Tuesday, October 30, 2007

i've got baggage

(no, seriously, you have no idea!)
...but also...i made this over the weekend for my friend paul's birthday:

(dcwv paper; making memories fabric letters; autumn leaves rub-ons; ki epoxy sticker; heidi swapp photo corners; earth pic & geological map of the pacific rim--used as giftwrap--are from a very old, very large, world atlas)

sadly, something i did not end up making over the weekend was an entry for the bloglandia halloween event. as sunday afternoon progressed, and i was still far, far away from having my idea come together, i realized i had to choose between using every non-work waking second of monday and tuesday to work like a crazy person...or to pull the plug and be bummed out today. ordinarily, for me, this would be a "no-brainer", so much so that i would not have even stopped long enough to formulate the question! ...but i think that "maturity thing"... (or at least that "old & tired thing", lol) ...might be kickin' in, because for the first time *EVER* i chose sanity over achievement. and yeah, waking up today, i'm sad not to have participated, but i can still go and visit all the lovely art...and there will be (i hope & trust) more opportunities to join in!

Monday, October 29, 2007


my simply elegant friend june (hey! that would be a good name for a blog!) has tagged me with one i haven't seen before...and it has some really *interesting* questions:

1. If you could have 100.00 worth of scrapbook paper or assorted embellishments, which would you choose?
embellishments, for sure, with an emphasis on basic grey rubs; fancy pants chip; love, elsie...well...everything, i guess; (lol) prima flowers...ooh...& the new marah johnson ci stuff, which is to die for!

2. If you had to choose between using only stamps or rub-ons, which would you choose?
rub-ons. i have a serious addiction. (a serious addiction!)

3. If you knew how to do both awesome cards and layouts but could only do one for a whole year...which would you do?
easy--cards--my hands down favorite! they're low-commitment, you can make lots, people like getting 'em, & you can incorporate any interest, technique or product.

4. Would you rather own a scrapbooking store or have your own scrapping room at home...(can't have both hehehe)...
ooh! a store!!! i'd be doing a lot of the same stuff i do *now* at work...and I'D be getting the money! plus i'd meet tons of crafty people, and make stuff every day, and i could write off the price of xyron cartridges on my income tax! ...niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice... :)

5. What is your CURRENT cardmaking or scrapping style?
it's the paper equivalent of multiple personality disorder! i tend to think i'm more graphic-design-ish than artistic, actually, so really i try NOT to have any one particular style; i'd rather make things which reflect the recipients' interests and their likes/dislikes. having said that, i s'pose the "default" lauren project is collage-based, incorporates some vintage items, has lots of layers, and at least a little bit of sparkly *something*!

ok darlings, as you know, i have a three-pronged policy on tagging:

  1. if you're reading this and you'd LIKE to be tagged, you're tagged
  2. if you're reading this and you would NOT like to be tagged, you're excused...BUT...
  3. if you're NOT reading this, you're totally disqualified from play!!!

(i'm sorry, but i'm going to have to be absolutely firm on point three!) :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007


'member this?

it's the little art journally book thingie i made in july, inspired by clare grant's fantastic blog three beautiful things

well, i am rather proud to say that, unlike the other 9,000,047 times i have started journals or diaries, this time i have kept doing it for more than two weeks! in fact, me & the little 3BT book have just celebrated our three month anniversary! since said volume has gotten rather lumpy in that time (sadly, the book is not the only one of us who is fatter since july...but i digress...) instead of just replacing its ring yet again, i have elected to retire this baby and start a second volume!

since i have been really enjoying the "art journal" aspect of it, this time i have made a slightly bigger book. this one is 4" x 6". (volume one--which began life as a 7 gypsies swatch book--was 2 1/2" x 7") i used super-thick chipboard for the covers and scraps of basic grey & all my memories papers, a chipboard dragonfly (with a stamped one on top), basic grey & ki rub-ons, a stemma epoxy sticker, we-r-memorykeepers ribbon, and of course lots of lovely rhinestones! i was having so much fun that after i finished the back of the book went on to pre-decorate a few pages; the rest are blank and just cut from scraps of cardstock.

