Monday, September 29, 2008


that's the sound of two people who, having had a marvellous time lazing about in the mountains, are now home and headed back to work. onna monday. :)

but enough about THAT...let's talk about the marvellous time...and the mountains! the leaves were just starting to turn!* each day we saw a little more color, in places it had not been the day before!

and contrary to our expectations (based on the weather forecasts) it DID NOT rain the entire time. it rained some...and it was overcast some...but every day at least had some *pockets* of sunshine in which one could go out and walk about a bit!

of course the main point was to hang out with our friends...which is ALWAYS a blast and guaranteed to provide fabulous & abundant conversation on a wide range of topics...not to mention the absolutely astonishing food which results when you have two amazing (& very slightly the nicest possible way) cooks under the same roof!**

we did a little bit of running about...we took the lake champlain ferry to the shellburne museum in vermont for the mary cassatt show; and we checked out (some of) the vast and utterly enthralling exhibits*** at the adirondack museum at blue mountain lake.

but mostly...we read...and talked...and ate...and played with the cats...and talked some more...and ate some more...and got totally hooked on dvds of hbo's magnificent cop series the wire...and just generally recharged our batteries.

and i am pleased to report that in this last vital mission we were entirely successful! many thanks to our mountain, tree, feline, and human hosts for a wonderful, WONDERFUL time!

*i don't have a zillion photos of foliage en masse, since it seems to me that like sunsets and pics of the ocean, they never really look as good as in real life. you kinda have to be there. (or maybe you just have to be a better photographer than I AM...yeah...come to think of it...that could be it!)

**neither of these being me, obviously! jeff and our friend lelia each DAZZLED separately with their interpretations of bourbon beef tenderloin with wild mushroom ragout and tuna steaks atop a spicy black bean puree, respectively; then teamed up to produce breakfasts & picnic lunches worthy of ANY b&b which has ever existed! (meanwhile paul and i dazzled both separately and together with our own stunning interpretations of dish-washing and food-putting-away!)

***it's a BIG place, and they pack a LOT in...i am not sure one *could* see everything in one visit! we were fortunate enough to also get a teeny peek behind the scenes...where it turns out there is EVEN MORE stuff! apparently, just amongst their permanent collection they are constantly rotating and changing exhibits so that even if one were to visit every single year, it would be a different experience each time! cool, no?!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

we're off...

to the mountains
(specifically, the adirondacks)
for a few days

where we will have cellphone...
it will be heavenly
it will be *quiet* for sure!
(which at the moment sounds entirely heavenly to me!)

i realize that i pretty much owe everyone on earth an email.
and don't even get me started on how verrrrrrrrry embarrassingly lame i have been with regard to NOT having enough time for visiting or commenting on other people's blogs in the last several weeks!


but when i return next week, i will be a reformed character.
no, really!
(HEY! why are you *laughing*?!)
(well then, i will definitely TRY HARDER, ok?!)

have a wonderful, fun, relaxing, beautiful, exciting, inspiring, amazing week!

(...and keep the interwebs warm for me...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

wouldja believe...

...that this little widget...
(aka nephew matthew) a year old already?!!?

yeah, me neither!
(did that year FLY BY or what?!?!)
but i assure you, he is!
and i have the present to prove it!

not to mention pictures from his party on sunday:

he enjoyed his presents...

and he DEFINITELY enjoyed his cake!

here he is, taking a victory lap

(with a little help from his mama!)

i don't think he minded being the center of attention amongst all his cousins, either!

here is my favorite picture of the birthday dude, taken towards the end of the party. he was climbing the pile of discarded boxes in an attempt to access a (forbidden) cupboard door located directly behind them. i love the look, which proves one doesn't need *speech* in order to communicate perfectly clearly!
"yeah...i know i'm busted...but you can't REALLY be mad at me...'cause i'm JUST TOO DARN CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

(he's right, you know!)

happy birthday, little man!

Monday, September 22, 2008

nevermind the mollusks

but here's a crustacean for you:
OOF, sorry! wrong photo... (tho admittedly the subject of that pic is known for crabbiness, so it's a common mistake! also, in this case, she is rather *cold*; it was chilly, folks--not to mention windy! yikes!) ...but, here's an actual CRAB:

cute, isn't he? (or she? if so, i do apologize madam!)

we have just had a lovely (if brief) excursion to the seaside, or as we say, here in new jersey, "down the shore"! (whether the beach one is assaying lies north, south, or in this case, due east, the expression holds!)

despite the brevity of our stay (overnight with a bit of extra daylight on friday & saturday) we managed to complete the entire bergoldian beach visit checklist, which consists of:
1. posing for silly ocean-n-me photos (see above)
2. forcing helpless beach wildlife to pose for photos (and again...times two)
3. playing miniature golf (see below)

4. gloating insanely about playing miniature golf at a PIRATE THEMED miniature golf course on INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!!! (see below) (note: this is a new entry for the 2008 checklist, but i am hoping it also makes it in subsequent years!) (arrrrrr!)

6. riding bikes on the boardwalk

7. eating fried clams (lauren only)
8. sunbathing (jeff only) (did i mention it was *cold*?! and quite windy?!?!? it was sunny, though, and my husband is a determined man: when he is set on subathing, by golly HE SHALL SUNBATHE!!!)
9. taking random artsy photos and then photoshopping the heck out of them on the ride home

all in all, not a bad way to celebrate 23 years of wedded bliss, eh?!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

prepare to die(cut)

i know, i know, that is the WORST, the most far-fetched, and the most diabolical of all my bad, far-fetched and diabolical pun-based blog post titles, EVER. i feel a certain amount of pride about that, actually.*

ok, so being as it's the 20th of the month, you will know it is a CAARDVARKS challenge day...and being as said title fairly well belabors the theme, you'll have guessed that this time we are making cards which include......wait for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit......ok, fine: DIECUTS!!!!!

i made two cards for this challenge, and i will tell you frankly that it is because i don't really like the first one. i very nearly didn't even POST it. but then i thought to myself, "you know what, sometimes we are all just a little too hard on ourselves!" and i reconsidered. ok, it's not the best card ever, but there is nothing really wrong with it...the diecuts are adorable... (i love the rulers, especially) ...and the general sewing theme is fact, i like ALL the ingredients, but somehow i just feel it didn't quite gel together as a whole. ah well. it's still a HANDMADE CARD for pete's sake!

(patterned paper: basic grey, mustard moon; diecuts & pearls: k&co; flowers: prima; eyelets: making memories; rub-on stitches: oriental trading co; other: buttons, colorbox inks, foam tape)

and now the second card i made, which i really DO love...although, i must confess, it has fewer...and less noticeable...diecuts. but it HAS some, so it counts!

(patterned paper: basic grey; rub-ons & chipboard frame (used as a template): fancy pants; cardstock diecuts, faux stitches & gems: k&co; flowers: prima; inks: colorbox; other: foam tape, white cardstock from staples)

you may have noticed that my last few cards have been 6x6" squares...a rather odd shape and size for me. plus, i will tell you confidentially, my *NEXT FEW* cards are also 6x6" squares. i blame basic grey for this. having recently re-discovered my 6x6 sultry and blush paper pads i have been WORKIN' those babies like there is no tomorrow! what can i say? "pointless addiction" is my middle name! :)

*other possibilities i considered for this honor: "THIS'LL BE THE DAY THAT I DIE(CUT)" and "CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO DIE(CUT)" and of course, "LIVE AND LET DIE(CUT)" which very nearly won!

Friday, September 19, 2008

ahoy be the BIG DAY!

by which i mean international talk like a pirate day obviously, me hearties!!! arrrrrrrrrr!!!!! and bein' such a glorious holiday, o'course i be commemmoratin' it in me ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRT journal:

text reads, "skull & crossbones...3 pieces of 8; parrots...12 doubloons; treasure map...lives of 1/2 the crew; being ready for international talk like a pirate day...PRICELESS!!! (arrrrr!)"

YAR!!!! so obviously the first thing to do whilst embarking upon our new pirately lives is to be a-drinkin' a bottle o'rum and a-hoistenin' up the mainsails!!! (unless we be drivin' obviously. or be havin' to go to work; just because we be pirates doesn't mean we be completely irresponsible !) (arrrr!)

after that, me scallywags, we should probably be a-takin' the official pirate personality assessment test to determine what sort...and more importantly what rank...of pirates we be, mateys! here be my results:

You are The Cap'n!
PROFILE: Some men and women are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any scalawag who stands between them and unlimited power. You never met a man - or woman - you couldn't eviscerate. You are the definitive Man of Action, the CEO of the Seven Seas, Lee Iacocca in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. You're mission-oriented, and if anyone gets in the way, that's his problem, now isn't? Your buckle was swashed long ago and you have never been so sure of anything as your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off his head if he shows any sign of taking you on or backing down. If one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed - a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.
What's Yer Inner Pirate? brought to you by

next, me old salts, we must be a-gettin' our us official pirate names!!! mine be:

~The Iron Fist~

and a mighty fine name it is too, named after me mother, i were! yarrrrrrrr!

if any of ye scurvy dawgs be a-wonderin' "WHY we are doing this?!" welllllllllll i oughttaaaaaa make ye walk the plank!!! (but there be an excellent explanation here!) (arrr!)
and finally those of us who be a-havin' humorous pirate-based personal photos and/or anecdotes should be a-sharin' of them now:

yo ho ho--this be pirate riley!

and avast, landlubbers! here be pirate lindsay!

the photos above were taken in the summer of 2006* on a day in which the nieces in question were kind enough to take me out for happy meals. the particular happy meals we obtained accompanied one of the "pirates of the caribbean" films, which of course neither of these young ladies had seen, but they loved "the wiggles" (who have a pirate character) and they have older boy cousins, and thus had a general idea of the concept. so we donned our kerchiefs and enthusiastically said things like, "YAAAAAR!" and "YO HO HO!" and called each other landlubbers and generally exhibited as much hearty pirate mise-en-scene as very small girls & a middle-aged aunt can muster; then we commenced to eating our lunch and resumed normality. or so i thought. until about ten minutes later, when miss lindsay, unprompted, and still using the gravelly-est pirate voice you can imagine a not-quite-3-year-old assaying, asked her mother to,

"please pass the ketchup......'cause i'm a PIRATE!"

because a life of plunder and pillaging upon the high seas is no excuse for bad manners!


*i only know this b/c... flying in the face of a lifetime of "winging it" ...i am smart enough to DATE every single file & cd & envelope of photos. if you had asked me about the pics above, i'd have said, vaguely (& incorrectly) that they were from last year sometime...possibly spring?? THINK you're gonna remember who did what, when, and where. you're wrong. label EVERYTHING! oh yeah...and when your friends have kids, and you write their birthdays on the calendar? write THE YEAR on there. and carry it forward to each successive year. b/c if you don't, i guarantee at some point you will write "happy fifth birthday" on the (infinitely more grown up, obviously) 6 year old's card, or ask an 8 year old how he is enjoying first grade. whereupon you will be met with the stare of polite but silent loathing from said child, whose pride you have mortally wounded for all time. it may not be mentioned again...but it'll never EVER be forgotten. trust me. TRUST ME. here endeth the first lesson. (oh yeah...and ummm...arrrrr!) :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

YIKES! i forgot to post this project!

and it's a shame, since it's kind of a good one!

see, what happened was: i made something FOR someone, and held off posting till they recieved it...and then...they got it, but there were some date-based things i had to post first...and then...ok this is embarrassing: by then i had forgotten that i hadn't done it!

on the plus side, i wasn't sure WHAT i was gonna do today until i suddenly remembered. so i guess...ummmm...WOOHOO for short-term memory loss (when it very occasionally works in your favor) !!!

ok, so the item in question: it's a "three beautiful things" journal i made for someone who, when i was talking about my year of 3BTing said that they were EVEN LESS JOURNALLY than me... (an appreciable feat!) ...BUT...liked the little books i made, and jokingly opined that they thought they WOULD be inspired to 3BT if they had one of those!

which of course is exactly the combination of flattery and challenge that's virtually guaranteed to spur me into action! (eventually.) (it took me a few weeks to actually get around to MAKING said book, of course!) i asked for a few hints as to colors and themes...and then perused some of this person's own stunning artwork, and came up with THIS:

(patterned paper: sassafrass, plus vintage dictionary page; rub-on owl: hambly; grungeboard swirl (painted & diamond glazed): tim holtz; clear stickers: heidi swapp; flowers & leaves: prima; sequins: doodlebug; pearls & gems: kaiser; brass snap: we r memory keepers; other: vintage lace, colorbox inks, acrylic paints, bookring from staples, foam tape)

now if you're seeing brown, and olive, and burnt orange, and an owl and thinking, "oh my gosh! that looks SO familiar!" then i suspect you've already guessed that the recipient of said volume was none other than my lovely friend and fellow CAARDVARK miss tanis! (the only thing i could not manage to work onto the cover was a TREE...but there's one on the title page!)

as with all of my little books, i used scraps and bulk cardstock to make most of the pages and they are of various colors (with maybe an occasional pattern thrown in), but just blank. but in this case, i could not resist adding in a FUN page or two; pages from various old books trimmed to size, and so forth, just to change things up and maybe make a starting point for altering or journaling or adding on to. not that tanis needs MY HELP--nooooooo sirree bob!!!!! more like *I* could not resist sharing some of my vintage bits and bobs with her!

here's a page with a canadian theme, from a 1970's school book:

here's a page from an old betty crocker cookbook that's covered with cakes! (& before you ask, "hey lauren! what on earth is tanis s'posed to make out of a page covered with cakes?!" i will admit that i have NO IDEA...but hey!'s a page that's covered with cakes!!!!! at the very least, it oughtta make her *smile*, right?! it TOTALLY makes *me* smile! (ok, and makes me want some cake!) (sorry, tanis!)

here's one of my favorites, it's a page from a spanish workbook, that i trimmed to fit:

and i guess that's about all i have to say about this project, except that it was very, VERY fun to make and i hope you have enjoyed seeing it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I to the N to the ING (list)

"no thanks, i think i'll wait for the CHOCOLATE biscuit boat!"*

i thought it might be nice to share a few things i am enjoying right now!

game over by cynthia harrod-eagles. this is the 6th or 7th (i think) of the clever bill slider police prodceurals, but unlike some series that get a bit stale after a while, i still love the characters and am completely drawn in by the tight plotting and humor; plus i am 50 pages from the end and have NO IDEA whodunnit--gotta love that, right?!

the colour of blood by declan hughes, a hard-boiled irish detective story centered on homemade porn, a kidnapping, (maybe) a present-day murder, (definitely) and a crime from the past which may or may not be more complicated than it seems. some mornings, i kind of almost wish my drive to work was a bit longer! (almost!)

young@heart, one of the quirkiest, most charming documentaries i've seen in quite some time, this tale of a rockin' senior chorus is totally absorbing and the music is utterly unique!

that the closer and burn notice are in the final week of their season. (though of course it's such a new & wonderful phenomenon to even HAVE fresh summer telly that i feel a bit bad whining about it!)

ali edwards' life artist. i liked her first two books, and no disrespect to the talented artists who contributed to them, but this one is ALL ali: her words, her art, her philosophy, her voice. there are great ideas (& great advice!) on every page; i had to give up my usual procedure of marking my favorite pages with postie notes...i was causing a paper shortage!

some projects for a special design team gallery for CAARDVARKS' next challenge, which starts saturday, september 20th! (can't wait to show you what i've made!)

my best "shiver me timbers" and "yo ho ho" and "avast, landlubbers!" in order to better enjoy international talk like a pirate day on friday! (i have missed it two years in a row.) (never again.) (arrrrrgh!)

my lucky stars that i pretty much wake up at the same time in the morning NO MATTER WHAT...because apparently...i forgot to turn on my alarm clock last night!!! (remind me of this when i whine about being up at 7am onna saturday, ok?!!)

*in case you are wondering what this photo has to do with the rest of the post the answer is an emphatic, "NOT A THING!" it's just that when i had finished typing, all those words looked a bit lonely without a pic...but i couldn't find anything that i loved AND that matched inna hurry (this last bit being the vital point) and i had just run an "i can has cheezburger" photo i went with the biscuit boat. plus, let's face it, you don't get all that many opportunities to USE a biscuit boat picture in the ordinary course of papercrafts bloggin'...anyway...if you were lookin' for SENSIBLE you'd hardly keep showing up *HERE* now, would you??! :)

Monday, September 15, 2008


...esspeshully MONDAI morning!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


...all our troubles DID seem quite far away, actually! we spent a delightful day with lovely husband jeff's parents, celebrating his mom's birthday.

LHJ & mama pose with an unidentified woman who is glad that her roots are being done on wednesday, and wonders if those tooth-whitening-strip-thingies really work?

we tried out mom's new digital camera*, we had a wonderful lunch at iron hill brewery, we drove out to a local dairy farm for ice cream**, we had a tour of the majestic parental gardens, we watched a teeny, tiny, exceedingly handsome ruby-throated hummingbird fly about snacking on flower nectar and insects!!!

this is not OUR hummingbird, since we foolishly did not think to grab EITHER of the two excellent digicams sitting within arm's reach during said hijinks; this is a stuntbird, borrowed from birds-n-blooms' website for illustrative purposes

we caught up on all the family news, and we came home with a lifetime supply of freshly-picked acorn squashes the size of fireplace logs! in fact the only thing non-delightful about the entire day was the drive*** which got me to wondering, yet again:

it's ~2008~ already

where the heck is my

FLYIN' CAR???!?!

to that end, i am starting a petition that those lovely swiss boys stop messing about with their blackholes and get to work on something practical! by which, of course i mean a star-trek-style transportational device allowing us to *beam* back and forth to the in-laws' in safety and comfort without traversing I-95 in such an ungainly**** manner. c'mon lads! there's a lovely trophy in it for you!!!

*LHJ's dad is hilarious when it comes to technology: he occasionally asks us for advice/help in learning a new program or system or, in this case, how to upload pics from a digital camera. we oblige, and 10 minutes into the procedure it becomes apparent that not only does he understand the entire procedure perfectly well, he is actually *FAR* more expert than jeff & i put together! when taxed with such a suspicion he will say, with a smile, "well, i just wanted to make sure i was on the right track!" :)

**afterwards, we got to meet the cows--now THAT is fresh ice cream!!!

***two hours + each way; which is a bit long for those of us with back issues.

****and in my case downright WHINEY! (sorry, honey!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

missus trashy... now OFFICIALLY my very best friend!!!

(if you wanna know why, read the comments of the post below.)
(yeah. she's GOOOOOOOOOOOD, isn't she?!)

o'course i'll be sendin' a lad 'round to the trash can with yer trophy, missus t...

...but in the meantime, be sure to take a couple 'o muffins out of petty cash!!!


Friday, September 12, 2008

operation 36: COLLECTIONS

ok, so last week's paper adventure prompt from elise was, and i quote,

"What do you collect?"

which gave me a few choices. i have quite a few art supplies, as well you know, and loads of books...but i don't really consider those collections...more like necessities. (hey--some of us are needier than others, ok?!) :) i *do* collect some other types of vintage-paper-based goodness, such as travel booklets, and funeral home fans... (here is an explanation of that one, in a blogpost from last summer!) ...but by far my biggest, longest-lasting and most passionate collection is postcards. i have A LOT of postcards. i don't know how many, and since i'm slightly afraid to count, why don't you g'head and choose a random that seems like waaaaay too many postcards for one person to own....and then double it...which i suspect will get you distressingly close!

but instead of discussing *quantity*, for this page i decided to go back to the beginning of my collection, and document the very first card i bought for myself, aged about eight, on a family vacation. it was love at first sight...and still is!

(reduced scan of my very first postcard, printed on kodak premium photo paper; cardstock: paper co; patterned paper & cardstock arrow: basic grey; rub ons: ki & american crafts; rubber stamps: k&co; ink: colorbox)

text reads, "the very first item in my postcard collection, bought with 10 cents of allowance money, in the poconos, circa 1972; start of a lifelong obsession with paper & & text...this is...CARD ZERO!"

ps: you may notice our little friend the paper pieced deer making a second appearance in as many posts--i actually had this entire PA page planned (but not assembled) and the journaling written down when i found the pattern and made the card below...but then i thought, "well hey! there's a coincidence!" and decided to bring him back for a triumphant encore!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"i LOVE this card!" she said, modestly

it all started when i saw these nature scene paper piecings in scrapbooks etc, magazine (the link takes you to an online version of the article, complete with patterns! ta v much, SBE!!!) i was particularly enchanted by the sweet fawn. i've been seeing some really adorable deer-themed products on layouts recently... (like these cute stamps!) ...and wondering whether i would really *USE* such things should they ever happen to be in stock whilst i was shopping...and then suddenly there was a print-n-cut baby deer pattern right in my hand, practically AUDITIONING to be on my mom's birthday card! what could a girl do except put on her best william powell-broadway-empresario voice and say, "hey kid--i'm gonna make you a star!"

(patterned paper basic grey, prima; tree & deer piecing patterns scrapbooks etc; flowers: prima; diecut felt: queen&co; gems: mambi; pearls: kaiser kraft; fancy pants chipboard frame used as a template; mcgill butterfly punch; other: foam tape, diamond glaze, colorbox inks)

some might feel i've gone a little bit overboard on pattern-mixing here, even for me! i said above, this is a birthday card for my mother, who is an avid seamstress and quilter. she and i have often discussed the fact that although we work in completely different media... (i cannot sew and have no desire to learn; she can't believe anyone would settle for dull old *paper* when fabric is so much more tactile!) ...we often approach things in similar way. so i'm pretty confident that if my mom was choosing FABRIC to quilt a little deer, a tree, and some butterflies in a woodland scene, she would choose a soft and subtle tan print, a more dramatic brown trunk, a leafy-theme for foliage, and some mid-sized pink-n-green goodness, rather than plain/unpatterned tan, brown, green and pink. because i think we both genuinely *prefer* the patterned version...and also...there's a fairly good chance that neither of us OWN enough solid colors to do a whole scene! there you have it folks--genetics in action!

oh yeah, and in the interests of full disclosure, i feel i should admit that the greeting inside the card DOES in fact read, "happy birthday, mother dear!" (aw, c' HAD to be done!!!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the doodle formula

one of my favorite scrapbloggers, adrienne looman, published a book earlier this year and i have been looking for it off and on since spring! i've searched online, i've tried scrapbooking/crafty type stores, i've been to borders a few times...all to no avail. and then, the other day, i was standing in line at michaels* and there it was, starin' at me from right across the aisle, the doodle formula!!!

i was expecting it to be mostly photos of adrienne's lusciously color-saturated, whimsically doodle-embellished layouts, with a few tips and techniques scattered throughout; but there is actually quite a bit of text in the course of these 31 pages, including lots of step-by-step intructions backed up with concrete examples, and of course loads of fab hand-drawn illustrations! however, i suspect this is one of those books that you need to hold in your hands and look through before buying, because i think it's a book you'll either used constantly or not at all, and that just totally depends on whether it speaks to you or not.

i definitely got TONS of inspiration from it (as i absolutely ALWAYS do from adrienne's work!) and even picked up some great practical pointers. oh yeah, and already i made this page in my art journal using ideas from the book, combined with my own love of vintagey bits, scraps, loads of rub-ons!

(ek success circle punches in several sizes; 7 gypsies dotted circle stamp; prima paper bird; page from a vintage book; patterned paper scraps: basic grey, paper co, making memories, scenic route, plus bits from catalogs, maps & photos, rub-ons: scenic route, making memories, creative imaginations; zigwriter pen, colorbox ink)

*because one always stands in line at michaels'...for AT LEAST five minutes...even if there is no one else in the entire store! and it's not just my local michaels', either, it's every branch i have ever been to. *WHY* is that?! does anybody know??!? if you happen to be a michaels' representative, and you are reading this, please take note: those three aproned dynamos who are always busy sorting the foam shapes with such vigor in aisle 17 would be better employed AT THE CASH REGISTER, ok?!! thank you! ahem. sorry, i had a bit of a rant there. i hope i didn't embarrass you, michaels' representative. other than that you are doing a very nice job, honestly!

Monday, September 8, 2008

this is why i'm never gonna be a size 8 again!

i saw this last week on the divinely ingenious miss steph's blog, and i was fascinated--what a neat idea! and the site from which it comes, very good taste is also quite cool. they call this list the omnivore's hundred, and it comprises their own (admittedly subjective) idea of what anyone who'd like to think of themselves as truly well-rounded eater has tried, at least once. and now i will turn it over to the VGT folks' instructions, in case you'd like to play along with this fun survey!

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (lauren's note: i dunno how to cross i've italicized instead!) (ps: VGT has linked the more obscure items to wikipedia in case we'd like to read about them. ta v much, VGT!)

4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results. (PS. The list has generated a lot of questions, so I’ve created an FAQ for it over here!)

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile (however, i've had alligator, in new orleans!)

6. Black pudding

7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (DUDE!!!)

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters

29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi (i've had LOTS of mango ones, though!)

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar (yuck. on both counts.)

37. Clotted cream tea

38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O

39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects (why?! no, seriously. WHY would you eat this?!)

43. Phaal (see #26)

44. Goat’s milk

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu (bad idea. although, there is part of me, that kind of likes the *idea* of a fish we have killed to eat at least having a shot a killing us back. there's a weird sense of fairplay there, dontcha think?!)

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone

54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin

64. Currywurst (i must FIND THIS...curry...and wurst...together?! oooh!)

65. Durian

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (Q: do ya get bonus points for "all of the above"?! A: no, you get BONUS POUNDS!)

68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette

71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini (at the russian tea room, thank you very much!)

73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill (if *I* killed it...and i was starving...and i had just seen the animal in question *BATHING*...and my tires were BRAND NEW...ok, nope....i still wouldn't eat it...sorry)

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare

87. Goulash

88. Flowers

89. Horse (not knowingly; however, i suspect we have ALL done, unbenownst!)

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

ok, so i'm sorta chubby...but also, vaguely proud: i've tried 61 of the 100, which i think is pretty decent. and there are only 7 that i would absolutely REFUSE TO TRY, ever. if you decide to play, send me a link...i love to nosey other peoples' surveys, as well you know!

in the meantime, anybody wanna go grab some currywurst with me??!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

collage fodder: what i save, and how i save it

you can blame miss stephanie for this! but ya know, it is not easy to think up something to write about every single day, and recently she asked me how i go about choosing what images i save for cards and art journaling, which magazines i like best for this, and what i do with said pics until they get used. as i started considering HOW i would answer her...or even if i *could* occurred to me that i would need some images to illustrate my point...and as far as i'm concerned when one has generated a bunch of text, and then chosen photos to go with it: by golly, that's a BLOG POST! :)

ok so, what do i save? this is totally subjective and varies from day to day, but i would say it all pretty much comes down to two categories: that which i absolutely LOVE...or...that for which i can immediately see a use.

all of the pics above just happened to be in my stash when i wanted to make a color-spectrum page for paper adventure. now saving the statue of liberty makes perfect sense, and the seahorses are very graphic and appealing, but *WHY* did i save a gigantic picture of corn-on-the-cob?? i have no idea. apparently, on that day, i thought it was cool. (or i was hungry!) on the other hand, IT GOT USED!

oscar mietelski and the cogs-n-gears (which, oddly enough, were from a skin-care ad!) were "impulse saves" from two different times that eventually wound up being used together; the cupcakes and the babies were things i knew instinctively would be good in a birthday context.

basically anything that makes me stop and say, "WOW!" i at least consider tearing it out. it's like buying supplies: every once in a while you see a product that seems utterly impractical, but you just fall under its spell. think about it--the times you've given in to that temptation, you've generally found a way to use the item, right? same thing here: if you love it, you'll either work it in somehow, or be inspired by the colors or pattern or...something...

for the card above and the one below, i came up with the plan for the card when i saw the illustration, and saved them on purpose; i stuck a postie note with the concept and a little sketch right on the page, so that i would remember my brilliant idea! (clippings that already have an idea attached go at the very front of my file, since they tend to be quicker cards to make.) the clownfish were from national geographic; the brain was on the cover of time magazine.

things i tend to "look out for" include: cakes, kids in party hats (for birthday cards); beautiful floral images (for all-occasion cards); bollywood or parisian or new york related stuff (for the place-themed collages i love to make). your list will be different, obviously. if you have a dad who is nuts about golf, or a mom who loves penguins, you might like to save a few golfers and flightless waterfowl, and see if you can think of ways to use them!

what magazines are good for this? potentially *ALL* of 'em !!! ok, that's not very helpful is it? lemme essplain: it's kind of a process i've developed over time. i never go buy magazines to cut up. however, i refuse to save & store the ones to which we subscribe. (the exception being my craft ones & jeff's cooking ones; if we'll use them again, they get to stay.) the rest, after we've read & enjoyed them, get thrown away. ...but... before i toss out 100 pages of glossy illustrated goodness, i have a little flick through, and anything that catches my eye i rip out. the rest gets tossed. (this is a great "dead-time" job--i'll often grab a couple on the way out of the house when jeff is driving.) national geographic has AMAZING photography & is printed on really nice thick paper...the AAA freebie we get every month often has great travel-based or car mags pay art directors a fortune to generate arresting images...the companies that sell plants and seeds produce catalogs that contain nothing but page after page of glorious flower close-ups...and this lovely lady was on the cover of a fancy clothing catalog:

once you start looking, i think you'll see that there is good stuff all around, and lots of it is free for the taking! my mom almost always has a pile she's throwing away; garage sales are FULL of 50-cents-a-stack periodicals; the local library has a "free" area to swap paperbacks and donate magazines; our chiropractor is innundated on a monthly basis with AT LEAST 2 dozen titles and is usually quite pleased when i offer to take one off his hands!

how do you organize what you've clipped? i use 2-pocket school-style folders, divided into general categories from which i tend to save: travel, flowers, animals, food, and a one called "miscellaneous" that's bigger than all the rest (cause that's the kinda gal i am) !!! there's no need to get fancy, but as with most organizing, i suggest sorting "like with like" in a general way that makes sense to you, so that you can find something specific without having to sort through your entire collection!

i hardly ever cut things to size when i save them, i just roughly trim about an inch around the bits i want. (for one thing, the edges can tend to get a bit wrinkly from handling; for another i don't know if i'll want to trim it exactly, or leave an outline, or mount it first on sturdier paper so it can be "popped up" on foam tape!) another thing to consider when choosing what--and how much--to save, is: generally speaking, what do you intend to make with your goodies? because if you're planning to do inchies, it's not much use cutting out loads of giant two-page landscapes! on the other hand, an 8 by 10 framed collage is going to need at least one decent-sized focal point image. for cards, you have leeway, but if you always make A-2's you'll want to bear in mind how much you can actually fit in that space! (the mortice masks shown above are *ideal* for when you are planning to work at a specific size; you can immediately see how much of your image is going to fit!)
to give you an idea of scale, below is a 12 x 12" collage, with no background. there are 15 different images cut from various sources including (off the top of my head): jewelry and home decor catalogs, a cooking magazine, the metropolitan museum's quarterly bulletin, a couple of old calendars and national geographic!

every so often, i grab a folder that's getting a bit thick and weed stuff out; again i am using my two original (very loose) standards, which i've only just realized are a paraphrase of william morris' famous dictum: "keep nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" apply that to your stash, too, and i don't think you can go very far wrong!

if anyone has a tip to share on this subject, or questions about anything i haven't covered, please feel free to leave them in the comments; if you've made something great using stuff cut from magazines, be sure to drop a link so we can come and admire it!

Friday, September 5, 2008

workin' for a living

(cue cheesey huey lewis segue!)

(ok...thanks, huey...see ya in another 20 years, ok?)

so i bet you're wondering what the connection is between huey lewis and the new CAARDVARKS challenge, aren't ya?! well, technically speaking, there isn't one. just an overlapping of titles, between said 80's band single and our latest assignment: WORKING FOR A LIVING. yep, in honor of the american labor day weekend just past, you can choose between making a card which relates to an occupation...OR...making a card which incorporates office supplies. there is a rather nice surprise prize from scrapbook express for the winner. (it's actually a $25 gift certificate...some secrets are just too cool to keep, ok?!) and the design team have, as always, worked for their living by creating some rather nice examples to inspire you!

wanna see my card?
(might as well g'head & say yes...b/c you know i'm gonna show you anyway!)

i went with the "office supplies" option, and managed to incorporate quite a few items into my design, including: notebook and ledger paper, a vintage timecard, staples, masking tape, and a really funky old "union dues" card that i found in a box of postcards i bought at a garage sale! (it's the green bit i've used for the leaves.)

(hambly tranparency; creative imaginations lace cardstock; notebook and ledger paper; vintage timecard & union card; autumn leaves & technique tuesday ruberstamps; mambi & jewelcraft gems; michaels epoxy stickers; making memories brads; prima tiny florals; other: zigwriter pen, colorbox inks, staples, masking tape, foam tape)

and now it's your turn! get to work on your own fantabulous creation, and post it to CAARDVARKS by midnight, september 18th for a chance at the goodies!