Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Beginnings

In Hollister, California the Thanksgiving weekend marks the beginning of the holiday season.  We traditionally kick off the season with The Lights on Parade, held the first Saturday right after Thanksgiving.  There is always a wonderful lighted parade, pictures with Santa, cookies and cider with the shop owners and entertainment of all kinds.  This year the Hollister Downtown Association added some daytime events; a car show and a Holiday Boutique. It seems everyone in town showed up to do their Saturday shopping at the boutique and the downtown shops; the new event was a hit.

There were some fantastic vendors, at the boutique, to share all their creative wares, I met some wonderful new people and caught up with some cherished friends and neighbors.  I thought I would share a couple of the booths I shopped at and give you a peak into what the artists were selling.  I truly believe in supporting others who create for a living, so here they are, enjoy, maybe you will see just the right gift and do your shopping with these talented women.

Here is the booth for Artist Extraordinaire, Shannon Grissom; she is a fantastic painter, photographer, writer and TV show personality.  She is also a singer with a beautiful, soulful voice which brings tears to my eyes and peace to my spirit.  You will see all she does on her web sit at; www.shannongrissom.com.  I am privileged to own several of her paintings, which you can see hanging over the bed in my guest room makeover, on the Paisley Crazy posting.  I also purchased a copy of her Monkey Made of Sockies book for each of my nieces, nephews and granddaughters, and a couple for future grandchildren.  It is a sweet book just right to read to children of all ages.  I could go on for hours about this talented lady; I will stop for now, go to her website and check out all her wonderful products, just right for those special holiday gifts.

Next up was the Sassy Fashions & Accessories booth featuring lots of bling for you and your future little divas.  There were darling little shoes, tutus, jewelry and an assortment of other fun items to dress up your day, glitz and glam everywhere.  We really enjoyed our visit with the designer and can’t wait to shop with her again.  You can find out more by emailing her at sassyfashionz@yahoo.com. What a great place to shop for all the ladies in your life who might like a little glitz and glam of their own for Christmas.

We happened upon this next booth and found Lunar Accents, handcrafted jewelry designs which were out of this world.  The designers, Natalie and Susan are very talented artists who design and make all of their special jewelry pieces; they had a wide variety of earrings, bracelets and necklaces to choose from.  Of course, I had to buy a necklace for a very special person on my Christmas list, I know she will just love it and want more pieces for all her special occasions.  To contact Natalie & Susan you can e-mail them at lunaraccents@rocketmail.com.  Consider custom pieces of jewelry for that special someone on your Christmas list.

All of the women we met at the boutique were incredible artists each in their own right.  I only featured a few of the ladies we did our holiday shopping with, there were so many more artists and women with party plan based businesses, many of which you will find listed below.  Consider doing your holiday shopping and supporting all these women in business this holiday season.

I do have one more artist I want to share with you, her name is Jolene, and she is a graphic artist with her own graphic design business.  I purchased my holiday greeting cards from her this year to send out to all my family and friends, they are just adorable and I know everyone will enjoy getting them in the mail, what fun.  You can view her work at; www.ajewelddesign.blogspot.com.  She has a special going on until Dec. 1, 2011, so hurry and get in on the special pricing now.

Some of the other special women we met were:

Roseanne Talavera
Ty Looti Bows

Jessica Barnes
Switchblade SinDee’s
Custom Aprons

Diana Guzman
Sweet Envy
Handbags, apparel, jewelry and more

Debra Colmon
Cookie Lee Jewelry

Kimberly Kimber
Tastefully Simple

Woody Ledbetter
Miche Designer Handbags

The Holiday Boutique was hosted by: 
Hollister Downtown Association

Thanks for letting me share the beginning of our holiday season with you. 
Look for upcoming posts on decorating for the holidays and some fun projects you can do to give your home some special sparkle.  See you soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving In A Bag