as to why this attempt at journal-keeping succeeded when all of my previous attempts did not, i'd have to say that having a specific and fairly narrow focus (in this case to merely think of three things i want to remember from each day) is--for me, at least--a very, very good idea! also, i have discovered that while i am capable of doing the 3BT part consistently, i am not equally "into" the art journalling every single day, and i've decided that's ok. some days i decorate a page, write my three, and i'm done. some days, i have more ideas so i keep decoratin'. some days i have NO ideas (or no time, or no energy) and i use one of the "pre-made" pages...or just write on a blank one and call it "good enough"!

my friend beshka said something a while ago that really stuck in my mind. she was beginning a new journal and feeling intimidated by the task, until she, and i quote "...gave myself permission to make something ugly..." and voila--the pressure was off, she started having fun, and her page reflected that. at the time, i didn't think too much about it, but a week or so later, when i was worrying over something i was about to start working on, her words came back to me, and WOW i have to say, i'm not sure why or how...but...that really works!!!

if you'd like to see another little project i cooked up recently, you could visit monkee maker's hilarious blog (what??! you don't read monkee maker? are you kidding me??! sheesh, you are missing a whoooooooole lotta fun, my friend!) anyway, today she has come out of her self-imposed blog exile (for the second time!) to write a really really nice post about some little cards i made for her. to answer a few potential questions in advance:

  1. it was gonna be *one* card...except there were too many fab pix for me to narrow it down
  2. i had more fun making those babies than it would be dignified to admit
  3. tastykakes are heavier (& thus more expensive to mail) than i would've imagined...but well worth it!
  4. i shoulda put some money on that "teatime" thing!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

glitter: a cautionary tale

what follows is a genuine conversation which took place between lovely husband jeff and myself. in this case, the names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent, but they have been shorted into initials, to speed up the typist:

LHJ: today at work, andy asked me if we had a party last night.
ME: really? how come?
LHJ: that's what i said! i told him, "no. why?"
ME: and what did he say?
LHJ: he said i had glitter on my face!
ME: (trying hard--but unsuccessfully--not to laugh) and did you?
LHJ: YES!!! it was everywhere!
ME: sorry honey. what did you say to andy?
LHJ: (clearly embarrassed) i told him my wife makes cards and stuff.
ME: i'm sorry, babe. i do try to be neat, you know.
LHJ: i know. it's just that it gets everywhere...and it doesn't always come off...and it's so small you don't always see it...until it's on your face!
ME: (thoughtfully) i'm not sure i was using glitter last night...
LHJ: it doesn't matter! it gets everywhere!
ME: sorry, honey.
LHJ: (sighing) ...it's ok...

...awwwwwwww...poor guy! it's true though, if there has ever been any glitter anywhere in your house, it doesn't matter how much you clean, or how well you wash, there will always be remnants, i guess. personally, i like that quality...but apparently it is not a universal feeling!

next week, in part two:
glitter: a cautionary tale
(and darlings, you don't want THAT stuck to your face...just ask mariah carey!) :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

it was a dark and stormy night!

ok, not really. well, yeah, i mean it was dark, obviously. and it did rain a bit. it's still raining, actually; and it's rather gloomy outside. it's kind of gloomy inside, as well, come to think of it. here in new jersey this morning, it's the sort of day where, ideally, one would climb back into bed post-haste with a 1940's mystery novel and an enormous mug of valrhona hot chocolate like they serve at the new leaf cafe near the cloisters ...mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

sorry, what was i saying?! ...oh right...

of course, if that's not an option, you could always take a tip from tracy and venture off to acquire your very own aristocratic title:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Imperial Majesty Lauren the Purple of Praze-an-Beeble
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

when you arrive, you're greeted with a fancy heraldic shield, and the page says, "Lady Fortune the Absurd of Greater Internetshire presents your opportunity to receive your very own eccentric British aristocratic title." ...well, it'd be rude not to accept, wouldn't it...? although in my case, of course, what with me already being QUEEN, it's not entirely necessary...but still...an honor is an honor! (i do hope the good folks of praze-an-beeble are the friendly sort, and enjoy papercrafting, since that will be our official past-time, obviously!!! i'm still working on the national anthem...just need a good rhyme for "t'internet" to finish off the chorus...)

