Presents for my creative self: new magazines, flowers from the grocery store, ribbon and vintage oilcloth for future projects. I also signed up for Pam Garrison's Painting Petals online class that starts on January 30th.
I recently bought the magazine "Flow", issue 11. Do you read it? Its a lovely compilation of articles on creativity and mindfulness, celebrating artists and doers of all stripes (in this issue: an interview with Ariana Huffington of the Huffington Post). On the editorial page the editors were talking about how sometimes we reach a milestone and forget to acknowledge it because we're so busy with the next deadline or project. Their point was that life is richer when we occasionally step away from our work to celebrate how far we've come.
This sentiment resonated with me because I have been sewing continuously since I opened my Etsy shop, PinkGingerKitty, last September. I enjoy making dolls and their accessories so much that I sometimes forget to stop and just breathe in inspiration from the world around me. This past Saturday was wonderfully springlike here so I treated myself to a morning of moseying around town in the sunshine. Here's what I noticed:
I stopped in at this beautiful hat shop which always inspires me. Goorin Brothers has outlets in Denver and Boulder. The felt and straw hats available here are top quality in a beautiful array of colors. I love that there are both contemporary and vintage looking hats to try on and see. Its research and pleasure rolled into one for me!
After trying on several hats just for fun I moved on to Two Hands Paperie for gingham ribbon and to look at their wonderful stationery and art books. This store has a wealth of handmade papers, charming journals, pens, cards and fun finds for artists. I buy Uppercase magazine and quirky art technique books here. Their window displays are always a treat to see - this month's windows feature a paper castle and 3 mast schooner (see photo below).
Then it was on to Spruce Confections for lunch. I enjoyed a veggie sandwich and bottled water outside on their patio (in January!). I was joined at my table by an adorable ginger cat (above). He was content to lay under my chair while I ate lunch and read my book. He got a lot of happy smiles from people at nearby tables. You can see in my photos he's sending us a kitty kiss via a slow blink.
My friend Vickie at 8th and Pearl Antiques store across the street said the cat lives in the house behind Two Hands Paperie. He is a shameless flirt. I bet he gets loads of snacks from people eating at the bakery.
At the antique store I found a sweet vintage doll's tea set for just $13. It is from Japan and features children in hats playing ping pong. The teapot and sugar bowl still have their lids which is unusual for these older sets. I bought it for a photo prop because it is the perfect size for my Garden Party Girls.
I also had fun sewing doll hat and stole sets from this fabulous ruby red faux fur I found at Art Parts Creative Reuse Center. It had just been put out on the sales floor and I was lucky to nab it before anyone else spotted it. There is enough fabric to try my hand a making a doll coat or cape. It will take some thinking to figure out how to make one luxe enough for the Garden Party Girls. Its the perfect color for Valentine's day and beyond. Here's a photo of my dolls enjoying tea with their new tea set while wearing ruby red furs:
Don't they look like they're having fun? Hillary and Myrtle are wearing awards given to them by their WI friends for culinary excellence. The "medals" are actually vintage jewelry pins found at Art Parts that I embellished with ribbons. So regal for tea. These ladies are the talk of the neighborhood :)
If you have been working hard lately do think about taking a little break to enjoy something uplifting. A movie perhaps, a bouquet of flowers, a phone chat with a friend? For me, there's nothing quite like lunch with a kitty purring under my chair to put things right with the world.
To those of you digging out from the weekend's snowstorm, may sunshine find you this week. Ruby faux fur doll accessories available now in my shop. New dolls and accessories will be arriving this week.
For those of us who love kittens we know the baby stage is all too short. Since kittens have a high cute factor I'm sharing a few photos today of our kitties, Max and Ellie to start your weekend off with a smile. If you're not into cats you may want to look away ;)
You may remember from my post of their adoption that Max is our black and white boy kitty and Ellie is our all black girl kitty. They are now four months and two weeks old. They already look more like little cats than kittens although they are still as adorably playful as when they first arrived. Max weighs 5 lbs 2 oz, and Ellie weighs 4 lbs 14 oz. Kittens gain about a pound a month so they are on target.
These guys are big on diving under pillows for balls and toys. Yarn hung from a stick or feathers will drive them bananas with joy. My husband made wood wands from thin dowels with holes drilled in their ends so we can tie on toys and feathers. They chase after them until they manage to chew the toy off the pole. They carry their trophy to their lair under the couch and rest until someone waves a new toy at them.
Summer is ending with lots of good cheer for us: we adopted two kittens this weekend! Siblings Max (boy, black and white) and Ellie (girl, all black) are 3-month-old bundles of cuteness. Max is an explorer, always ready to play and interact with whoever is close at hand. Ellie is a love bug, playful like her brother but happiest in our laps purring at top volume. We adopted them through a local rescue organization. They are so tiny yet they fill our hearts with joy.
Before we adopted the kittens we took a week's vacation on the east coast, visiting Boston and New Jersey for vacation and to see family. I have not been to Boston since I was a kid but my husband did post-doctorate work at Harvard. John had a conference to attend so I spent my time exploring the museums and neighborhoods. We would meet up for lobster rolls and sightseeing after lectures. Except for the humidity, we loved Boston and hope to visit again next fall. Below are a few highlights from our trip.
