Monday, May 25, 2009

Get Ready for a New Look

My desk area. As it was. Get ready to see it as it is now. You'll have to wait to see it, but I hope it is worth the wait. It is so much more united on one theme now. And decidedly more feminine.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Well Versed In 1 John

You know what? I'm still in Europe (just like I was the last time a post was published) but I've written this in advance so you can get your Hilary fix even when I'm far away.

And it's another one of my church/calligraphy projects! Yay! About a month ago I had the privilege of doing three repetitive calligraphy projects in a row. It's fine. There's nothing like having a Red Sox game to keep me and my nibs company (especially when their offense is so impressive and deep). Lest I digress into my favorite topic of all, I'll get back to the point. One project was for money (no pictures taken because I forgot), one was because church ladies asked and the final was a gift. I already showed you the project that I was asked to do (the rose tags) and this is the project I did as a gift.

I loved the way it turned out. And so did the 30 women for whom the verse cards were made. A few Christmases ago, I sent out cards with glittered Holy Cards of St. Nicholas on the front. Perhaps you recall. Well, the company that I bought that cardstock from was having a buy one get one free sale so in addition to the red paper that I bought for those Christmas cards, I got a stack of pale green paper that had a shimmery look to it. It's nice and thick, too. I always figured I'd think of a purpose for it, but two years of looking at it and I'm no closer to having a use for it than I was when I got it for free. I thought it would be the perfect cardstock to use for these Bible verse cards. So I cut the folding cards into two flat cards each (which, by the way, means I only made a dent into the huge stack of green cardstock I've still got) so that I had 30 flat cards. Then I took some thick vellum paper and cut it to fit using my mini paper cutter. I cut 30 little snippets of ribbon, each sized to hang off the edges a bit of the cardstock. Next, because I like to make things difficult, I jumped into my mom's hand-me-down button collection and found 30 buttons that I thought would match the ribbon and paper colors (trying to keep a Spring pallet in mind). And then, I used my favorite craft tool ever, my drimmel with its diamond-edge drill bit, to cut the "button" part off of these buttons so they'd glue on flat.

And to the sounds (and sights thanks to MLB online) of Red Sox baseball -- an afternoon game I believe -- I wrote the same verse 30 times in a row. Without stopping. As the scripting went along (and the innings breezed past), I noticed that a few styles of scripting seemed to emerge. I tried to capture some of them here. The top picture features a script that is airy than the next picture, which seems dense. And some versions were more cursive than others. As a note, the first "r" of this verse comes in the 20th word, which is odd. I thought I'd throw that out there because I always antagonize over the letter "r" and I was pleasantly surprised to get so many words without having to write that one.

Of course, I can't mention the letter "r" without thinking of my mom's favorite riddle: Railroad crossing, watch out for cars, can you spell that without any r's?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wallpaper, Drawer Liner, Greeting Card

Howdy folks.
When you are reading this, I'm somewhere in Continental Europe, living it up, seeing the great sites, buying the good stuff, eating the delicacies. Yep, all in all, you should be very jealous of me. Or so I say now as I type this. I think most of you can remember the last time I said something about "you should be jealous because I'm going to Italy." Hint, few people are jealous of that life experience. Knock on wood, that won't happen again. Anyhoo, while I'm out of town, I didn't want to leave you without some crafts so I'm showing you crazy kiddos three things I've been up to of late.
I made a greeting card, as shown above, to accompany a wedding present, also shown above. I bought a stack of blue, turquoise, cerulean, and seafoam cardstock and I have found that it comes in handy all the time. How did I live without a standing stack of cardstock to dip into? I don't know. Also, I think I've blogged about this before -- I bought myself a miniature paper cutter, like the kind that teachers used to have in the teacher's workroom, with a big old blade, capable of cutting off a finger or worse. Mine is a mini version but it is great for cutting straight edges on things. This way I can size the cardstock exactly as needed.
What's special about this project is neither the cardstock nor the paper cutting techniques. No, my friends... What is special about this card is that vintage floral paper. I'm really proud of that. I love that paper. It is actually a little hard for me to part with even a few scraps. It is vintage wallpaper from the 1960s. And its been in the family since it was brand new. After a career as wallpaper, it was reused as drawer liner. And during its career as drawer liner, it was snuck out of its drawer and came home with me to be used for crafting purposes. It was smuggled out of the family farmhouse, up in Collin County. I only have a few scraps of this wallpaper and I generally don't pillage the family's property. After all, the family farmhouse is shared by a lot of people; I wouldn't want to be accused of overstepping the boundaries and taking advantage of communal property, now would I? That's so inconsiderate. All the same though, when I spotted this retro paper (so en vogue right now!), I figured it would be ok to take home one or two drawer's worth of paper squares.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Marmadoo*, the Award Winning Crafter

Strictly speaking, this is not my craft. Strictly speaking, it's also not really a craft at all. This is my mother's entry in the Bluffview Garden Club Flower Show. I wanted to share it with everyone out there because I think she did a great job -- the judges did too, she got second place in her division. My Aunt Jan won first place in their division.
I felt compelled to share this with you for a few reasons. First of all, I have a very soft spot in my heart for all things Bluffview Garden Club. It's the Dallas neighborhood where I grew up and I had plenty of fun as a child participating in the assorted Bluffview activities -- the Fourth of July parade (where we got to decorate our bikes with red, white and blue streamers and balloons) and the kid's contest portion of the Flower Show. As a note, at the patriotic parade, most people brought their dogs on leashes with red, white and blue. We had a pet parrot and I insisted that we decorate his cage, put him in the old Radio Flyer and drag him through the parade route. One of the many reasons why Ricky, the Amazon parrot, hated me. And the flower show kid's contest... how I loved to do my flower show entries. I always won first place. When I was about 12 years old, I realized that all the kids won first place. Then all my ribbons didn't seem to mean so much anymore.

My mother, however, doesn't always fare as well since the ladies aren't handed blue ribbons quite so easily. For her, taking home the red ribbon is a big accomplishment. And I helped... I didn't have anything to do with the floral arranging, but I did help her with the mandatory (and absolutely ridiculous) artist statement and arrangement title. The theme of the show was "In an English Country Garden" and my mom thought that her location (on an end table) had some subtle colonial/oriental themes to it. She wanted to run with the idea of the British Empire and India as a territory of Britain. The judges insisted that each arrangement come with a 20-word description of the motivations and emotions behind the the arrangement. My mom turned to her copy editor daughter (me) and I drafted a little something, something for her to use. The judges liked it! Yay.

Here's what it said (the more than 20 word version):

In the shades of Rudyard Kipling…Imagine the juxtaposition – on one hand is the orderly English garden, the temperate green hills of Britain’s countryside. Lowly cows, ivy crawling over ancient brick and thatched cottages. And the Empire that expanded to the Far East and India, with the rich fragrances of exotic spices. The ornate and mesmerizing patterns of Indian art and architecture. This flower arrangement, with its delicate small flowers, seeks to marry the two cultures – casual, easy living in the English countryside with not-so-distant memories of a lifestyle gone by, time spent in exotic, hot India, where tigers and adventure dwell in a lush, crowded tropical landscape.

In spouting off such total drivel, I am reminded that I did minor in art history. And that's what it's all about.

* We're a family of robust nick-name givers. All those that are near and dear to Henrys have many a nickname. This is a new concoction for "mom" that is derived from the title that Louisa May Alcott's Little Women use for their mother "Marmie" and me being silly. I thought it fit the fact that the arrangement is from India, as one of my favorite Indian restaurant dishes is chicken vindaloo.