Thursday, January 31

FAVE Photos of 2008 (1st Quarter)

Greetings friends! I've been busy creating...madly creating (my workspace is a TOTAL wreck and will testify to this fact) Working on my make-n-takes for the Scrapbooking and AltAred Art Retreat.(There is now a paypal button on the post so you can click and conveeeeeeeeeeeenient, yes?)

Here is my latest project...I got the kit from the amazing WIP blog...and then, in my usual fashion, went about ALTARING it. I usually work within a theme (to a fault) but this time I determined to use the elements in the kit and little else. That left the colors and the page layouts much more random....which is great. I like random. I just don't DO random very often. But, in doing so, I learned it's a good way to use up those extra small bits of paper and ribbon. Soooooooooo, "waste not, want not" as my gramma used to say. (She also used to say, "There's snow outside up to my 'fork'"...which is, at the moment, also a true statement. I'll make a project of her witticisms someday...) Anyhoo, here's my version:

More soon!


Tuesday, January 29


Greetings Dear Readers!

Up for your perusal today is the third Vintage Valentine Freebie...

This is from the Art Deco Era (1910-1940). A very different look to it than the Victorian Valentine posted last time! (Freebie #2) Upon my research, discovered this one is dated 1918. I just love the "tomboyish" looking girl and the vibrant colors. And, par for the Art Deco style, the lines are much cleaner and somewhat whimsical. I hope you like it! Again, just right click and you can have the image to use as you wish! Don't forget to download the other Valentine Freebies...I have them linked in the upper right hand corner of the blog. Remember I will be giving away a full page of Vintage Valentines on "Valentines Day Eve". Please leave a comment on any of these Valentines Day posts and I will enter you into the contest. I also have for purchase digital, high resolution .png compilation sheets of the 50+ acquired in this Valentines estate sale. Just email for more info! Meanwhile, enjoy the Art Deco Goodie!

More soon!


Monday, January 28


Greetings yet again! (I am making multiple posts today so be sure to go back and read each one!)

I wanted to share with you a project I've completed...the brainchild of the FABulous
Wilna Furstenburg of Creating Keepsakes fame. As you may recall, during the Christmas holiday she made a wonderful little goodie for one of her friends. She lovingly referred to the project as "Coffee Jingles." Anyhoo, now this amazing woman is teaching a Valentine Class Online. Being the "sucker" I am for such things, I signed up immediately (not realizing this project was going to be one of the darling little projects!) Soon thereafter, she posted a happy little "store" on her blog offering this kit for purchase, (sold out!) complete with instructional page and Starbucks coffee cup!

Needless to say mine look nothing like hers...I can NEVER leave well enough alone but ALWAYS have to tweak and embellish TO DEATH everything I create. As always, if you want instructions, go to Wilna's blog and/or comment or email...and now, without further adieu:

Behold "Coffee Lovies" MY version of said project:

Aren't they FUN? I am giving them to a certain someone (who shall remain nameless) with coupons on the back of each for various (uh-hum) services. WINK WINK

By the way, check out the slideshow at the top of the photos and projects! Blessings!

More soon!


Sunday, January 27


Hello my intrepid crafters! How goes the madness? All is valentine INSANITY at the Palace...however, in the midst of said madness, I have done something (perhaps equally mad) I think you will enjoy...check it out:

I just got back from checking out the facilities and OH MY! It is SO beautiful! The log cabin lodges and sleeping cabins are too die for! There is a beautiful lake and 163 acres of rolling hills, forest and campground.

How long has it been since you did a weekend away with the girls? The lake is part of a campground for the Illinois Baptist State it is a no alcohol/no smoking facility. (And all the lungs and livers say a big "THANK YOU!")

Additional Altered Art kit to the first 10 to register! WOOHOODLYHOO! What fun! Mark your calendars NOW!!!

More soon!


Saturday, January 26


Greetings Friends! Today I want to show you the FAB stash of vintage goodies I found while perusing a semi-local flea market. And THEN I will share with you an incredible will be giddy with excitement!

Isn't it just DREEEEEEEEEEEEAMY? (I was in an aqua and red retro mood while choosing my fabric...can you tell?) While drooling amidst the old-time goodies I spied a Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet in excellent condition...and guess was aqua and red! OH HOW I WANTED IT TO GO HOME WITH ME! Too die for! I digress...

The above fabric will find its way into various art quilts and other AltAred Art fabric projects...
And now for the exciting announcement...I have discovered an easy, inexpensive way to print on muslin using a common inkjet printer! Behold the experimental prototype:

I have been experimenting with different transfer methods, because as an AltAred Artist, I like to dabble in a LOT of things rather than just "specialize" in one mode/method of creating. Ergo, I want to try my hand at miniature art quilts. In order to do this, I had to find a way to get the images I wanted to use onto fabric. I've tried the laser printer/burnishing method, the toner copier/water method, to no avail. I'm not sure if I didn't understand the instructions, or if I got too bogged down in details (of which I am NOT a fan!) However, while reading an issue of the FABulous Somerset Studio magazine (from 2006) I ran across a method I thought might work. SOOOOO, do you want to know how to do it? Is your mind racing with anticipation? Okay, here's the instructions...(written for those of us who are detail challenged):

1. Scan images you want to print...make a digital .jpg file (photos will work too...YAY!)
2. Cut a 9x12 piece of muslin
3. Cut a piece of freezer paper about the same size
4. Place the muslin on the shiny side of the freezer paper
5. Using the cotton setting on your iron, fuse the fabric to the freezer paper
6. Trim the fused fabric to 8.5 x 11 (be sure there are no ragged edges or ravelings)
7. Using whatever photo or imaging program you like, prepare the image to print.
8. Load the fabric sheet into your inkjet printer (I found it a good idea to be nearby to monitor the printing...if the fabric gets a little stuck or hung up, you can gently guide it until it is entirely printed.)
9. Peel the freezer paper from the back of the fabric (I've found making a small tear on the edge of the paper helps you get a hold of it to pull and peel)

Voila! A beautiful printed piece of fabric ready to sew on whatever other fabric project you wish! I have visions of pillows and sweatshirts and tote bags and...oh yes! Art quilts of COURSE!

Comment or email me if you have any trouble, or if you create something incredible you want to share with the blogging world...I will be working on a (what else?!) Valentines Day Mini Quilt. I'll share pics as soon as I get it finished! I am SO EXCITED! {she said fabric, thread and pins a-flying}

More soon!


Friday, January 25


Greetings, dear readers! Today I share with you yet ANOTHER (you WILL be sick of Valentines Day by the time it rolls around...promise!) Valentine Goodie from the Palace. Behold...the Grungeboard:

If you'll remember, a few posts ago I mentioned getting a package of Grungeboard from my hubby...this is my first experiment with it and I must tell you, I LOVE IT! Other than having to find a glue that will hold it in place (hot glue is NOT the answer!) it was a dream to work with. I changed the color of the heart about 4 times, wiping off and then repainting or reinking, and it wasn't even a little worse for the wear! It's also flexible, so unlike chipboard it doesn't get the unsightly "bends". It is, in a word FAB! Try it, you'll like it!

More soon!


Thursday, January 24


Greetings, friends! I am writing to share with you two of TOO MANY projects I am currently working on...(lots going on in the fam and in my practice and art is how I keep my sanity...ergo, lots of stress = lots of art!)

My first offerings are a set of Valentines Day Coasters...created with two of my favorite things: Love, Elsie and my grandson Mason! The second is a fold up Valentine created from envelopes. EASY projects! Email or comment if you'd like easy how-to instructions!

More soon!


Monday, January 21


Greetings dear readers! I am writing to let you know that the vintage valentine this week is especially delightful...first of all, the back story:
The back of the valentine says,

"To my dear Kathryn. I trust you know how much you mean to me...I hope to be home soon. Every day without you is like a day without air. Please be my, Thomas."

Isn't that the SWEETEST?!?! I can just imagine Thomas standing in front of the card rack at the corner drug store, agonizing over each card...looking for just the right one that will adequately convey his feelings. He is no doubt a romantic...the card tells the tale:

This one was made in the USA, 1909. I've been doing some research on the history of "The Valentine" from a greeting card point of view. Here is a brief history:

History of the Valentine

European Valentine

A young Frenchman, Charles, Duke of Orleans, was one of the earliest creators of valentines, called "poetical or amorous addresses." From his confinement in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, he sent several poems or rhymed love letters or "valentines" to his wife in France.

During the fifteenth century, one valentine showed a drawing of a knight and a lady, with Cupid in the act of sending an arrow to pierce the knight's heart.

During the seventeenth century people made their own valentines using original verse or poems copied from booklets with appropriate verse.

The English attitude toward St. Valentine's Day in the middle of the eighteenth century is summed up in this verse printed in Poor Robin's Almanac in 1757:

      This month bright Phoebus enters Pisces,
      The maids will have good store of kisses,
      For always when the fun comes there,
      Valentine's Day is drawing near,
      And both the men and maids incline
      To chuse them each a Valentine;
      And if a man gets one he loves,
      He gives her first a pair of gloves;
      And, by the way, remember this,
      To seal the favour with a kiss.

      This kiss begets more love, and then
      That love begets a kiss again,
      Until this trade the man doth catch,
      And then he doth propose the match,
      The woman's willing, tho' she's shy,
      She gives the man this soft reply,
      "I'll not resolve one thing or other,
      Until I first consult my mother."
      When she says so, 'tis half a grant,
      And may be taken for consent.

Turtle Doves and Love Birds

"Oft have I heard both youth and virgin say
Birds choose their mates, and couples too, this day;
But by their flight I never can divine,
When I shall couple with my Valentine."

It was thought that birds chose their mate for the year on February 14. Doves and pigeons mate for life and therefore were used as a symbol of "fidelity."

The first commercial valentine appeared circa 1800 and were rather simplistic. But by the 1830's and 1840's Valentines contained delicate and artistic messages. Valentines made of fine papers and decorated with satin, ribbon, or lace commanded high prices. They had pictures of turtledoves, lovers' knots in gold or silver, bow and arrows, cupids, and bleeding hearts. All of these symbols have become associated with love and lovers.

In the 1840's the first mechanical valentines were introduced. By pulling a tab, a figure or object on the card could be made to move. Some had elaborate honeycomb pop-outs or various other three-dimensional features.

In the 1840's messages on early valentines included:


      "I fondly, truly love thee."

      "Love protects"

      "My orb of day departs with thee."

      I love thee! Oh! I love thee!
      Dearer art thou than life.
      I love thee! I love thee!
      Say, wilt thou be my wife?

      "'This Valentine's Day, to the church let's away;
      No longer I'll wait, let us marry.
      You promised, dear maid, that you would be mine,
      If I, till today, would tarry.

American Valentines

Valentine Writers. After 1723, American valentines began to grow with the import from England of valentine "writers." A writer was a booklet containing a vast array of verses and messages which could be copied onto gilt-edged letter paper or other decorative sheets. One popular writer contained not only "be my valentine" type verses for men to send, but also acceptance or "answers" which women could return. Here is an example:


      A short time since I danc'd with you,
      And from that hour lov'd you true;
      Your pleasing form, your charming air,
      Might with a fabl'd grace compare;
      Your accents, so melodious sweet,
      Still on my ear does seem to beat;
      And 'tis the first wish of my life,
      To win my Delia for a wife;
      Deign, my sweet maid, a line to send,
      And may love's saint my plea defend.