My favorite museum was the Institute of Contemporary Art with its gorgeous architecture and thought provoking yet humorous artworks. Ceramic artist Arlene Shechet pushes the boundaries of ceramics with her shapes and materials, provoking the viewer to look closer to really see what she's produced. The blue and white vases and urns pictured above look like Chinese porcelains but are actually paper clay overlaid with blueprints of Buddhist shrines. Her work with the Meissen factory in Germany was a gorgeous example of uniting two very different artistic points of view. The "Clothesline" piece by Charles LeDray is a humorous line of doll clothing tied together that goes from floor to ceiling, provoking the question "what were the dolls doing that day?". The ICA also has a wonderful gift shop full of great books, toys, magazines, jewelry, and small art objects.
The North End of Boston is an Italian neighborhood full of restaurants, shops and history. You will hear Italian spoken here at every turn, especially at Modern Pastry, a wonderful bakery full of tasty delights. Try their raspberry coronets and "lobster tail" pastries filled with cream, they're wonderful! Paul Revere's midnight ride is honored here with his statue. The Old North Church is a beautiful bit of history to see, with private pews for the famous families that helped start the American Revolution. Going in the other direction on Hanover Street you'll come to the city's oldest bar and restaurant on a quaint side street.
The Museum of Fine Arts was another highlight of Boston, with beautiful artworks by master artists from all eras. You could spend days here but I chose to spend my morning seeing Impressionist and Egyptian art, Nubian jewelry (from 1250 BC, amazing!), Meissen and English porcelains, and contemporary art. Do have lunch at the museum if you go, they have several tasty cafes and two gift/book shops.
Beyond Boston's fabulous architecture, history and art, it was wonderful to be in a coastal town with plenty of fresh seafood!
A big thank you to Abby Glassenberg for the great sightseeing tips! Maybe next time we can meet IRL if you are in town :)
We have started looking for a new rescue kitten to love after losing our cat Tigger to cancer. Until we find the right one (or two!) I've been looking around on Etsy.com at all the wonderful and weird cat art that's available. Here are a few of my favorites.
If that's not enough kitty joy for you, have a look at these YouTube videos. So cute!
Summertime means long, hot days with lots of activities scheduled. Outdoor exercise, children's playtime and gardening often take center stage on weekends.
Don't let the summer heat stop you. Keep a few beverages on hand for cooling down after a long day at work or play. Here are six classic chillers from the Teacup Incident archives with links to the recipes.
Your needs determine which drink will chill you down the best. Do you need refreshment or a snack? For refreshment, go with spa waters or lemonade. For a more substantial pick-me-up, choose a smoothie.
Sip a chiller and enjoy your summer no matter how hot it gets!
I loved this biscuit tin on sight - the vibrant colors, retro shape and floral pattern made it the perfect addition to my collection. Vintage tea and biscuit tins are pretty, inexpensive (from $8 - $12, usually) and handy for small item storage. They can also be used as a vase - just insert a glass or jar for water. Search Etsy for "vintage tea tins" if you want to start a collection of your own.
Although our weather is still unpredictable, a little change in my home decor seemed in order. After a decked out Christmas I purposely reset my living room to cozy basics but it was looking a little drab for spring. A trip to Home Goods resulted in a pair of turquoise textured pillows, perfect for a small transformation. Don't you love how pillows enliven a room? These pillows became the spark for additional changes.
Once the couch was refreshed, the bookshelves needed more color to tie the room together. I shopped my house for blue and green collectibles to group on the shelves to spread turquoise shades around the room. Touches of white and rose pink keep the look from getting too somber.
Every room looks fresher with flowers. My rainbow of roses are from the supermarket. Pillows and flowers are easy fixes for the winter doldrums and they can be changed on a whim. Now the room has a brighter tone, one that hints of blue skies to come.
A simple change of pillows can have a big impact on your decor; even switching pillows from one room to another is enough to get the energy flowing. A single "statement" pillow with a bold pattern can tie the whole room together. Here's a sampling of ones I'd consider for my couch:
If you are considering new pillows, the April issue of HGTV magazine shows 50 pillows for under $50. Your local Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx and others are stocking their spring collections as well. There's a world of inspiring patterns out there - go find yours!
Speaking of the power of pattern: are you taking Creativebug's Fabric Design series? This 5-week course is a blast of inspiring lectures on how to create surface design. From inspiration and conceptualization to drawing and computer rendering is covered in depth by artists Denyse Schmidt, Lizzy House, and Heather Ross, with cameos by Amy Butler. Although the series has already started you can join anytime and watch the videos at your own pace for the length of your subscription. Click through to find out more on Creativebug.com.
The series is sponsored by Spoonflower, so we get a virtual visit to their factory and see how the fabric is made. Spoonflower is also running a fabric design challenge in conjunction with Creativebug with the opportunity to win some fabulous prizes. These include consultations with the Denyse, Lizzy and Heather, Wacom tablets and software, and Spoonflower gift certificates, among other prizes. Click here to get the contest details. Hurry, the design challenge ends April 14th, 2015.
Some people fantasize about trading houses with someone else or imagining the changes they'd make to their own home given a suitable budget. If that's you, see this funny website for for answers to your burning questions about HGTV sets and houses in the movies.
I'm more interested in tiny house-shaped items such as folding paper houses, house pillows, terrarium villages, and lanterns shaped like houses. My obsession pops up most often in winter and probably stems from the desire to feel cozy. The weather may be gloomy and grey outside but we are free to imagine ourselves in an adorable little nest somewhere else, given the right inspiration.
If you long for a tiny house of your own, gather round. There are lots of ways to satisfy your craving. Here's just a sample of the offerings I found on Pinterest and Etsy:
If you have children around you can immerse yourself in the charm of dollhouses, tents, and teepees. But don't let adulthood curb the magic. As you can see from my Etsy picks, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a little house obsession at any age.