Friday, November 30

IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!




I DO love that song...annnnnnnnnnyhoo...

It is the time of year when several things happen around the AltAred Art Palace...such as:

  • Snowmen overtake the house
  • Yankee Candles (Christmas Eve & Christmas Wreath) are burned from Dec. 1-Jan 1.
  • The outside of the house is "decked"
  • The inside "halls" are decked...accordingly
  • I BAKE!!!! (It's true...it is a cosmic event...the sun, moon and stars all align and you can hear angel choirs singing in the background...)
  • Christmas movies run constantly from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day
It's a Wonderful Life - Jimmy Stewart
A Christmas Carol - Alistair Simms
A Muppet Christmas Carol - Michael Kane
Miracle on 34th St - Natalie Wood
White Christmas - Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye
A Christmas Story - Darren McGavin...HILARIOUS!

A Christmas Vacation - Chevy Chase
The Nativity - Beautiful!
Jingle All The Way - Arnold Schwarzenneger, Sinbad

ELF - Will Ferrell
Charlie Brown's Christmas
The Grinch - Cartoon Version

  • Cookie Dough is eaten in mass quantities
  • Festive vintage Christmas music is played for background music...some of my faves are:
Bing Crosby's White Christmas
Trans Siberian Orchestra's The Christmas Attic
Gene Autry's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Andy William's It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Manheim Steamroller's Carol of the Bells
Mormon Tabernacle Choir's O Come All Ye Faithful
Celine Dion's Ave Maria

And now off to buy the ingredients for Hot Wassail!



Thursday, November 29

Christmas Ornament Swap Reminder

Greetings Intrepid Crafters!

Just a quick reminder to all who entered the Ornament Swap...please try to have your ornaments in the mail by this weekend...no later than Monday if possible! We want everyone to receive them in time for "decking the halls!"

More on this and other riveting topics later...right now I must get back to work!


Wednesday, November 28

The Hunt for AltAred Art Goodies

The mad hunt for AltAred Art goodies continues...today a friend and I discovered two scrapbook stores we did not know existed...one of them, Sunkiss Scrapbooks is located in a coffee shoppe (Java Joes!) How completely perfect is that???? Putting the "obsession" in the same building as the FUEL for said obsession...well. That is just a stroke of genius in my estimation!

The second store, Treasured Memories, (which we discovered (ashamedly) has been in town for over 5 years) is right next door to a new and used bookstore! Can you fathom it?!?! AltAred Art WAITING to happen...AND THIS place has a HUGE area for cropping, creating and general mess making every Friday evening!

SO MUCH fabulous stuff, so little time (and money) but alas, here are the treasures I came away with:


Groovy stuff from Heidi Swapp, 7 Gypsies, We R Memory Keepers, Daisy Ds and Elsie.






I got these dandy little hinges from Daisy Ds for altAred art HALF PRICE!



More tomorrow...and photos to come when creations are completed!

Tuesday, November 27

AltAred Art Ornaments

Greetings Fellow Merry Makers! As I am being slowly sucked into the holiday hooplah, I am finding some of the most WONDERFUL inspiration on Etsy, the web and Flickr...Behold:

Made from vintage postcards and old children's books

And these from bits of left over ribbon!


And these FABulous Good Luck "hens" from left over quilting fabric!

And Look at these yummy handmade goodies from the amazing artists at Etsy! (I pledged to give only handmade this Christmas!)



And these adorable Christmas owls...




And these wonderful little treasures...one made from license plates and the other from gum wrappers...which are not as much Altered as Recycled...Aren't they WONderful?


More to share tomorrow!

Monday, November 26

Black Friday Video

This is a VERY ROUGH (and dark) version of our Black Friday 5 a.m. shopping spree...don't look for it at the Sundance Film Festival!


video

We had a great time...and as Leah's maiden voyage into the sea of early morning crazed shoppers, I think it was a banner day...

