A Quest For Focus


** My Paradise

Called Home **

With A Grateful Heart

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I've just had quite the weekend. You see, I have a few of my books pinned on Pinterest - one of which got the attention of Jessica at Cre8it and she found my Handmade Artists shop where she purchased on of my art journals...and then another! Anyway, she made me her artist of the week on her blog and through that I've met some very nice folks not to mention made quite a few sales. I've also just ordered some Sheer Heaven transfer paper which she exclusively sells. I watched her video tutorial and decided I have to give it a try! I definitely will post my adventures with that soon. 

There is a very sweet story that goes along with the first book she purchased. Start here and then read when she gets her new book from me a day or so later! 

Messing around with some photo filters on my iPad! ♥
I am just amazed at how the internet connects people - many complain, but I never will. I've met new friends and have reconnected with old ones, truly a wonderful thing. Speaking of the internet, I have just registered bluehighwaysbooks.com - my very own website! It doesn't go anywhere yet but hopefully by the end of April my new online shop will be born....you know I'll keep you posted on that as well. 

I've been scrambling to get more books done for the shop......yes, I know, so what's new?....

How can you not just LOOOOVE fabric? The colors. The patterns. The...the...BEAUTY! ahaha

Thank you internet for connecting me to the universe.......
Sounds of laughter shades of life..........at the Shores

Into the Mystic

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I'm super excited as to what I found in my mailbox Monday ..yep... a gift from an awesome friend/artist/potter. Pottery is kind of a new venture for Jamie but I think she's well on her way.

This funky set will be treasured always.

A quick side note. The weather has been outstanding. It's been in the 70's and 80's and it's still March! I mean normally at this time we could very well have snow on the ground for a couple weeks yet. I just don't know what to think but you bet I'm NOT complaining. The hotter the better for this girl. 

A new book was listed last night. It has both lined and drawing pages. I love the fabric. Yes, I know, I say that a lot and I guess it comes with my fabric addiction... but I DO love it hahahaa!  

Two more weeks and I'll be heading to the annual mother / daughter week on Hilton Head Island. I love this time spent, not to mention I probably need to be pulled away from the worktables for some forced decompression.

Lastly, I was featured in my 100th treasury on Etsy last night. What made it extra cool is if you know me I am a huge Van Morrison fan. Well, the title of this treasury is Into the Mystic by...yes, Van Morrison. I think that was a smile and nod from the universe :o)

Maybe I've used this song here on my blog before and if I have, it's my blog, I can.
and together we will float into the mystic..............at the Shores

Happy St. Pat's!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A beautiful day today. Truly. The doors and windows are open, birds are singing, the sun is out and for the first time since I've lived here I am hearing boats out on the water this early in the year. Crazy, I tell ya. 

While taking a little stroll around the yard I found millions of acorn caps on all the gravel paths...now I have a bag full. I've seen the little felted acorns on Etsy so I had a go of a few with some of the caps I squirreled away. They're super cute and fun to make. I might have to get some more roving to make more colors.

I have also been working on a soft cover custom order for my friend Lisa's husband who I believe is studying botany. I used gessoed canvas then covered it in a fabric that has a national park map design, she wanted an outline of Utah and an elderberry on the front, a swallow on the back, then a honeybee on the inside cover...oh, and just the bottom third of the pages lined. Here it is just before I bound the pages (the cover is lying flat): 

I also got the 25 small notepad donation completed and sent off. I wanted them to not be too girly and somewhat the same but not since I think I would have never made it through 25 identical ones without losing my mind (and interest) sooooo I had a piece of batik and if you know batik the color changes can be huge so I hacked away took small 4" x 5.5" pieces of that same gessoed canvas, covered them for the fronts and just plain chipboard for the backs. I stab bound 50 pages in the hemp leaf pattern and finished 'em off with a hair elastic, I like to have something to keep things that could potentially be kept in a purse or backpack shut. I also sent some beaded book thongs with my business cards. PS It took me 16 of these before I had the idea to drill the holes for binding with my DREMEL instead of pounding an awl through them...tip: Use a Dremel to begin with, it goes 10 times faster...trust me on this one..

I will resist the urge to post a Van Morrison video on this St. Patricks day but instead will put one of my favorites from the Irish rockers U2
May the luck of the Irish always be with you.............at the Shores


Monday, March 12, 2012

Last week as a little bumpy but I must say, my friends without fail are always there to lend a hand in those times. I got an amazing package in the mail from my friend Lisa. She knows I am a Banksy fan, as a matter of fact I have a post on him (still haven't seen the movie "Exit Through The Gift Shop") anyway, back to the package, this is what she sent: 
I have completely enjoyed going from cover to cover...more than once. There was a bit in there that speaks of graffiti and how to most it symbolizes the decline in society "but the people who truly deface our neighborhoods are the companies who scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff"..."some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place". I don't always agree with the subject matter, but I do find guerrilla art fascinating! Oh, and some of his museum pranks are the BEST! He has brought his altered paintings in to places like The Met, Tate and The Louvre and personally installed them himself with nary a guard to notice. Below is a photo of him gettin' busy at the Met in disguise. HA! Google him, you might find him as amusingly fascinating as I do! 

Another gem given to me at Christmas by a dear friend, Susan,  The Crafters Devotional - 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit. It's been a fun source for creative recharge.

Finally it's about time for me to thank Teresa for the lovely award she's bestowed upon my humble blog. She  is a kind soul who is always out
there helping promote others and a Handmade Artists Shop teammate too! Here is a link to her shop.
I am supposed to share with you 7 random facts about myself and then pass this on to 15 other blogs that I feel merit this honor.

1. A few years ago I started taking flying lessons
2. I am left handed...most of the time
3. I prefer my snacks salty not sweet
4. I'm afraid of worms
5. I own a pink scooter
6. My husband and I are looking to retire soon.... outside of the USA.
7. I love working with power tools

I am picking some blogs to share this blog award to...TBA :)

I've got 3 new minis in my shops. You can see them on the right under the HAF Shop tag (top 3 are the new ones) . Still trying to finish the 25 notepads..only have 10 completed. :(

I picked this is just because this song was playing as I was writing this post

For we belong in the sun..............at the Shores

March Greetings

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I've been a less than stellar blogger so far this year which I have no excuse for...lord knows I always have plenty to yammer on about! Hope everyone has ushered the month of March in with gratitude for being one month closer to warmer weather : )

In the previous post I had some little gifts I had made for my friend - well, they have been safely delivered to California: 
She messaged me to ask if I'd be making more to sell and I immediately said "No, that is OOAK" shortly thereafter she wrote back "OOAK?" I told her it meant One Of A Kind - she thought I had already named it haha...anyway, it stuck. Meet Annie and Ooak : )

I cut another stencil for a book, this time it's Frida Kahlo. I really like how it came out. Also I've been getting some mini's for the shops made, nicely priced at $20 ea. I might add! And the photo on the right are the first 4 of 25 small notepads I am making and donating for a couples retreat - hope they aren't too "hippie-ish" for their purposes! I covered some gessoed canvas (I have 5ft by 18ft rolls of the stuff) with a batik for the front covers making them pliable and regular chipboard for the back.

A patient I've spent nearly every Friday afternoon with for the past 2 and a half years died a few days ago. This beautiful one's for you Mrs. McFarland. I'll miss you.

Shelter in a storm....................at the Shores

Got My Mitts Into Everything...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What a wonderfully productive week in spite of having a cold. I have been wanting to get a few small things made for a friend of mine who was sweet enough to sew and send me a super cute handmade hat back in December. I made a lip balm key chain cozy, a pin cushion, some photo transfer wall art of her furry children (2 chinchillas and a cute dog) and in honor of the Chinese New Year a crocheted dragon:

Yes, the dog IS wearing goggles. I made a curly wire hanger for the top of the wall art that still has to be attached. Hope she likes them.

On top of that I got 7 books made, all lined journals - all 6 are available in my shop/s:

A little 80's music to groove to....big hair (on all but Annie), big voice!

