March 31, 2014

Keep Calm

Our family has a bit of a reputation.

We are an easy-going bunch.  No arguing, no bickering, no drama.  No rushing about.  No worries. We go with the flow.

Friends lovingly tease us about our family vibe, and "Flaherty" has become not so much an adjective or a verb, but more of an attitude, a way of approaching stress or chaos.

Keep Calm and Flaherty On.  

I hand cut the words to create a stencil and used flexible modeling
paste to "screen" them onto an old green T-shirt.  It was an
experiment, to be sure, but fairly successful.  Next time I would
cut the stencil out of card stock instead of flimsy copy paper.

It was the idea I had for the crown that pushed me to actually create this piece.  And with "Calm" being the Word Up at the One Little Word challenge, I had a deadline.  No worries, though. :)

It's a little wonky, but I was free handing the embroidery from
 a sketch I drew up based on a piece of clip art.  

Head on over to One Little Word to check out all the loveliness created by the design team and other Wordsters.  And, if you'd like to link up your own calm-inspired creations, you have till April 14th!! 

Have a chill day! 
Thanks for visiting!

March 29, 2014

She Follows Her Muse

I cut an article out of the LA Times Magazine in 2003 when Jillian was in Kindergarten and filed it away.  I knew I had put it in a "safe" place and was sooooo happy when I was able to find it recently.

Article by Patti Davis, daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Illustration by Mark Gagnon, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gagnon

The article, by Patti Davis is kind of a journey through her self-depricating acknowledgement of fashion faux pas, ending with her assertions of sartorial self-acceptance which seem to only come with the grace of maturity.
"Last week I bought an old cotton tablecloth at a flea market for $10.  Half of it is damaged, so I'm going to cut it in two and make a summer top from the undamaged part. I'll make straps from old satin ribbon.  I will hold my head high, and if anyone asks if I am wearing a tablecloth, I will say, "Yes, I am."

That.  Right there.  That is what I wanted Jillian to hold on to.  Unapologetic awesomeness.

I love this quote by Picasso, one of the little freebie niceties in the Cocoa Daisy kits.
The "<3 You" is an exclusive die cut by Evalicious; I put a clear bubble sticker over
the top for some flair-like dimension.

Jillian has always had her own sense of style, a unique way of putting outfits together and wearing them with an ease that is beyond quiet confidence and more simply natural.  She is so genuine in her unique look that it is clear she is not seeking attention from the world, but that the world cannot help but to turn head and notice her.  She is admired by peers and parents, teachers and passersby.

The background was created by coarsely outlining a stencil with liquid matte medium
to create a resist pattern and, once dry, adding watercolors. 

Yes, she certainly does follow her muse.  

I used Prima chalk ink to bring out the texture in the beautiful and exclusive "Love"
letterpress card by Cocoa Daisy.  I hand painted the word muse with black acrylic
paint and traced around the letters and the heart shape for more weight and emphasis.

My plan is to keep the article tucked in a pocket on the back of the layout or in an adjacent page protector.

More watercolor play on a scrap of white card stock used
for my journaling and tucked into a stamped glassine bag. 

"Jillian, I read this article when you were in Kindergarten and knew
I needed to save it for you.  Even then you were this amazing girl
with a unique style all your own.  I never wanted you to lose that.
Now here you are, a Junior in high school and looking toward
attending FIDM.  I am so proud of you!  My heart is so full that
you continue to stay true to your beautiful self."


I created this layout for a game of "Lift Me Up" over on the Cocoa Daisy boards earlier this month.  It's basically like playing Telephone where one person whispers something to another who whispers it to the next person and so on,  till the last person says aloud what they heard and everyone erupts in laughter because it is so far off from the original message.

In the scrapbooking version of the game a starting layout is used for inspiration and emailed to the first scrapper signed on to play.  She then "scrap lifts" the design and creates a layout based on what she's received. Her new layout is sent on to the next person playing the game, and so on, till the last person finishes.  Then all the layouts are revealed.

Here is Suz Mannecke's layout that was sent to me as inspiration.
You can check out her personal blog for LOTS more!

I took inspiration from the background paper, the multi-font title, the paper clips
and their placement,  and the diagonal striped element along the bottom.

It is so fun to look at the chain and see what parts of each design spoke to the next person in line and try to follow the chain back to the original lift.  Can you see a resemblance?  

You can click this link to see all of the lovely creations and the order in which the chain progressed.  It will take you to the thread on the Cocoa Daisy message board.  There were enough ladies who joined the game that two "teams" were formed, each using the same starting point.  Enjoy!  One of the things I love most about the CD community aside from how genuine, sweet, and supportive they are is the inspiration, talent, and variety of scrapbooking that can be found there.  Love them!

Thank you for visiting and following my muse! :)

March 03, 2014

50 Things: An Overdue Update

In August of 2012 I shared a mini book I'd made to document a self-imposed challenge of 50 Things to do before I turn 50 years old.  My 46th birthday is right around the corner, and I hadn't taken stock of my progress for my own sake, let alone to share with you, dear reader!  
So, here's 5 Things that I've tackled so far:

#1:  Travel in Europe
Completed 12/24/12 - 01/08/13

I am absolutely still pinching myself that I was able to check this one off the list so early.  It never would have been possible without the complete physical and financial support of my parents and my sister. They gifted Jillian and I with airfare, meals, expenses, and lodging.  My sister was living just outside of Paris at the time, with plans of moving back to the US, so the timing was ripe!

#2:  Take a Class in Person With
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
Completed 01/18/14

This was an amazing experience, a dream come true, and a great exercise in holding back the hand-flapping, hyperventilating, "ohmigod! ohmigod!" squeals of a geeked out fan girl.  :)  Coupled with the fantastic studio space, art and hostessing-extraordinaire of the incomparable Jenny Doh, the whole weekend was deliciously surreal.  Julie has committed to teach again next January, and I hope to be a returning student!

#7:  Go to the Thursday Evening Farmer's Market
Completed 04/04/13

The "market" part of this outdoor fair was, I admit,  a bit disappointing.  I didn't expect there to be the abundance of vendors and produce offerings as our local Sunday market, but this particular night as a first impression wasn't terrific.  It was our 21st wedding anniversary, though, so we enjoyed a nostalgic fish taco from one of the few tents there and headed over to an exciting new monthly Art Slam event that will take place with the Farmer's Market.  Particularly AWESOME was that this night featured "GREEN Slam" and art of recycled materials which is a big favorite of mine.  And then, particularly un-awesome was that that part of the event wasn't scheduled to begin until after the market closed, and with a new pup left at home for several hours already, we weren't willing to stay till then.

#39:  Splurge on the Perfect Boots
Completed 11/30/12

Oh, my darlings!  How do I love thee?  And at half the price my splurge budget was set to allow, you are even lovelier paired with the additional sweaters and scarves I've been able to accessorize with you.
I. Love. These. BOOTS!!!

#42:  Go to Griffith Observatory
Completed 07/31/12

Wow!  The Observatory is so much bigger than I expected.  We enjoyed the hike up to the campus, the incredible views of Los Angeles, the science-y displays and explanations, and the film "Centered in the Universe" in the Planetarium.  All completely awesome!!  But, we didn't see everything, so need to make some return visits.  I have to look through the giant telescope yet.

I've checked some other items off the list, too, and will share those with you soon.  As of last night I have another Best Picture Oscar winning movie to watch as I make my way through 86 years of honored films .  With Mike out of town for the next twelve days, I should strategically choose a few that I can never talk him into watching with me...perhaps 1928/29's "The Broadway Melody" or 1952's "The Greatest Show on Earth"?

"All Talking, All Singing, All Dancing" ?
C'mon, Mike?  What's not to love???  ;)

Thank you for letting me share a bit of my journey with you!
Have a wonderful week!

January 29, 2014

Trend Setter

Los Angeles Times
January 19, 2014

Lisa Flaherty
November 26, 2013

Just sayin'….  ;)   

Maybe this is just the recognition I needed to post more often. 

Here's a look at something new from me to cleanse your eyes from seeing that crazy layout again (Jeremy, once again, horrified that it exists on the interwebs. #sorrynotsorry):

It is a collage I made at an awesome class taught by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer at Studio Crescendoh a couple weeks ago.  I'm finishing up another in a series, and will share more soon!  

Thanks for stopping by!

November 26, 2013

He Eats Like a Bird

This is my son, Jeremy.

He eats like a bird.

I submitted this layout in one of the challenges during Cocoa Daisy's Fall Crop earlier this month, and
I won!!
 Happy Happy Joy Joy!!

Somehow the kid keeps growing.  He's 14 years old and over 6 feet tall!

The challenge was to use various types of stitching, including some specialty embroidery stitches.
 These bird footprints were inspired by a stitch called the "Y".  

He tells me, "I'm just not a food type of person."

I added these stamps on the back of my journaling card with one of the funny quotes Jeremy has been
known to say in response to our wonderment of his lack of culinary inclinations.

I'm waiting…perhaps impatiently….

Seriously.  I cannot wait.  I'm a bit on pins and needles about it.

I wonder if he will leave the nest with his little birdie appetite.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself for my paper and embellishment choices. :)
Birds, feathers, the background paper echoing the footprints, a stamped nest and a clock for my waiting and wondering, the ruler as he grows, and the train schedule that mimics meal times.  High five!

This is my son, Jeremy.

And also, he hates this layout.  Just thought I'd better mention that.  :(
Luckily, I can still take him in an arm-wrestling match.
I tell you though, don't challenge him to a battle of wits.

He'll annihilate you.

Scatter some seeds on the ground and RUN!


Have a great day!

November 11, 2013

Bunny Canvas

Our little bun-bun, Edward. *sigh*  We've been missing him, as he passed away earlier this year.  He was the best rabbit.  We loved having him hopping free about the house, and snuggling in like a pup when we'd eat dinner at the coffee table or settle in to watch TV.
I know you are resting in peace, little guy, except when you are happily bouncing from cloud to cloud
 or having your ears and face cuddled and petted by your loving angels.

I made this canvas for Remember When a few months ago, using some papers from Fancy Pants and inspired by this post on Pinterest.  

Various papers from the collection were cut into 1/4 inch strips, randomly chosen, and trimmed to size

Heidi Swapp Color Shine painted on the edges.  I think I use that stuff on almost every project!

Pierced holes and embroidered around the edge of the silhouette
sharpens the shape and adds a finishing touch

This was a super fun project, and a great way to use up scraps!  Thanks for stopping by and having a look!  Have a "hoppy" day! ;)

November 04, 2013

Monochromatic Poetry

I have this funky CD, Death By Chocolate that I bought on a whim at some point because of the band name and the cool album art.  Turns out it is a bit of a family favorite.  It's kind of 60's-psychedelic-lava-lamp with British spoken word and school yard chants and school book recitations(?).  But it's, well, smarter than that.  Very hard to explain.

The One Little Word this month is "Color" and I immediately thought of some of the short tracks on this CD which are titled with a color's name and then a monologue of objects and feelings about the color are listed.  It's quite poetic.

I thought I would do my own version, using the same colors from the album but with my own associations.  Knowing there would be a lot of handwritten words on the page, I opted to collage my title from letters cut from a magazine.  I think it also speaks to the seeming randomness of the poems themselves:  a bunch of unrelated words that together create cohesiveness due to the single color they conjure; the letters, all of various color, font, and size yet they come together to form words.


large envelopes
high school jackets
Pee Chee folders
#2 pencils
baby food and jaundice
rain boots
banana slugs
curried chicken
school buses and taxi cabs
flowering weeds
pollen, saffron, sulphur
Burning nostrils
caution tape
Bump Ahead


cotton candy
swimming pools
worn denim
Mom's eyes
bubble gum ice cream
cartoon elephants
tropical seas
chlorine and clean laundry
robins' eggs, candied and real
Restful napping in a hammock

For a couple  of the colors, I couldn't think of enough items to fill the space I'd painted, so I just repeated my words to fill up the area.


popsicles and Happiness
orange peel smiles
pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns
monarch butterflies
campfires and construction vests
Fall leaves and Halloween
San Francisco Giants


wallpaper and carpet
my teenage telephone
grass stains
damp forests
eucalyptus scented lotion
army men
split pea soup
spinach and herbs
concert smoke
Pop-pop's face after a roller coaster ride

I painted this face on a piece of deli paper placed over a magazine ad, loosely tracing the model's face with black paint.  Once collaged onto my background of blocks of color, perhaps you see that the idea was inspired by the CD's cover art.  


fire trucks
scraped knees
stop signs and stop lights
spaghetti sauce
red cheeks
Kool Aid moustaches
Santa's suit and Rudolph's nose
Chapstick and cough drops

Thank you for stopping by and checking out this creation!  Head over to OLW to see all the fabulous and COLOR inspired pieces by the designers and readers alike!  I'll be linking up to Friday's Art Journal Every Day feature on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog, too!