FYI: As we were enroute to our assorted destinations, we saw 2 police cars with officers dispatched into crowds at Best Buy and Circuit City. Apparently fights broke out in both places, and Target had countless altercations prior to their 6 a.m. opening. Fortunately, our shopping plans did NOT include ANY of the aforementioned stores!

Our FABulous prizes are mentioned in the video...WHY get up at 4 a.m. for said purchases? In the words of Tevye of Fiddler on the Roof: TRADITION!!!

Sunday, November 25

Santa's Workshop Now Open

Today I began creating ornaments for the Ornament Swap...here are my first 3:









More ornaments as they progress!


Saturday, November 24

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

After spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my sister and her family...and my grandson and HIS family, we are now back in "the Vern" for another stint of regular life...until Christmas time when we will be heading to Tennessee to see my son and daughter in law for the Christmas holiday.

Meanwhile, we are already missing being with our family...and this is only the beginning. You'll remember a few posts ago I mentioned my sister and her fam going to the mission field...here is their website http://www.4mortons.com/Home.html

Feel free to check it out and see for yourself what extraordinary people they are...even if they WEREN'T my family I would love them! And OF COURSE I'll be posting pictures of my grandbaby...right now, though, I am going to attempt to get some much needed sleep...I usually become quite nocturnal while visiting and away from home. I used to be able to handle a 24/48 hour vigil, but no longer. I fear I have become far too antiquated for such stunts...

Anyhoo, I'll write more and will (hopefully) sound a bit more like myself tomorrow. Meanwhile, DO say a prayer for my sister and the fam...I appreciate it.

Huggles to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, November 23

Black Friday Madness

So, my daughter in law and I went out for an early 4 a.m. shopping spree...it was the first time she ever did the black friday thing. I made a video that I'll try to get posted tomorrow...meanwhile, just know that as far as she and I were concerned, there was no significant bloodshed, nor were there any incarcerations. That's all I can brag about right now...

More on the morrow...promise!

Blessings to All!

Wednesday, November 21

T-H-A-N-K-S...Truly Grateful

Dear Friends, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy when I consider how very good God has been to me this year... True, this year has been one of unbelievable heartache and sorrow, but also an unprecedented year in the number of opportunities made available by God's opening doors for me to minister as both a counselor and a friend. It hasn't always been this way...I've dislocated my shoulder (metaphorically speaking) trying to push open doors God never intended for me to open. I have learned (in my tender years) it's MUCH better to wait for Him to open them, then step through, fearless and strong, knowing that His will and His purposes are being served. Timing...wow...it really DOES make a HUGE difference!

I do not want this time of thanks giving to pass without my saying "Thank You" to those of you who intentionally visit this blog for inspiration, ideas and mild entertainment. I have received many compliments and kind feedback from you, my readers, encouraging me to keep up with the bloggy goodness. And so I shall...Look for a different look in the new year...same "bat channel" same "bat time" (sorry, TV flashback)

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all words, and in all knowledge;”
(
1 Corinthians 1:4-5)

Stay tuned...and keep on finding ways to create, design and worship by AltAring Art!

FREE GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCED!

Greetings, my Sweeties! Well, today is the day! The announcement for the FREE Giveaway is at hand...

DRUMROLL PLEASE...And the winner is...

TERESA DAHM!!! Congrats, Teresa!

Be sure to let me know your snail mail address so I can get your FAAAAAAAAAABULOUS journal and compact winging its way to you post haste!



Thanks to all who entered! Stay tuned for another FREE GIVEAWAY around Christmas time!

Tuesday, November 20

GRATEFUL - "K"

Greetings fellow Messmakers!

Today I am taking time to be grateful for "K"...Kindness.

It never ceases to amaze me how one little act of kindness tends to stop people in their tracks. A thank you card sent, an encouraging word given, a token gift for no reason...and people are all "aflutter" with gratitude.

SOooo, where can YOU show an act of kindness today?


