Thursday, February 28


Dear Reader,
Today I write to tell you that I may be participating in my FIRST EVER VINTAGE SWAP! I've never done the swap thing before, but I absolutely DROOL over the treasures sent back and forth. I have several instructions to fulfill, but the first is to answer the following questions about spring. (Does anyone else feel like winter in Illinois has been ETERNAL this year? It keeps spitting snow and raining ice and ... ugh. I am just so utterly READY FOR SPRING...

And so I give you:

Here are the questions...after I answer them, she will match me up with someone FAB in the swap...isn't that WONDERful?

a. What's your favorite part of spring? The blooming of the Dogwood and Redbud trees.
b. What are your favorite flowers? Sunflowers and Daisies
c. What types of hobbies/crafts do you enjoy? Altered Art, Scrapbooking, Vintage Art Quilts
d. What types of vintage do you collect or look for? Vintage fabrics, embroidery, kitcheny-things (tea towels, aprons, etc)

e. Any allergies or things that you absolutely can't stand? I have a very sensitive "smell-er". I do not like florals or fruity smells...I detest cinnamon flavored/smelling ANYTHING. I like earthy, woodsy smells (patchouli is my favorite)

I can't wait to see who she matches me up with! Her blog is just an absolute joy. You MUST run and see it ...GO! NOW! I'll wait. Vintage Indie

Did you go? Isn't the blog a little slice of heaven? Today I was blessed with a bouquet of my favorite flowers..behold:

They were a little wilty from the cold transport from the office to my home, but they are perking up and will soon be a little spot of sunshine in my craft room.

I'll take photos of what I prepare for the swap...and of course, what I receive!

More soon,


Wednesday, February 27


Hear ye! Hear ye! The Town Crier would like an audience with you, the good people in the kingdom of Blogdom: An Announcement!

A few posts ago I promised an example of a "backstory" for the Bloggers Ball...that is, a storyline to go along with the FABulous gowns made for the ball. Here is one such example...written by yours truly:

"The lights dimmed in the great hall...and the faint strains of music began to compete with the sounds of the arriving guests. Was everything zipped, buttoned and in place? Do I have lipstick on my teeth? She took a deep breath as she was escorted into the ballroom.

The Palace was alive with color and lights and music. Bursts of orange and yellow and red and pink seemed to be floating from the ceiling...paper flowers. Enormous paper flowers...tulle netting twisted and wafted through and around the ethereal garden above...twinkling lights dazzled her eyes. "Magical" she whispered to herself as her tuxedoed escort walked her down the great stairway.

"I hate entrances" she said quietly to the "GQ" escort on her arm. He patted her hand and tightened his grip on her if he were worried she would run away...overtaken in a momentary attack of anxiety.

The dancing couples on the floor, smiling and talking and laughing, occasionally looked toward the staircase to see who was joining the party...when they saw her, they slowed and then finally stopped. The music quieted as the Announcement of her arrival was made,

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the Winged Duchess of the Enchanted Garden."

I curtsied, certain I would fall off my heels, smiled, and nodded. The dancers acknowledged me with smiles, a polite spattering of applause, and then commenced their dancing. My escort patted my hand once more and said,

"See there, that wasn't so tough, was it?" And then, in great Billy Crystal fashion added, "You look maaaaaaaahvelous."

I glared at him and feigned a smile as he laughed and then walked back to the top of the staircase to greet and escort the next guest. I handed my glittering wrap to the valet and then walked (consciously trying to "float" more than walk) to the refreshment buffet.

My dress was sparkling in the light, a blush of pink tulle wrapped around the creamy butter colored taffeta like ribbons of watercolor...the wings, attached to the back of the dress and glittered and caught the light, shimmering with the magical effect I had hoped for. "A garden above, " I thought, "and a garden all around me" as I watched the women dancing and twirling in the fabulous gowns created for this enchanted evening. One wore a dress the color of a California poppy...another a blue-violet like a bouquet of wisteria bursting into bloom."

See? Get the idea? In addition to our gowns we will create a story to go along with the dress, the character and/or the evening. Imagine the fun we'll have!?! I can hardly stand the wait!

Off to gather materials for my gown! More soon!
The Duchess :-)


Dear Readers,

I have recently been plagued with "the guilts" in regard to my blogging frequency. During November of last year (if you look at the archives in the sidebar you'll see evidence that attests to this fact) I took the Blog Everyday for a Month challenge. Well, other than being incredibly difficult to be sure I am online AND posting every single day, I reviewed the reasons why one might decide to agree to such a thing. For ME it was nothing more than the fabulous prizes. I confess. My love language is gifts and I LOVES ME SOME FABULOUS PRIZES! Other than that, all that was accomplished was an incredible feeling of guilt and/or shame if/when I posted something less than spectacular. ERGO, (inhaling deeply)

I have determined to make my blog a GUILT FREE ZONE. I hereby forbid ANYONE to feel guilty for coming by or not coming by, commenting or not commenting, posting or not posting, etc. etc. etc. The whole point of a blog is (at least for ME) is that it provides a creative outlet for writing, sharing, connecting and becoming part of a larger community. THEREFORE, let us strike forever the words: "I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile."

Lest you, dear and loyal reader PANIC and believe that I will reduce my posts to an annual Christmas letter, NEVER FEAR! I believe that grace in THIS place (as grace in any other) will allow me the FREEDOM to post even MORE. It's one of those unexplainable phenomena that occurs when I am not OBLIGATED to do something, I want to do it all the more. Perhaps it's the rebel in me. Perhaps it's the misplaced hippie (she said twirling in her 'tent dress' and tossing daisies to every one)

I decided it is time to rethink what makes a good blog and the expectations that have come to be part of it. And with that thought I give you Blogging Without Obligation. (Note the little logo in the sidebar...steal if you wish)
  • Because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.
  • Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.
  • Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.
  • Because sometimes less is more.
  • Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.
  • Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.
  • Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".
  • Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .

More soon....or maybe NOT! (Just Kidding)



Greetings dear ones!

This will be my last announcement regarding the Scrapbooking & AltAred Art retreat scheduled for March 14 & 15 at Lake Salateeska, Pickneyville. Behold your last and final invitation to join us. Note you may register and pay online via paypal!:

Sign up soon! Spaces are filling up fast! Hope to see you there!

More soon!


Tuesday, February 26


Greetings, dear readers!

I came home from a VERY difficult day to find on my doorstep a box filled with lovelies from Wilna Furstenburg! Remember I told you a few posts ago that I had won the Valentine Goody box? Just look at the amazing things included:

Such gorgeous eye candy! I can't wait to dive in and see what I can do with it! Let me encourage those of you who never enter contests or take part in online challenges to try it! You may find a FABulous treasure awaiting YOU one day!

More soon!


Friday, February 22


Greetings, dear readers! I am writing to invite you to my first ever VIRTUAL GALA!

I am hosting a "Bloggers Ball" which is a virtual "soiree" for EVERYONE in Blogdom! There will be decorations, refreshments, photos, a virtual "wild n crazy" crowd, and (REAL not virtual) FABulous prizes!

DING! DING! DING! THIS JUST ADDED: THE BLOGGERS BALL WILL HAVE A "PARLOR" (CHAT ROOM) SO THAT YOU MAY HAVE AN AUDIENCE WITH THE QUEEN! All you need to do is log on to my blog, and voila! The chat room will be right here! ALSO, WE WILL BE "WAXING ELOQUENT" AS WE WRITE "BACK STORIES" FOR OUR BEAUTIFUL BALLROOM BELLES! (I'll post an example of a back story in my next post or two)

The admission fee is one scrapalicious frock that you assemble out of paper, fabric, and/or other found objects. Here are a few examples to give you some ideas:

There are a few loose "Rules of Engagement" for those of you who have never attended a Bloggers Virtual Event:
  • Photos of said Scraplicious Frocks must be submitted during the Scrappers Ball...between 6 pm and midnight Central Standard Time in order to be eligible for the Grand Prize Drawing
  • Said Frock must be no larger than 5 inches wide and 7 inches tall. (Even plus size gowns should fit within these parameters!)
  • Ballgowns should include at least SOME paper elements.
  • It would be cool if your gown reflects your personal taste and style.
  • You can display your ballgown on a model, hanger, mannequin or frame.
  • Gowns will be on display at "The Palace" and will become part of the Palace's "permanent collection."
Please comment and let me know what "party music" you'd like to hear that evening as well as any refreshments you would like to see on the Refreshment Buffet! (Amazing Ice Sculpture already taken care of!)

I am so excited about hosting this event...the Palace is an absolute shambles...I must call in my team of Merry Maids to make the Palace spic and span and party worthy! By the way, I have hired a wonderful court jester for the'll love her. She's kept the folks here at Paula's Palace of AltAred Art in stitches (nyuk nyuk) for YEARS!

That's all for now...stay tuned for exciting details about color schemes and romantic themes, Grand Prize and Door Prize fodder, as well as refreshment recipes!

More soon!


Monday, February 18


Hello, dear readers! I must make a shameless plug about our Scrapbook and AltAred Art Retreat...for those of you "holding back" for whatever reason, please GO AHEAD AND REGISTER!

To encourage you to make a committment, allow me to give you a sneak peek of some of the scheduled make and takes:

More soon!


Sunday, February 17


Hello dear ones... I make it a rule to be as transparent as possible while writing on my blog...however, there are a few things about me I'm not sure you realize...for example, the other day I confessed to being a monk. An interesting little tidbit that I'm sure you were unaware of. Here's yet another...while I hope you have some inkling that I LOVE photography and taking pictures (the digital camera is only THE greatest invention of all time...and all the camera buffs said a hearty "HOOAH!!!") I LOVE art, and I LOVE color, and I LOVE glass...ergo, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Dale Chihuly!

My hubby and I attended an art show at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens that featured Chihuly's work (the cafe in the St. Louis Art Museum has a Chihuly chandelier hanging above the stairway all year round...GORGEOUS in pink!)

It was SO amazing. I am just agog every time I see his work. The man is truly a genius.

Anyway, thought I'd share a few of those bring some color into what is otherwise a rather drab, dull, boring winter in the midwest. Enjoy!

This is the first thing you see as you walk into the gardens

And then these fabulous "floating onions." These have been added to the Botanical Gardens permanent collection. Aren't they FUN?!?!

And then this boat full of "blue" that looks to be organically growing beside the pond...

And then this in the Climatron...

As you exit the Climatron, these beautiful glass "organisms" are looming above your head giving you the feeling of being under the sea. Truly amazing...

This Sunburst at the entrance to the rose garden...

More soon!



Greetings, sweeties!

My last few days have been utter madness, but I believe I now have a few minutes to post and catch my breath! I trust Valentines Day was a wonderful day for each of you? My "valentine" is purchasing for me some original art...I am SO excited! I cannot wait to get it! I'll (of course) post photos when the piece is hanging safely on my scrapbook room wall!

Today was a rather rainy, gloomy day...and this song was stuck in my head. My hope is that watching the video a few times will erase it...(at least temporarily)

More soon!


Thursday, February 14


Valentine greetings dear ones!

Just a quick note to say I'll be emailing the Valentine sheet images later this evening...I have gotten INSANELY busy preparing for a workshop at a local college (tomorrow...YIKES!) Anyhoo, sorry if you had plans to use the vintage images for your betrothed and/or family members...if you can give them a raincheck for a day or two, it should still work out!

I am going to spend 2 hours (probably that's ALL I'll get to spend) with my sweetie tonight watching my pick for "V-Day Movie of the Year," Moulin Rouge. The song playing is from that movie...and is one of my all time faves. I think it's one of Nicole Kidman's better roles...

Anyway, check it out if you can! And stay tuned for Valentine goodness this p.m....

More soon!

Wednesday, February 13


Hello gentle readers, bloggers, artists, and other GROOVY type people! Two big announcements today:
ANNOUNCEMENT ONE: My blog has officially reached 100 posts! WOOHOO! Whoddathunkit? (and they said I wouldn't last...ha! Double ha! Ha ha!)

ANNOUNCEMENT TWO: Today is the day for the announcement of the FREE sheet of Vintage Valentines! AND, since we have something more than Valentines day to celebrate, i.e. the auspicious occasion of my 100th post, and since the response to my Vintage Valentine Collection has been overwhelming, I am giving a FREE sheet of Vintage Valentines to EVERYONE who has left a comment on my blog from Feb. 1 to Feb. 13th!

Just a little RAK (Random Act of Kindness) for YOU, my FABulous source(s) of inspiration!
Remember, tonight at midnight (12:00 CST) is the if you want to be included, comment now! Chop! Chop!

And now, for some random cuteness:

That's it for now...More soon!


Tuesday, February 12


Greetings, dear readers!
Just out of curiosity, how many of you are reading this from someplace WARM?!?!? Allow me to SCREAM for a moment, won't you? AAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK! Okay, all better. It is snowing and sleeting and doing all manner of nasty winterisms outside, and I am SO OVER WINTER!!! BUT, such is life in the must roll with the snowballs, mustn't one? (BOO) Anyhoo, I was up til the wee hours crafting and waxing creative...on WHAT? you might ask? WELL, 2 days from Valentines day I would think it'd be a "no brainer"...VALENTINES you silly goose! SO, what KIND of Valentines??? WELL...have a little looksee:

And so the Valentine Class comes to an end with this, the final project. But do the Valentines stop here? OH NOOOOOOOOO! Of course not! I have another 2 or 3 to make this evening...or tomorrow morning in the early a.m....whichever best fans the flames of my creativity!

The online class was my first...and was SO MUCH FUN...I highly recommend you all enroll next year. You'll be glad you did.

Meanwhile, the amazing Ngaire Bartlam, artist, writer and cohort in scrap, has dedicated a post to yours truly on her blog...check out her "Blog Me Baby" scrapblog. Here's a little example of her work (it's one of my (many) faves):

(For anyone thinking I'm a horrible person for stealing her image, I have linked to her post which includes said image...I would NEVER infringe upon the copyright of a sistuh!) She is truly an amazing (and completely "out there") kind of gal. You'll love her! Don't be surprised if you find her one day in the pages of Artful Blogging Magazine. She's a true WONDER from DOWN UNDER! lol

More soon!