Thursday, January 31, 2013

life delights in life

This morning I read in the newspaper that the sun shone a whopping 17 hours total this January in our area. No wonder the two days it was sunny here I found myself gushing about it on my blog :)

When we were on the Belgian coast last summer we had plenty of gray and rain too. But luckily it cleared up for a few hours every day so we could enjoy fresh air and salty wind on the beach. These are a couple of my favorite photos where it was "almost sunny". (I won't even tell you what the temperatures were  -  we just took what we got and were happy when it wasn't pouring!) 
Love my boy jumping around in the dunes. Also just love this quote by Khalil Gibran. I thought of it often while we were enjoying the sea
While searching for papers or little bits and pieces that would match this navy and cream color scheme, I found another quote by a favorite poet which even repeats the word "delight" which is used as my title and is also in the main quote. Serendipity while creating a scrapbook layout it is always "delightful"!  
I also came across this small envelope with thread or buttons from a clothing company, probably from a sweater. It's perfect for adding a special secret note in the envelope. Love how it looks and do think I want to try to incorporate many more "found objects" in my scrapbooking pages to add interest and uniqueness (and save money & do something good for Mother Earth). The lovely star print paper is from Heidi Swapp.

I'm happy that I'm finding a better balance with my sewing and scrapbooking so far this year. My next challenge to myself it to post a new layout every Thursday. I hope you enjoy!

Have a lovely Thursday! 
xoxo
Karen






Monday, January 28, 2013

starting off the new week

Is your new week getting off to a good start?

This is how I love Monday mornings ....
the sun sparkling through a crystal heart (looking a bit dusty ::)
casting rainbows through my studio
THE SUN!
we haven't really seen you Mr Sun in 2013  - you've been quite hidden by clouds!
 listening my way through a stack of favorite CDs 

sorting through a  big pile of fabrics in pretty colors on my table for a custom order
sewing tiny fabric animals for a mobile &
imagining this mobile soon hanging in a sweet baby's bedroom
 oh I nearly forgot: my ever faithful companion dozing nearby (and basking in the sun!)

 pleased about recent orders off to Germany and Bella Italia....
Happy that I can share it all with you here!
 
I think I will even hum a tune after I have to leave my studio for other less pleasant work calling....Mr. Mop and Mr. Vacuum cleaner .... I can hear Mr Washing Machine spinning which means he'll be calling me too in a few minutes.  (Why I am calling everything Mr today? The sun must just be making me giddy! Sigh..!)

Have a great Monday & a lovely week!
xoxo
Karen

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

North Sea

Today I have a scrapbook layout I made from some photos from our little trip to the North Sea last summer.

I started with a piece of craft cardstock and applied a bit of white acrylic paint in the center.
The circles are made with a circle punch (I would like to have more of those in different sizes). I stitched them on with the sewing machine. The small papers are from the 6x6 pack of Everyday Eclectic by Echo Park and the buttons from Flair on etsy. There is a bit of red striped washi tape peeking out from behind the two photos.
Love the Dear Lizzy date stamp! 
Thanks for looking & have a lovely day!
xoxo
Karen

Monday, January 21, 2013

vegan pumpkin-apple muffins

We still have quite a bit of frozen applesauce and pumpkin puree from our garden last summer & autumn so I was really happy to stumble upon a recipe which uses both.

I doubled the recipe, which you can find here, and we baked two batches yesterday. They are very moist and delicious and they are light enough that you can easily justify eating more than one (perfect with hot tea after a nice hike through a snowy forest!). I found the sugar content quite high & I reduced it slightly. Also skipped the powdered sugar sprinkling on top - they are sweet enough!

The recipe calls for "pumpkin pie spice" which is not available here. I added a pinch of cloves, nutmeg, ginger and allspice as a substitute.

Our week is starting off with masses of snowflakes falling from the sky. Hope your week is getting off to a wonderful start!

xoxo 
Karen

Monday, January 14, 2013

lovely glow

This weekend the sun finally started to show her lovely face to us again and the weather has become frosty wintery cold again! Even though it's sunny today, large snowflakes have been slowly floating around - not really making any snow fall - but adding a wonderful glitter as if we were trapped in a magical huge snow-globe. What a magical day!
 
One of my goals for the New Year became very obvious to me while working on my December Daily. Not only do I hope to make a lot of new pages for my scrapbook but also to share some of my favorite layouts here on my blog. I have already ordered and received a huge of prints of favorite photos from last year and have restocked up my paper supplies, and have been busy paper-crafting! I also have new goals for my crafts business, but I will save that for another post :)

So, here's one of the first pages I've made so far this year!
She's lighting the candles for her little brother's birthday. I think it's so sweet how ever since he was born, she's loved her role being the big helpful sister.  (I will make another page to go next to this in the album with photos of the birthday boy, of course!)
 
I used papers from the Victoria Garden line from Echo Park and from the Cashmere Dame line from Glitz, some vintage aqua rick-rack (stitched on with the sewing machine) and a few other embellishments. I gave the white paper a few paint splatters with turquoise glimmer mist from Tattered Angels.


I often use this butterfly stamp in pages about my daughter. This time I stamped three with black ink on pale pink cardstock, cut the butterflies out and then lifted them with a bit of cardboard from old packaging. My foam adhesive pop-ups were all used up and this worked quite well and gives the page lots of dimension.

This year I want to try to incorporate many more dimensional and textural elements in my pages, and to use more paint and mixed-media type techniques.

Thanks for looking and have a magical day!
xoxo 
Karen

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Paris on a rainy day


My daughter and I started off our new year with a day dedicated to art. We went to this exhibit in Frankfurt and if you like Paris and/or Impressionist art (or both!), do check out this short video of the show. It is in German with English subtitles. The painter and art patron Gustave Caillebotte may not the first name you might think of when recalling Impressionist painters. However, his influence was probably greater than generally considered, as this exhibit tries to prove. Caillebotte's story is well worth knowing. Personally, I also found the collection of photos of Paris from the mid to late 1800's an extremely fascinating part of the exhibit. 

If you are in Germany and want to see this, you must hurry, the exhibit is ending soon! 

Another very wonderful thing about our day in the city was spending it with two good friends, who happen to be mother and daughter as well. Lovely!

It is deeply satisfying to start off the year surrounding yourself with the people and things you love.

Sometimes the planning of projects involving many people can be overwhelming to me, but every time we work towards making dreams and goals happen, a new world opens up.

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray."
-Rumi

xoxo
Karen


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

December Daily

Thanks for coming back for day two of my Christmas Album! I know the season is over and done with but....actually...our house is still full of decorations and I don't know about you, but I certainly don't mind Christmas lingering on for just a few more days :)
For my “December Daily” I used a lovely green linen-covered photo album with spiral binding and thick creamy pages. It's something I picked up at the drug store on sale last summer. It had some silly word on the front which I covered with my album name (stamped) and some snowflakes.
I started the book with a foundation page – a bit of an introduction in which I kind of mused about Christmas and Advent and what's important for me, for our family. 
I added a few photos of each family member on the backs of these tags and dangled them with ribbons from the spiral binding. 
My time-squeezing tip: I found it was easiest to jot down my daily entries on the computer every evening. Every few days I found an hour or so to sit down to work on my book, I started by pulling out all my pretty papers and photos and printing out my latest journaling notes. I do really love the look of handwriting in scrapbooks and usually do a mix of print and handwriting – but my December Daily is mostly printed which made it much quicker to make. Sometimes it looks a little too neat for me – paradoxically the handwriting looks more spontaneous - but for me it was just easier in this case to print out rather than handwrite and that's okay.

I usually kept my layouts quite simple.




One of my favorite tools in this project was a cute roller date stamp I bought last fall and I adore it! It is called “Dear Lizzy Neapolitan Roller Date Stamp” by American Crafts and you can stamp the date as well as a little phrase (if you want). I knew I was going to love it when I ordered it and would you believe that in the original plastic package - the date was set to my birthday!!!! (I order on-line so I did not pick it out like that!) Coincidences like that give me happy goosebumps! I used this stamp on almost every page.
I also stamped this adorable little bird on most pages as a unifying element throughout. 

Most of the scrapbook papers & stickers were from the Crate collection “Sleigh Ride” and “Make it Merry” by October Afternoon. I just purchased a few sheets of the papers that caught my eye – and then mixed and matched with other Christmassy papers in my stash.
When I felt like I was running out of pages, I made little cardstock flaps attached with washi tape. 

Here are links to a few beautiful December Daily albums that really inspired me.
This handmade book in lovely neutrals and whites by Wings of a Butterfly is just gorgeous and Vanessa links to a tutorial to show you how to make the book yourself. 

I also enjoyed watching Estellita from France put up photos of her December Daily all during the month. Love her creative style. 

Ali Edward's Daily is stunning as always and there are many more links to wonderful books. 
 
Thanks so much for looking!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy 2013!


Hello, dear readers! May this new year be filled with lots of pretty things and bring you much inspiration, joy and many many happy moments!
Last month I made a “December Daily” scrapbook (see here for inspiration). For years I've been watching people make these and have always wanted to journal my December but I had two obstacles - the first being what most busy moms have - lack of TIME! Especially in December! This however is exactly why taking some notes and photos and putting it all together in a book is such a powerful way to live those moments with full awareness. I will share a tip with you on how I managed to squeeze time for journaling in my next post.

The second obstacle for me is the photos. I always process my photos in large batches 2 or 3 times a year. Scrapbooking supplies are such a great inspiration for getting creative but they certainly add up in cost very quickly so I'm happy if I can at least get a discount on photo developing. The “December Daily” idea is to work on the album day by day as events are happening. Some people do put their albums together first and add the photos later but I need my photo before I can start a page. So I splurged on instant photo processing in a local shop - it's ridiculous how much that costs – but the price was worth it – I was on schedule with my album and had a lot of fun putting it together! I know we will always enjoy looking back at this little book.

I'll be back tomorrow with lots more details on how I made this album and peaks of the inside pages and photos!
On another note.....you might recall....before I signed off to a "small" blogging break in December (whoa! time flies!) it was just before my first market experience. Some of you already know from following my facebook page that it was a great experience; I am very happy to report that my crafts show was quite a success! It was a combination of many good things - I do not underestimate the support of my family & friends - it was frosty, subzero weather for hanging around outside for the entire weekend – but I believe the snowy and sunny winter weather added to the charm and brought lots of visitors to the Christmas market. While it was a very small market, no one else had products like mine so that certainly was positive, too.
 I am quite pleased with the many sales I made and the public response to my hand-made products in general. While it's fun to sell on etsy and dawanda and mail packages around the world (places far a little far away like the Netherlands and places was on the the other side of the globe like USA - Canada – Australia – even Hong Kong!) it was a real pleasure to talk to my customers face to face. It was also fun to see what a fabulous accountant and salesman my middle son is! More local shows will definitely be in the future for me (and I hope my son wants to join me again!).
See you tomorrow with more December Daily notes!


xoxo 
Karen