Monday, November 19

GRATEFUL - "N"

This thanksgiving season I have determined to set aside time to be thankful...in order to help me stay focused (riiiiiiiiiiiiight) I have rejoiced in things that begin with the letters from the word THANKS.

Today I am on the letter "N" First of all, I am grateful for "NIECES" (See my last post). My sisters seem able to only have girls, and, apparently, *I* am the male supplier in the fam. Ergo, I have many nieces. And I love them all...they are all talented, beautiful, and zany. (Ironically, they refer to me as their "CRAZY Aunt" said with much love and affection of course!)

The preceding two posts were about Christmas Advent Books I have created for 2 of the little darlings (they'd KILL ME if they knew I called them that!)

Anyhoo, I am SO READY for the (as Dr. Seuss would say) "Roast Beast" and Thanksgiving Day parades and cranberry relish and...the-wee-hours-of-the-morning shopping with nieces (and THIS YEAR daughter in law to be) on Black Friday. HA! She will be initiated into our family by this rare yet meaningful tribal ritual. She has NO IDEA the fate that awaits her! The tradition is to do this shopping in "waves"...the sister and two nieces typically join me (after blintzes at IHOP) for the 2nd wave. Bedlam, mayhem and merriment will be had by all (and of course the time honored tradition of humiliating ourselves with self deprecating stories and wild tales of yesteryears shenanigans)!

More as plans (plots and shenanigans) develop!



Sunday, November 18

"A" - Advent AltAred Art Book

So, you remember my post yesterday? I am writing about things for which I'm grateful...and today's letter is "A". (T-H-A-N-K-S) The "A" I'm thankful for today is "AltAred Art!" Surprised?

I am creating an advent AltAred book for each of my two nieces. As you may recall, yesterday, I had the project completed up to and including the coin envelopes. I had them hot glued together (by the way, I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but only put a line of hot glue down the middle of the envelope...do NOT glue the sides
completely together. The "honeycomb" effect will not happen if you do this...trust me.

The next thing I did was to glue little bits of ribbon at the opening of each envelope. This is what makes the sideview so wonderfully colorful! I then glued the 3 stacks of 8 envelopes side by side in the center of the book, gluing the bottom envelope and the top envelope of each stack to the center pages.
Snazzy, huh? Next I began covering each exposed page with papers, embellishments, and tags. Each page is different, and kind of evolved organically. I didn't have a particular theme or title in mind when I began gluing! These are the first two pages...I just LOVE the Candy Cane papers!
Page 1 Detail Page 2 Detail

Page 3 Page 4

After I finished these pages, I took the 24 sticks of gum, and cut 24 strips of paper (each about 3 inches long) and then taped the paper to the end of each foil wrapped stick of gum. I then numbered the paper, 1-24. (Just like the ribbons glued to the envelopes, I staggered the colors of each paper "tab" so the finished product would be more interesting. Below is a detail of the ribbons and paper tabs)





Back Cover



Paper Beads, Buttons, and Ribbon Trim

Voila! The finished Product!

And since I had some left over paper, I decided to make my sister a Christmas Planner out of a regular, school theme book. Here's the cover:



And the inside of the front cover:



To finish the book, I glued a red, polka dot ribbon in the center of the book as a bookmark.

If anyone would like instructions with greater detail, or if you don't understand something, please email and let me know...I'll be glad to walk you through it!


Saturday, November 17

AltAred Art Project: Grateful

I am presently working on an AltAred Art project for my nieces. They are the most AMAZINGLY, FABULOUSLY CREATIVE children! As many of you know, they and their dear mother (my youngest sister) and their daddy will be leaving the U.S. as missionaries. I cannot divulge where they will be ministering, but suffice to say it's enough to make this aunty want to abduct them ALL and squirrel them away in a secret room for safe keeping. I digress...

Remember T-H-A-N-K-S from my last post? Well, I am choosing to represent today's letter "H" with Happy Moments I've spent with the girls. Here are the "raw materials" I am working with:



You'll note the children's board book and the little coin envelopes? I am going to alter the book (7x7) by adding 24 coin envelopes to make an Advent Of Gratitude book for each niece.

