Come over for coffee, won't you?  You are welcome here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Collage Mistake

Vintage Postcard Collage -
can you find the mistake?
   Yesterday, I posted a collage I made using one of my vintage postcards.  I made this collage a number of months ago, it has hung in the studio for quite a while.  I even had it for sale at our last studio sale.
What is wrong with this picture?

Can you find it?  I attached the quotation in the wrong order.  A simple mistake, surely enough.  What I am embarrassed about is that I never noticed.  I even tried to sell it that way!  Mortified!

What's even more silly is that no one else noticed, or had the nerve to point out my mistake.  I didn't notice until I sat down to write a blog about it.  I have since fixed the collage, and posted a correct photo in yesterday's blogpost. 

Good thing collage is a forgiving medium.  Any mistake can be changed or fixed to suit your every whim.  I used an Exacto knife and cut and scraped the original quote off the collage.  I did cause some damage.  But, the dents and leftover paper bits were easily covered by the new quotation.  A few coats of Mod Podge smoothed everything out.  Good as new!

Treat or Treat!?
I guess I am not the only one who makes mistakes like that.  This is one my daughter noticed as we were putting away Halloween decorations.  It sat in my yard the whole month of October, just like this... none of us noticed.  I have had it for several years... none of us has ever noticed.  It was sold in a store and purchased, and no one noticed.

It's funny how the brain will make those automatic corrections when something is not quite right. 

The lesson I have learned:  Proofread.  I should have known about that one, being and English major and former English teacher.  Proofread.  Proofread. Proofread.  Then have someone else read it, too.  Another pair of eyes never hurts.  I guess I never have thought about needing a proofreader for my art, but it wouldn't hurt.

(And yes, I do proofread my blogs.  But, should you ever find an error, please tell me.  My husband does.)