When tomorrow comes.............................at the Shores

Conquering Projects...One At A Time

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I feel overwhelmed at times, there is so much to do just outside of my bookbinding that I sometimes don't know where to start so instead of starting I just make more books and pretend the other things don't exist. That might be what some call the ostrich syndrome? (I just made that up) Anyway, I've pulled my head up out of the sand and dusted off my sewing machine for project number one: A camera bag for my dear photographer friend - it was supposed to be a Christmas gift but.......well, I just explained my affliction in the previous sentences. It's done and I must say I am quite pleased with myself! It has a 1/2" padding on the sides and bottom, 2 small pockets inside, two on the outside back and an adjustable velcro-ed divider inside. I found the tutorial online at the blog Creating Happiness  I was super happy to have my iPad right next to the sewing machine for directions, made it easy to refer to and follow along. If you are thinking about making one let me help gathering of materials a little easier as I spent too much time looking for some of the stuff.
1. Padding - while you can get 1/2" foam at a fabric store it is rather expensive so I got a 1/2" sleeping mat which can be found in probably any store that has a camping supply department.
2. ALL the hardware - Strapworks has it all, you can get many different colors and sizes there and their turn around is pretty quick too. Also, if you wanted nylon webbing for the strap they have that too.
3. I purchased both my canvas (main color) and batik at a local fabric store - if you sew I'm sure you too have a favorite that carries the perfect fabric for you.
So, now that I've saved you the searching and running around hop to it!

Here is what I/we have done on project #2 - my track lighting for my workroom: 

This house was built in 1969 and absolutely not a room in the house has overhead lighting which has been a sticking point when it comes to my studio, working by lamps etc. is just not right, horrible as a matter of fact. I think the reason it had been put off for so long is knowing that a trip in to the attic crawl space is inevitable and neither my husband or me relished the belly crawl that was going to have to take place. Well, it's done. Now we have to figure out how and where to get a light switch installed.

Project #3 - the sink (the one I previously wrote about below) Still not re-installed but hopefully my husband will get that one finished TODAY. I am going mad with it all torn apart.

Project #4 - The fireplace surround mosaic. This one will wait until I have at least 50 books in my shops for sale, I'm shooting for mid-Feb. hopefully sooner but I decided to leave my delusions behind on this one and agree in my head to be more realistic.

I really like this video and it's animation (and song of course!)

I believe in the power................at the Shores

January in 120 Seconds!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hello, it's been awhile. After being out of work for exactly 2 years and one week I am now convinced I was less busy while working out there for the man! Lots of projects going on. I am installing new track lighting in my workroom (YAY for overhead lighting!!) Preparing the fireplace surround for a mosaic and of course books for my shops....oh, and cannot forget the project that was forced upon me: I was at the kitchen sink washing out a pot when all of the sudden the entire double sink fell to the bottom of the cabinet below! HA! It doesn't look as if there was too much damage to the plumbing miraculously enough. What a sad, sad state it all is in though, the guys that installed the granite countertops did not even use sink clips - just blobs of epoxy - it all came loose, this will be a blast to fix : /
So, instead of bombarding this post with pictures of my newest book creations I have a 120 second video of my January work:

The Hepburn one near the end is one of my stenciled books and the last photo is not a book...just a manipulated photo of me.

Time to run, I have to go see a patient. That sweet bird has been at "the end" and I've been called to the house so many times to say good-bye but she just keeps hanging on....sad really, she seems to be in quite a bit of pain, not very sure what she's holding on for. I love her dearly but it just breaks my heart to see her suffer.
Some Van Morrison just because I love him :o)
Get me on your wavelength....................at the Shores

Happy New Year

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Feliz Ano Novo !!!Happy New Year !!! Bonne Année !!! Feliz Año Nuevo !!! Šťastný Nový Rok !!! سنة جديدة سعيدة !!! С Новым годом !!! Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku !!! 새해 복 많이 받으세요 !!! Buon anno !!! 明けましておめでとうございます!!! Šťastný Nový Rok !!! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar !!! Onnellista uutta vuotta !!! Glückliches neues Jahr !!! Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος !!! नया साल मुबारक हो !!! 新年快乐 !!! Godt Nytår !!! Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun !!! Gott Nytt År !!

Wishing all my friends and family the very best in 2012. I feel big things coming for to new year (hopefully it's not my waistline I'm feeling).......................at the Shores


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