Using the groovy colors from my Creative Memories Candy Kane Kit, and my most recent ETSY purchase

I will first cover each page of the board book (there are 4 pages or 8 sides to be covered including the cover) then, because the only coin envelopes I could find are the creepy "office gold", I must make them festive somehow. I initially thought I'd ink them, but each book requires 3 stacks of 8 envelopes each (24 for each day before Christmas) and that would have taken FOR-E-VER. So I decided to take a stab at painting them. It worked out wonderfully...I painted them red and then splattered silver paint to grunge them up a bit. I LOVE how they turned out...here is the book with the cover "covered" and the envelopes after painting:





My next step was to glue the coin envelopes, sides together, in 3 sets of 8. (I used hot glue...impatient, you know) The yellow insides of the envelopes are okay...they'll not be visible after they are all embellished.

Now, I must attach funky, fun ribbons to each envelope (by staple or hot glue).

I will show you my progress as I continue to work on each step of the book...ultimately, the book will hold 24 sticks of gum and 24 little "scrolls" telling each girl about 24 happy memories I have with them or things I love about them, or qualities I see and admire in each of them. I figure it will give them something to remember me by when they are thousands and thousands of miles away and "Aunty" can't get be there to remind them in person, how very much they are loved and appreciated. (I'd better stop while I can...if I start blubbering that's the end of the creativity for the evening).

Anyhoo, more photos, more progress next time! Blessings!

Friday, November 16

THANKFUL

NEWSFLASH: We interrupt your regularly scheduled Christmas hooplah for an important message of gratitude... Lest I become one of the folks who completely ignores Thanksgiving and moves right into Christmas, I feel behooved to make note of the things for which I am grateful. My plan is to use the letters from the word "T-H-A-N-K-S" and countdown til Thanksgiving. Today's letter, then, is the letter "T" (I just had a Sesame Street flashback), so I will list TEN things for which I am grateful (in no particular order)

1. The coos and giggles of a 3 month old grandbaby (he called and left a message on my answering machine...I can't even THINK about erasing it!)


2. A husband who tells me he loves me...EVERY DAY.

3. 2 amazing sons who make me laugh on a daily basis.

4. Online friends...some friendships (that are online only) have lasted over 10 years!

5. Leaves that flutter and fly through the air.

6. A blazing orange/red maple tree against a bright blue autumn sky.

7. Mocha Mint creamer

8. The Artists at ETSY! (and their mind boggling talents! Check out my latest FAB purchases!)


9. Music, books, fabric, colorful beads


10. BLOGS and the writers who create them!

So much to be grateful for...so little time! More soon!

Thursday, November 15

How To Create A Mixed Media Collage...

Check out this video of mixed media artist Claudine Hellmuth (a link to her site is in the sidebar!) I just LOVE her collage style!



DARE to do something different with your photographs!

What would YOU use in YOUR collage?

Wednesday, November 14

Holiday Ornie Swap

Hidy Ho, Dear Readers!

I am EXCITED to announce my first EVER (fanfare please) HANDMADE ORNAMENT SWAP!
You are all invited to join me in putting some home-made love into the holiday season. I will be taking names until Nov. 24th to join. In order to have ornaments in time for December celebrations, I'd like to have all ornaments post marked no later than Dec. 1st.

Here's what I'm thinking:


Each person will make
three handmade ornaments to send out to three different people.
In return, you will receive three different ornaments from three other people.
You will be matched up as entries come in.
Your three handmade ornaments can be the same or different.
Please comment and/or email me if you have any questions.
Ornaments can be made out of almost anything. Paper, Fabric, Cork, Wood, Plastic, Books, recycled materials - WHATEVER! Use your imagination!

Here are the rules:

1. Your three ornaments must be at least 50% handmade. This means new stuff you buy and then ALTER is OKLY DOKLY!
2. Your three ornaments must be sent out by Dec. 1st to your three lucky receivers.
3. Your three ornaments can be exactly the same or all different.