      Your Valentine is very kind,
      Nor did a cool reception find;
      Your company gave me delight,
      When I danced with you t'other night;
      Then mutually we did incline,
      Our hearts to love, my Valentine.

    From then on, Valentines became less artistic and overornamented. During the Gay Nineties they were adorned with garish spun glass, mother-of-pearl, imitation jewels, or silk fringe. Proof of the less attractive, cheap-looking valentine is seen in the "vinegar valentine." John McLaughlin, a New York printer, created these comic valentines that were printed on cheap paper in crude colors. His messages made fun of old maids, teachers, and others. Comic designs done in 1870 by the American cartoonist Charles Howard were called "penny dreadfuls"--a perfect name for them because they sold for a penny and the designs were dreadful.

The first U.S. made valentines were crafted by a Mount Holyoke College student, Miss Esther Howland. Her father, a stationer in Worcester, MA, imported valentines every year from England. Esther, however, decided to create her own valentine messages. Around 1830 she began importing lace, fine papers, and other supplies for her valentines. She employed several assistants and her brothers helped market her "Worcester" valentines. As one of our first successful U.S. career women her sales amounted to about a hundred thousand dollars annually--not bad for the 1830's.

In our century we've seen a change from the heavy sentimentality of earlier days to what can best be described as a light touch. Nowadays a valentine usually accompanies a more elaborate gift of candy, flowers, perfume, etc.

American school children usually celebrate St. Valentine's Day with a party at school. Prior to the party the children make a decorated box with a slot in the top. During the party the children distribute valentines to their classmates' Valentine's Box.

Valentine cards are manufactured on an enormous scale today that range from the sentimental to sophisticated to humous valentines. There is a valentine for everyone--sweetheart, spouse, children, parents, teacher and even your pet! In terms of the number of greeting cards sent, Valentine's Day ranks second only to Christmas.

Other Valentine Customs

A young girl was supposed to marry, eventually, the first eligible male she met on this day. If a girl was curious and brave enough she could conjure up the appearance of her future spouse by going to the graveyard on St. Valentine's Eve at midnight. She would then sing a prescribed chant and run around the church twelve times.

In England, little children went about singing of St. Valentine and collecting small gifts. It was also customary to place valentines on their friends' doorsteps.

More soon!


Thursday, January 17


Greetings gentle readers! Because I truly DO you...I am going to give away a digital valentine once a week until Valentines Day, at which time one lucky reader will receive an entire sheet of valentines! A little history about these very vintage valentines: I was recently able to make an "estate purchase" of a collection of old, vintage valentines dating as far back as the turn of the century, 1904! Many were made in Germany, (which would have been 8 years BEFORE World War 1!) Some are charming, some are quirky, and others are just weird. All are valentines that have been used "in real life." In many cases the "TO" "FROM" is hand written in what looks like a child's scrawl. TOO CUTE!

Anyway, you'll not know which DAY I will be posting said check back daily! So, without further adieu, your first valentine:

Isn't he absolutely adorable? This is one of my faves...made in Germany in 1904. There is no "inside" to this great "valentine tradition" this is a simple one layer paper greeting.You'll note on his little hat it says "Valentines Greetings." Simply right click to save the's a .png and so should be compatible with most photo editing software. YAY! I love to share treasures! Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 15


Greetings all! As I mentioned in my last post, I do not like the "barren wilderness" look of my living room after taking down the Christmas decorations...SO this year I decided to leave the tree and use it as a "transitional" piece...I used vintage valentines, vintage lace and crocheted linens from my grandmother's collection...

I realize that *I*, the one who is always downing my friends for being "sappy" and/or sentimental, will take untold ribbing and will be laughed to scorn...however, *I* think it looks pretty and even my husband said "Your valentine tree looks good." (High praise indeed!)
So laugh if you must...oh, and while I'm at it...I dedicated the song playing to my dear husband of 27 years. We ARE still having fun...and he's STI
LL the one! (mock me if you must...)

More soon!


Smoochies! Paula