That’s right; our Thanksgiving came out of a big box with lots of food packaged in bags, kind of like the food from the space shuttle.  You are probably wondering how that happened to someone who entertains so much? It was one of those things which happen when everyone wants to get together, but no one can figure out how to fit in all the cooking with everything else that is going on.  Our local grocery/deli was having a big promotion on pre-prepared meals, we thought it would be fantastic not to have to cook a big meal, just warm it up and eat.  You know, you really have to ask questions, lots of questions and we did not ask enough of them.  When my husband came through the door with just one big box I got my first clue that something was not right.  Oh boy, was I ever right, when we started to unload the box all we saw were sealed plastic bags, even the turkey was sealed in plastic.  Out came the large instruction sheet, oh no, we were in trouble, it looked like we would be assembling and cooking the entire dinner, not what we signed up for, that is what we get for trying to short cut Thanksgiving.

We spent the next 3 hours in the kitchen in a marathon cooking frenzy opening bags, mixing ingredients, putting it in the oven, pulling it out and mixing more or adding more ingredients, all in fifteen minute intervals, we never stopped once until the dinner was ready to be put on the table.  Our guests had to let themselves into the house and stayed in the kitchen watching us in total fascination as we squeezed their dinner out of plastic bags into the appropriate trays and bowls and cook it right in front of them.  We all agreed this was the dinner we wanted but no one had any idea what we had gotten ourselves into. It was ten times the work of the dinner I usually cook for everyone.  The food was very fresh and actually very good, but so much work.  The moral of this story and the lessons for today are; ask lots of questions when trying something new, when in doubt, don’t do it and there are no short cuts.  Next time I will hire a caterer or cook it myself, lessons learned.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, no matter how your meal was prepared and you had a wonderful time sharing it with your family and friends.  Watch for lots of holiday decorating tips, projects and fun family events, all starting this week.  Thanks for letting me share my Thanksgiving dinner with you.  See you soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Stockings for Kids

It is official, the holiday season is about to start, beginning with Thanksgiving on Thursday and black Friday sales and cyber Monday specials and all that shopping… oh my.  For those of us who are not into all the crowds and the sales, we begin our holiday season by decorating the house, getting ready for all the holiday entertaining and making our own gifts and decorations.  On Friday, after the Thanksgiving entertaining clean up, I will go to storage and pull out all the holiday decorations I will need to decorate the house for Christmas with the grandchildren and the holiday parties with friends. It will take me several days to turn my everyday home into a festive wonderland for everyone to enjoy.  There will be lots of DIY projects to share with all of you as I go along, hopefully you will get some creative ideas for your own homes and parties.  More sparkling tabletop decorations, lighted banisters and who knows what else, we also decorate the outside of the house; there will be some fun ideas from there as well.

It appears I have already begun my creative season with the making of the Christmas Stockings to be donated to children in need who are staying at one of the local shelters.  My process began with the making of a pattern, I chose to make a rag stocking, quilters who make rag quilts know what I am talking about.  Finding fabrics from my retro stash and purchasing some newer fabrics and pulling out all my leftover batting from past quilts, more recycling.  The inspiration for the stocking project came from The Pink Slipper Project which makes and donates slippers to children and adults in need, last year they added Christmas stockings to their challenge.  Since I landed in the hospital and was not able to participate then, I picked up the project for this year and I am committed to seeing how many I can make, hopefully I can get others interested in doing the same. I already have a bunch cut out and got several all sewn up and ready to give.  We will see how it goes, I will report back on my progress, keep good thoughts for the projects success.

I truly hope all of you have a wonderful day of giving thanks for all the good things and people you have in your life.  Happy Thanksgiving.  See you very soon with lots of holiday sparkle.

Check them out:

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Bit of Bling

As you know bling is my thing, having said that, it does not mean everything is covered in gold, silver or rhinestones.  In fact I have very little of it in my own home, something I intend to remedy in a tasteful, limited way.  I decided to start small with little items in my studio and bedroom.  I began the search for things I could add some sparkle to and found a few, here is what I did.

Recently my daughter gave me a very cute black stiletto tape dispenser, I loved it, and I put it on my work counter where it sat for sometime.  It was cute but lacking something, sparkle, a bit of bling, what could I do to glam it up?

Inspiration struck, why not put some crystals on it, some shoe bling just like designer shoes have.  I went right to Michael's to get some princess stick on crystals.  The actual inspiration came from a blog I look at daily, A Dress A Day.  The host did a copy of a Christian Loubouton shoe using silly plastic eyes to cover the whole shoe, just like the designer did.  Since I love sparkle I chose crystals instead and left some of the black shoe showing for better impact.  Very fun looking; it sparkles whenever I turn the lights on.

Next up were two pretty, heavy, glass containers with large black bows on them, they were from my Son’s wedding and the containers originally held small rose buds.  I have a dozen containers and could not figure out what to do to with all of them. I pulled out my glue gun, cutters and some glamour gem buttons and went to work.  I cut off the button shanks so I would have a flat surface to apply my hot glue to.

I hot glued a button to the center of each bow giving them some really elegant sparkle.  Now I use these little glass containers as candle holders and as storage for little bits and pieces while working on projects, what a pretty way to work.

As I looked around I spotted the black & white lampshade with the big black bow, I featured in my Black & White Bling post.  As much as I loved that lampshade, it was missing that special something.  Out came the gems and the glue gun, this time I added two buttons to the bow to give it more glamour.  Now it had the elegant sparkle I was looking for.

I am crazy about decorator pillows and have a great time making them myself.  This little pillow was made from polka dot fabric and ribbons and a pre-printed fashion fabric panel.  The pillow came out great but still felt a bit plain so I added some pretty crystals to give it bit of flare.  All these little projects helped to add small amounts of light to my studio, after all it is winter and the days are getting darker with all the cloud cover, every bit of light helps.

Last but not least, was a new faux-fur leopard pillow with an iridescent chocolate brown, silk backing, which I made in under an hour.  I added an elegant crystal pendant to the middle of the fur side of the pillow and covered a button in fur for the back side of the pillow. The pillow came out absolutely gorgeous, I made it for the center of my king size bed.  Every girl needs a little leopard faux-fur in her bedroom, adding a stunning fur pillow to the bed was just the right amount of glamour without going over the top.

There were a number of other small studio projects I completed but I decided to save those for a future post.  Since I will be adding more glamour to my master bedroom I will share the rest of the bedroom projects with you as I go along.  Look for those after the holidays sometime in January, unless I get the bug to do it as a New Years makeover, something like; New Year New Bedroom.  You never know, watch for it.  Thanks for letting me share my creative ventures from my studio.  See you soon.

Watch for:  Christmas Stockings for Charity and Elegant Elements, coming next week.

If you liked this post also look for past posts;
Black & White Bling
Pumpkin Bling
Holiday Sparkle
Buttons, Bows & Bling

Where to buy:
For crystals and pendants
Glam Gem Buttons:
JOANN Fabrics

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holiday Sparkle

Holiday Sparkle -  How to get it

The holidays are fast approaching; it is time to make your home a place that sparkles with light and glamour.  Even if you don’t traditionally celebrate or decorate for the holidays you can still give your home a little lift with some elegance and a bit of sparkle.  Some of us go all out decorating the tree, stairway, fireplace and every nook and cranny we can find, at least that’s what I usually do when I have the time and energy.  But for those who live alone, don’t have family who come to visit or who don’t celebrate the holidays, it is business as usual, the same old surroundings day after day.  Even if the holidays aren’t your thing you can still add a bit of bling to help bring some new light to your daily surroundings and have some fun while doing it.

You don’t have to go all out; you can just make a few simple changes to give things a fresh, new look.  One of my favorite ways to help perk things up is to set my dinning room table.  Several times a year I change up my table, since we only use it when the whole family is home for a visit or we want to have a romantic dinner for two.  You could do the same with your dinner table, if you don’t have little ones, a great trick for all of you empty nester's.  I don’t put out plates, silverware and glasses, just all the pretty things around them.

Here is a list of some of the items I use to change up my table whenever I want a new look or feel in the room.

I have several different colors of plate chargers; gold and copper.  I purchased a variety of tablecloths; brown, red, olive green, copper and cream, pretty basic colors to go with the chargers.  I eventually bought napkins, place mats and table runners in coordinating colors as well as some napkin rings.  I didn’t purchase it all at once, it took me some time, I kept in mind the colors I already had whenever I saw a clearance sale, great time to stock up and Target is wonderful for that.  I had a little 3x5 card in my purse with all the items listed I already had and what I wanted to look for.  Whenever I couldn’t find what I wanted, I made it myself, to fill in the gaps; napkins, place mats and table runners are quick and easy to make.  These are the foundation pieces necessary for dressing your tabletops. 

For several options, start with two table linen colors which are complimentary so you can mix and match; like brown and gold or brown and copper, red and cream or green and cream.  Buy one set of everything in each color then mix and match creating all kinds of elegant tabletops making your whole room feel like new each time you make a change.

Now for the elegance and sparkle; simply add a pretty charger in gold or silver and a couple of different napkin rings, one for everyday use and one with some bling.  You can really get a lot of different looks with just a couple of changes.

This simple brown napkin takes on an elegant look when placed on a gold charger with a sparkling napkin ring.

Add a pretty beaded napkin ring and place it on a brown place mat for a whole new look.

A golden jeweled napkin ring on a copper charger brings in fall elegance.

The brown napkin with a wooden napkin ring, on a copper charger, placed on a brown place mat sets the table for Thanksgiving.

 Put the sparkle and elegance in your daily decorating by adding a few pretty pieces to your everyday dinner table or special occasion dinning room.  Make everyday a special day.

Thanks for letting me share just a few of my tabletop decorating ideas.  Look for part two of Holiday Sparkle; I will be sharing how to add some more sparkle and glitz to your holiday dinners and parties.  Let’s glam it up together.  See you very soon.

Where to buy:
Bed Bath & Beyond
Pier 1 Imports
Home Goods

Monday, November 14, 2011

Super Studio

Things are very busy in my studio these days with multiple projects going on at the same time.  Some days it is really difficult to keep up with everything going on, including my blog posts.  I have so many things I want to share with you, especially some of the things being made in the studio for the holidays and all the special gifts for my granddaughters, family and friends. The projects are piling up fast and so is all the fabric and notions, a gal could get lost for days in there.  My quiet work space is starting to rival Santa’s workshop and has become a super studio.

I know I promised more bling projects and I have several in the works, but I had to put them aside to work on multiple birthday gifts for my oldest granddaughter’s 5Th birthday, which happens in just a couple of weeks. I have been working on a pretty blue fairy wall hanging which I blinged out (don’t know if is a real word but it is in my studio) and a very cute purple coat to help keep her warm all winter.  Not to mention cutting out dozens of Christmas stockings, which I am making to donate to charity.  You will see that project in a future post.  For now, I thought I would share a photo or two of the fairy wall hanging and the coat in progress, just so you know what I have been up to and why my new posting was so late.

My granddaughter loves blue and has a thing for flower fairies.  She is just like her Grammie; bling is her thing, so we add it to all her wall hangings.

I added lots of rhinestones and some butterflies to give dimension and sparkle. She is going to love this hanging over her bed.

This was the pre-cutting stage of her coat; I used deep purple fleece and a really cute pattern from McCall’s.

Honey is inspecting my pattern layout; she always inspects all my projects even if they don’t need it, wouldn’t want to get into trouble with the pattern police.  Good job Honey, keep up the good work.

These are the pockets with the flowers and buttons I chose to brighten up the dark purple.  We are going to have a tough time getting her to take it off at bedtime. I have almost completed her coat, I should be done in a day or so as planned, just in time for the cold, wet weather.

I really wanted to give you a sneak peak at the Christmas stockings I am making but realized at the last moment I haven’t downloaded those photos yet, darn it.  I guess you will just have to wait to see the full posting of the stockings and the elegant bling projects I am working on.  Thanks for letting me share my current studio projects with you.  See you soon.

If you like bling, you might want to look at past posts; see the list on the right hand side of the blog under the month of October.

Black and White Bling
Pumpkin Bling

Where to buy:
Blue Fairy Wall Hanging

Crystals and butterflies

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