4. If you are unable to send your ornaments once names have been given out, as a courtesy, please contact me as soon as possible so I can get juggle the names again.
5. To enter, I need to receive an e-mail from you with your name, mailing address, e-mail.

Send your name, mailing addy, to me at pclouse07@hotmail.com

Feel free to send me pics of your ornaments via email, or send me a link to pics on your blogs.

I'll be reminding you of deadlines as time passes and sharing with you my own ornaments. Feel free to post this on your blog or link to this post to share the fun with your friends!

Bring on the HAND-MADE LOVE!

Tuesday, November 13

PRACTICALLY PERFECT PEOPLE...

Remember this famous shadow?


Wouldn't it be great to enlist such a helper over the holidays? Even if I ended up with only the carpet bag...remember that FABulous carpet bag? How handy it would be to pull holiday treats, handmade gifts and such out of a bag at just the right time...and that handy trick with the "spoonful of sugar"? Well, I could use a 5 lb bag or so around Christmas time...forget the "spoonful"!




The big thing I try to remember each holiday, is that being together with family and friends is what makes Christmas special. It's not about the stuff, it's about the PEOPLE. So even if my house is a mess and I don't get around to making all the marvelous handmade goodies...the faces and time spent with family and friends is what the real "practically perfect people" make a priority!

Monday, November 12

Digital AltAred Art!

Greetings, Dear Reader! I thought I'd share with you one of my FAVORITE ways to scrapbook and create AltAred Art...DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING. I get most of my stuff from 2 main resources: Designer Digitals and Scrapgirls. There is a scrapbook link for Scrapgirls in the sidebar. There is also an ad for a FABulous FREE e-book: "15 Things You Need To Know To Be A GREAT Digital Scrapbooker." If you're starting the digital process "green", by all means download this book. It is one of the most helpful things I've read AND it gives you step by step directions for Photoshop CS2, Elements and other popular digital software.

Here are some of the Christmas Cards I sent out last year from Scrapgirls digital kits:



Their digital kits are just yummy...I can spend HOURS browsing through their store! Oh, and 1 of the perks of digital is that you can mix and match kit pieces, and use them over and over again. It's truly an EXCELLENT use of your scrapbooking funds and resources! AND (this is a bonus benefit) The Scrapgirl gals (many of them) are all Christians...the daily newsletter, besides having a daily freebie (DAILY, can you believe it?) often has an inspirational writing from the CEO or from one of the designers. It's truly one of the best resources I have run across.

THEN, Designer Digitals, has truly cutting edge, artistic and unique scrapbooking kits. Look at these two for example:



This one is called "Little Robotiks"...isn't it adorable? (That's my month old grandson in the carriage)



This precious little kit is called "Little Birdy". Honestly, when you start out with such adorable papers and embellishments, even a goofy looking "aunt" can't ruin the layout! (This is my great nephew Gavin...what a sweetie!)

Are you SOLD yet? If you want to know more about digital scrapbooking, or if you want to see more examples, just leave a comment...I'll be glad to point you in the right direction!

Blessings! Happy DIGITAL scrapping!

Sunday, November 11

CREATIVITY RUN AMUCK


Well, here we are...a couple of days away from the big announcement, and already I've had folks from all over the place commenting and entering the giveaway...woohoo!

Remember a couple of posts back I was saying that I was going to begin a project with all those yummy papers, ephemera and altered art stuff? Well, I went a little "ape" and bought all kinds of delicious felt and sewing stuff...not that I've EVER been much of a sewer...however, I've seen all the darling stuff at Etsy and many of my "muses" have created FABulous felt creations...so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I'll post a creation or two as they happen...

I've also decided to just begin creating without a theme (other than color) in mind. It's MUCH harder to create this way, but I think it forces me to use my imagination a bit more than I would otherwise.

Anyway, here is a look at what I've been up to: