229: I shook it like a polaroid picture

Hey, I'm back.

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Went to Providence for the weekend. I hung out with Madelyn and her friends Kath and Norma, danced in the streets (literally), bought some art supplies and thrifty stuff, ate yummy food.

Friday night, The Best Grilled Cheese of My Life was consumed at The Red Fez, a very hip, dimly lit restaurant  that was playing Nick Cave and Depeche Mode. After dinner, Maddie and I went to Whole Foods to get dessert. We decided on a giant peanut butter cupcake and a mini raspberry pie. But when we got home we were still too full from the crack-laced grilled cheese and french fries, that all we could do was lay on the couch and watch Flight of the Conchordes.

Saturday night, we partook  of the finale of  Providence Sound Session, a week-long music festival that culminates in a parade  from  Water Place Park to Westminster  (!)  Street, where there are a few different stages set up- music everywhere . It was awesome, as it was last year. My favorite part is the What Cheer? Brigade, a kooky  marching band (way more cool than it sounds). We joined in the parade behind them  I got a chance to bust out my shimmy, which was a treat. Live drumming always wakes up the shimmy. I didn't take pictures because I had to choose between blogging and dancing, and I really needed to dance. I haven't been getting enough exercise and I have been stressed, so the dancing was a great release. Plus, Maddie and I did our usual laughing like hyenas, and that was good medicine.

Toward the end of the night I leaned over and said, "Hey Maddie, you know what we're gonna do when we get home? We are going to wreck that cupcake from last night."

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Sunday, we had waffles and mimosas in Kath's garden, which was just lovely.

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St. Francis:

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Kath's yard had some delicious textures:

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I was really happy that I brought my camera.

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mmmmm. nummy.

An old bike becomes a garden ornament:

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Yum:

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Blackberries:

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Kath has chickens!

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The front yard is incredible - all garden. Even the little strip of grass on the other side of the sidewalk:

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I bet all the runners in her neighborhood look forward to passing by her house. I know I would!

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Maddie gave me some prayer flags for my birthday. Seeing Kath's made me itch to put mine up!

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Actually, now I am itching to make some. Spiritual Bunting.

I just love this with the blue sky:

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And sunflowers!

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Ahhhh. Isn't that, like, the essence of happiness?

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After brunch, Kath, a lifelong seamstress,  let me forage for sewing supplies in her basement. (Thanks, Kath!) You will not even believe what I have to show you! I need a sunny day so I can take pictures. Prepare yourself.

I like Kath so much I told her that on my next visit, I want her hands all over my naked body.

She's a massage therapist.

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xo,

227: and no jackee in sight

Top o' the mornin' to you, my friends.

Drinking my soymilk coffee.

Listening to Iron and Wine.

Tired. You know, as much as I loved going to Quilt Market in Portland, it really knocked me on my ass. I feel like I'm still recovering.

I'm going to Providence again this weekend. Good for me, bad for my poor neglected garden!

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From Madelyn's:

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Love that.

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Madelyn and a friend of hers joined forces to create these ornamental trellises:

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They are hard to photograph!

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I want some.

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Another collaboration:

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Mmmmm, rust.

Oh, that reminds me: I bought a metal headboard for 5 bucks at a yard sale that I am going to use as a fence/trellis for my roses! I'll take pictures when I finally get around to doing it!

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Great contrast of industrial and homey, don't you think?

I'm so jealous  of this curbside find:

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So cute!

(((Looking at all of these pictures of Madelyn's place makes me think 'Oh, my poor garden.' I am being a bad  garden mama this year. Not watering, not weeding. I have to just let it go for now because it will make me crazy if I think about it. Gardener's guilt!)))

Maddie's bird sculpture:

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Check out this awesome hanging planter:

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And more on the porch:

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Don't they look great all together like that?

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I feel boring today, so I will leave you now.

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xo, m

225: me and mimi and the men

Good morning, loves!

Back to the Boston Handmade Marketplace:

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You know how I was looking forward to seeing Mimi's men!

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 And Mimi, of course.

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Oh my god, they are so cool! 

I have an unnatural love for these guys:

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I am feeling , uh, a little unphotogenic lately, so pretend you don't notice the my dark circles and wacky hair. And giant fivehead. But do feel free to notice my cute headband.

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The detail on the faces is incredible, as is the amount of personality they each have.

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>sigh<       sepia!

Arrrrrr:

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You can't see it in that photo above, but there is a little skull and crossbones on his hat.

It was neat to meet Mimi. We hope to get together soon so we can actually talk and get to know each other a bit. It was hard to focus with so much going on!

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So, it was my birthday on the fifth, Saturday. Very low key.  Yard sales. Pizza and sangria.

But first, in the morning, coffee and this:

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My new boyfriend looks good in pink.

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Thanks, sweetie!

 

224: my friend maddie

 When I go to Madelyn's, it's like an inspiration  buffet.

I mean, even her doorknobs are awesome:

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I was walking around her place (taking a million pictures like I usually do) and I kept saying, "Maddie, you are so cool. You are the coolest person ever!"

She said, "No, you are."

I said, "Well, I'm okay, but you are the coolest."

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We were standing in the hallway, she was asking me something- I don't remember what because I interrupted her with a stream of swears when I saw this :

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Can you believe the awesomeness and perfection? No, you can't.

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I love those trees and the daisy-headed lion.

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I don't know the name of this plant, but I was taken with it's silhouette:

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Detail of one of Maddie's sculptures:

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I took a ton of pictures of her newest series of sculptures, which I will share soon. They are incredible.

Remember scratchboard? It's a cardstock with a black ink coating and when you scrape away the black it reveals a colorful base layer? Years ago, Maddie gave me a little scratchboard notebook and the first thing I did with it was make this as a thank you:

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She is, too. Did I tell you how we met? I was sixteen and she was my Sculpture teacher in high school! She was 23, fresh out of college. The same age as my boyfriend at the time! Yes, really.

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We connected right away and I was crushed when she decided not to continue teaching after that year. She returned to Providence and we stayed in touch through letters and occasional visits for the first couple of years and then more and more visits and phonecalls (and letters!) as the years went on. It has been...eighteen years? Holy shit, can that be right?

Sometimes when we are goofing around, laughing like hyenas, I look at her and say "You were my teacher in high school!" and we bust out laughing even harder. But Maddie isn't just fun. She is one of the most inspiring, honest, generous and kind-hearted people you could ever hope to meet.

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I have so many pictures to share with you. I'll have to step up the posting to cover it all before I forget.

Detail of a painting in Maddie's kitchen by her friend Monica Shinn:

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From the same painting:

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I love that!

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Oh, hey, I am writing to you this morning from my new laptop!

xo, m

 

 

 

 

223: picnic - pottery- progress

Wow, I am exhausted! Good thing it's a four day work-week.

I went to Providence for the weekend to visit Madelyn.

Friday night: Vieux Farka Toure free concert in the park. Met some of Maddie's friends there.  Blanket on the grass, picnic. Watched the guy who dances at every event and  Dubbed him Sir Dance-A-Lot. Drank Perrier.

(Excuse me, but my mind is being blown right now. How did I ever not see this video of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley? It's amazing.)

After the concert: Went to Cuban Revolution. Had Cafe Cubano and flan. Yum.

Saturday morning we went to The Happiest Place on Earth: Savers! (pictures to come)

Next, we headed to Somerville for the Boston Handmade Marketplace, where Maddie was a vendor. 

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Jessica did an amazing job of putting on this show. The merchandise was varied and high quality, turnout was great, set up and takedown was hassle-free. The live music really made it special. 

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I met some wonderful people, saw awesome stuff and took tons of pictures, which I will post this week. But first I must pimp share Madelyn's darling pottery.

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Fez Monkey Teapot!! Kitty Mush bowls!
By now you know that you can visit her etsy shop, Lucky Monkey, right?

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I love those egg cups, above. Do you recognize that chicken

Maddie's newest motif:

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Oh. My. God. Raccoons! So cute! 

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Sometimes I find myself pleasantly surprised at how different I am now.
There was a time when I wouldn't have agreed to help Maddie at this show because my anxiety would have been unbearable. I would have not believed in myself enough to know what to do (or be comfortable not knowing). I would have been afraid of someone looking at me trying put up the tent and I would have been sweating and blushing and embarrassed. It's not rational, it doesn't make sense - but that is how I lived most of my life: in constant fear and panic. I can feel it fluttering in my chest just by bringing it up. Sometimes I forget how bad it was and how much it ruled my life.
I don't like scary and suspenseful movies or haunted houses. That state of anticipation and adrenaline that they invoke is a feeling that  I have worked very hard to soothe  and talk myself down from.
It is so rewarding when I notice that I am perfectly comfortable in an environment or situation that would have totally freaked me in the past.
That happened on Saturday and it was cool.

More soon.

xo, m 

221: early equals on time

Yay! Thanks for all the lemon-love!

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As you know, Saturday I went to Boston for the Craft  Magazine party.
I got off the T at Porter Square and headed down Mass Ave to meet Karen at Simon's  Cafe. I was running a little late because there was construction in one of the tunnels, but I couldn't resist pulling out my camera to  capture this:

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This may come as a surprise,  since  you know that I am a procrastinator, but I am rarely late. I am usually early. I dislike being late. Of course, things happen. Sometimes I am late  due to things beyond my control and that can happen to anyone. But chronic lateness? That frustrates me.  I think to be on time, you actually have to be early. For example, if a yoga class starts at 9 and I live 10 minutes away, leaving my house at 8:50 will make me  late. Even if I do pull into the parking lot right at nine, I still have to get in, pay, find a spot, etc. For me, yoga at 9 means be at your mat and ready to start at nine (or earlier)! Again, I  admit it, occasionally I am  late and I feel bad about it. Especially  when I have to  put my mat at the front of the class because there's no room anywhere else!

Ok, back to Boston.
Latte and scone at Simon's:

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Yes, I did  feel like a total spaz whipping out my camera to take pictures of my food, in case you were wondering.

Catching up with Karen was great fun- talking about mental health, crafting and scones (whose connection can not be disputed).

Here's Karen:

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It was funny how similarly we were dressed: we were both wearing summer dresses over pants with sparkly slipper-shoes. I wanted those  pink velvety beaded shoes of hers!

Next we stopped in at Nomad and spent ages drooling over every little thing. Somehow I managed to resist buying a single thing!

Oh dear, I guess I'll have to cover this in multiple posts - since it's time to get ready for work.

A few random bits:

Listening to: We're All in the Dance by Feist (on the Paris Je T'aime soundtrack)
Reading: Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin
Thinking about: my  next fabric line
Eating (too much): Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Butter
Wondering: How are you? 

xo, m

164: maddie's house and garden

 As promised.

Taken last summer, Madelyn Macedo's garden:

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Ahh! Seeing that lush foliage makes me yearn even more for hot weather and long sunny evenings spent weeding.

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Look at what Maddie did here:

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She took a hollow log and planted succulents in it! Brilliant.

Madelyn and I share is a love of rusty things and a penchant for scavenging. She rescued this metal thing and put it to work as a support for giant sunflowers:

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She's a creative genius, obviously.
That's another one of her ceramic sculptures in the background.  

Meeting  Maddie when I was but a wee lass of 16 certainly influenced my aesthetic. I already had a fondness for old and rusty things, but knowing a real artist who loved them too reinforced it.
Have a look at this shelf of rusty tool bits:

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I love how she painted this windowbox that adorns her shed:

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If you followed the link from my last post to Lucky Monkey, Maddie's etsy shop, you might recognize that chicken motif from her line of stoneware mugs.

Now let's go inside...

Collection of seed pods from the hallway:

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I am painfully envious of this crushed rusty paint bucket :

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And this marble bust:

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and  sacred hearts... and.. well I pretty much  want every thing she has in her home!

And here is a shot of the living room which is filled with art and cats:

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Those three torso sculptures on the left are Maddie's, as is that tile heart piece.

You guys, this isn't even a fraction of the inspiration that I take in when I visit her!
She's amazing.

163: madelyn macedo

 I finally photographed my collection of pottery made by friend  Madelyn Macedo.

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I love being surrounded by her work. I know I have mentioned Madelyn before, but I can't remember, did I tell you that she was one of my art teachers in high school? ( I feel like I might have said this before, but I  looked back in my archives and couldn't find it. Please forgive me if I am repeating myself!) She was fresh out of college and I was 16 and we immediately connected. She only stayed at the school for a year, but we remained in touch and grew into lifelong friends.

You might remember some of these pieces from my kitchen redo. Here is that fez monkey sugar bowl we asked her to make for us:

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Covered pitcher, mugs and serving platter:

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Quartet of mugs:

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I love the shapes and variations in size. She makes covered mugs, too, which are great for keeping your coffee warm and , as Maddie says, keeping cat paws out of your tea.

The colors are so soothing, and aren't her motifs awesome?

These are all high-fired stoneware with foodsafe glazes and iron oxide painted and incised designs. 

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Of course, she has an etsy shop  -   Lucky Monkey!

The studio:

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Most of these are planters with saucers- aren't they great? She makes hanging planters, too. I have some and I love them. Madelyn also is a sculptor and her home is amazing. Whenever I visit, I have to just walk around for a while and absorb it all. I have pictures- maybe that I will share those next time.

160: mary and the magic brain (and my weekend)

 You guys are like, yawn, right?

Well, I am sorry. 

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I am going to try not to bore you.

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But  I love to show you my goodies. Not those goodies, you cheeky monkey.

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I will break up the endless photos of my estate sale finds with some actual , you know, writing- how about that?

I had a lovely weekend. As you know, I shopped.

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I visited with a handful of good friends. Great friends, actually. Wonderful, vibrant women.

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I watched Marie Antoinette with my friend Sue last night. She and I have been friends for years, but fell out of touch over the last few since she moved away. This week, I finally reconnected with one of the most creative people  I know- she's a real problem solver, an idea generator.

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Sue wrote a book a few years ago, check out the title:
How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me.   It is just what it sounds like, her account of how she survived  suicidal thinking and multiple attempts. Though I no longer have suicidal thoughts, (that's right- I have struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life, and was prone to suicidal thinking when I was in my teens) I have found this book  helpful. I think it could be repackaged to address 'depression' and reach a wider audience- a lot of people are depressed but aren't suicidal, and therefore would pass this book on the shelf. But How I stayed Alive... is perfect even 'just' for the blues. And anyone who gets the blues on a regular basis (like I do) knows there's nothing just about it!

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Oh, this is neat: I accompanied Sue when she had an appearance on Good Morning America in 2002. I'll have to dig out some photos of our trip to New York!

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As for Marie Antoinette, we enjoyed it. The visuals, of course, were delectable - sugared almond opulence.  

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Another friend I visited with was Erica- one of my best friends from high school. We, too, had been out of touch for far too long.  I finally tracked her down and we got together again last November, for the first time since the early nineties!  Perhaps  because the last time we hung out regularly was back when I was in that depression and suicidal thinking mode, spending time with Erica  is medicine for my heart. Seeing how far I have come- that I made it through that time, and seeing her happily married, a mom -  wow.I am so happy that we have found each other again. Erica is funny, smart and sweet and I just love how she is as a mother. We enjoyed soy lattes at Borders this morning. Erica's 16 month old daughter, Jane, had foamed soymilk.

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And then there is Andrea, a complete doll that I met last fall when we both enrolled in  a yoga teacher training. I have since pulled out of the program ( but will take it again next session) but Andrea just taught her first class on Friday! Wowee, I am so proud of her! We went out for Indian food that night and had a ball catching up. Then today, we took a two-hour Jivamukti Yoga workshop, which was awesome! I have a crush on that yoga class now- we'll see if it blossoms into true love.

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I hope I got you through all the photos with a minimum of yawning.  Now a little recap of my goodies : cool magic brain calculator, some plastic Marys etc, Thor's chicken, spice rack that we are going to spruce up, neat dice
( hey, now we know what those weird dice were, from way back!) and some beads. Whew!

Oh yeah, tonight I spent a few hours working on a secret project! I'll be able to fill you in on that soon.

Thanks for listening - and looking.

xo 

creative bazaar goodies: artsy mama!

Ok, kids. Here it is: the final installment of my Creative Bazaar Goodies!

What a pleasure it was to meet up with Kari Ramstrom: The Artsy Mama!  Kari and a chatted about blogging and our love of libraries. She is such a doll.

Her display table was heaped with  halloween and vintage inspired goodies.

Look at this Yummy Halloweenie Eye Candy:

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It's an envelope with a cutout and lining. I love it. I also fell in love with her fall vintage wallpaper banner/pennants.
I had a hard time deciding which of her ribbons I wanted. In the end I chose this one:

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I love the little birdie and the jewelry piece! And the colors are awesome- the rust ball fringe is the best!

Kari made these from her own (and her sister's) swimming ribbons!

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As always, I was walking around my yard finding ways to photograph my goodies, when my yard sale bird house caught my eye:

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I love how this looks! Like the birdhouse resident won a decorating contest or something!
Don't worry, I wouldn't leave this ribbon outside. It looks so awesome in my pink bathroom.

(by the way, do you want to come over and paint my house? It sure could use it. As if you didn't notice.)

creative bazaar goodies: simply june!

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Karen June of Simply June!

She is smart and funny and that laugh - infectious! We had a good time.
For a few weeks now I have been fantasizing about embroidering fabric to turn into buttons, so when I saw these I knew I had to get them:

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Her presentation is just gorgeous and her products are so well made!

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so dainty and perfect!

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Someday I want to get one of her bags!

Karen was just a dear, so easy to talk with and lots of fun.

>sigh<

It has been so much fun taking all these pics of my goodies and linking up with the great gals at the bazaar!

One more to go: the fabulously talented Kari Ramstrom of  Artsy Mama

Creative Bazaar Goodies: Urusla and Olive and Noosed Kitty

As you know, last weekend I was lucky enough to meet some great women at the creative bazaar, hosted by Melanie McMullen of  Be Alive Be You!

Now let me show you my goodies and share the link love!

Look at these darling little bee buttons from Darlene Belisle of Ursula and Olive:

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You know how I love bees

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So cute!

And  some adorable magnets and a card from Jamie Fales of  Noosed Kitty:
 
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Jamie's  work is just the perfect blend of  melancholy and sweet! I have a soft spot in my heart for melancholy and sweet.

More to come! 

i heart madelyn

Stunning tile wall piece by Madelyn Macedo.

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She is amazing . Truly one of the most talented, wise, kind-hearted and radically generous people I know. I will be sharing the rest of my Maddy/Providence photos soon.

Cindy Lou, who?

At our old house, we had a couple of huge rhubarb plants and I would give my friend Cindy (of strawberry salad fame)  bunches of rhubarb that she would bake  into strawberry-rhubarb pie.  She'd call me up, "There's pie!"
We joke that she shines a pie-shaped silhouette into the night sky, a l a the bat signal, letting me know that there is pie waiting at her house.  

I still get the pie treatment but I haven't been the rhubarb supplier for a couple of years. I am working on it though! I planted a  baby rhubarb this spring - hopefully it will will produce a good crop next year.  Then we'll be back on track with the supply of rhubarb (and demand for pie.)

I love that Cindy knows that I will eat a minimum of 2 slices of pie during my visit.  I love that Cindy gives me Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar. 

 I love Cindy's style. One of Cindy's many talents is that  she has a great eye for decorating interiors.  Here is the tile mural behind her stovetop . She painted that scene in oils on blank tiles! See how amazing she is!?

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 mmmm, and the pie! As Cindy says, "ker-YUM!"

and here is one of her cool collections- vintage ceramic heads! 

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 Next time I go over there  I will take more pics of her home and collections  to inspire me and you!

Cindy isn't just a great cook and talented decorator, she is also an awesome friend who cracks me up and likes to parle francais mauvais avec moi.

Now I am off to call Cindy and see if there is pie in my future.