ooh and on the same site you can get virtual fortune cookies, too! ones with proper mystical advice that can be applied to one's own unique lifestyle, such as this:

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Better start drinking now.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

good golly, is that uncanny or what??! it's like she's known me forever!!! that is infinitely more impressive than the so-called wisdom to be found within the cookies that came with our takeaway chinese last night! mine said, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step"; ok...true enough...but i think you'll find that's an aphorism, actually, and NOT A *FORTUNE*!!!!! lovely husband jeff's said, "only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change. are you either?" well, no, cookie, as it happens he's not either...but thanks for asking! (sheesh! dissed by a dessert! of all the noive!!!) still, seeing as these were the very tasty chocolate aphorism cookies from the healthy chinese place...i guess we can overlook the lameness of said pastry enclosures.

...this time... :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

what i did (...& did...& did...) over the weekend

i made adorable nephew matthew's birth announcements. lots of 'em. sixty, in fact. (can someone pleeeeeeease tell my sister and her husband they have too many friends?!! thank you.)

luckily, having done the mass-production thang a time or two (for the nieces' births; their mamas' baby- & wedding-showers; and various other occasions) i've learned a few tricks:

  1. source the envelopes first (...you only have to do the opposite ONCE...oy vey...)
  2. make as many cuts as possible straight ones (...which can be done on the paper trimmer...) and of course the most vital thing of all:
  3. marry the nicest man who ever lived... one who *doesn't* find it odd or upsetting that his living room periodically becomes an assembly line...on which he is assistant assembler #1 and vice president in charge of hole-punching & corner-rounding!

(he's not called lovely husband jeff for nuthin', folks!!!!) :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

caardvarks' challenge: *TO DIE FOR*

i don't mean that the prize...altho...come to think of it, that's rather fab, too! (it's a $20 gift certificate from for the love of scrap!) no, the challenge itself is called "to die for" because we're making cards with die-cuts on them!!!

plus we have a guest design team member this month: her name is sj dowsett, she made the cool new caardvarks' banner you've been seeing for the last week or so, her cards for this challenge are *AWESOME* and her blog is pretty darn cool, too!

ok, so my card:

(cardstock: bazzill; patterned paper: crafty secrets; glittery diecuts: amscan; chipboard sentiment: k&co; flowers: prima; gems: jewelcraft)

isn't it funny how things sometimes look completely different when you scan them ?! for example, irl the leaves on the diecut flowers are much more blue-green looking than they are here...and thus tie in with the center section of the frame diecut being pale blue. on here... (as you can see!) ...not so much... also, you cannot tell that the diecuts have pretty little accents of glitter that are kind of cool & sparkly. ah well, ya can't love 'em all!!!

this challenge runs until midnight, 11-2; also my scrapdragon halloween card challenge runs until midnight, 10-30; as does scrapdragon layout challenge #6! ooooooh and i only just saw this yesterday, but if i can possibly squeeze in the time to do it, i really want to participate in the bloglandia halloween party! (i had SO MUCH FUN at the bloglandia ball! (my "ballgown" is here and the "recap" is here) i'm tellin' ya, if you want to meet some fun people and see some *amazing* works of art...ya gotta join in! of course, you can still do the blog tour on halloween, even if you don't make anything...but it's sooooo cool to be "in on it"!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

it's good to be...

(oh yeah!)

you may remember that i recently won a glorious birthday crown from the lovely, gracious and uber-talented amanda, faerie queen of the carnivale in a contest on her fab blog, carnivale of fortune!

well, a box arrived last week, just as we were getting set to go to atlantic city, so i apologize that i am only posting about it now...but the crown is so very, very beautiful that i wanted to be sure to do it justice with lovely pics and a whole post all to itself!

imagine my delight in discovering that said crown--which i positively lusted for from the minute i saw it--is approximately 27,000 times COOLER in person than it even was in the photos!

imagine my surprise in discovering that the box contained not just the even-better-than-you-could-imagine crown, AND the little hidden wand accessory no queen should be without, but ALSO a little crown pin, AND a queen bee magnet, annnnnnnnnnnnd one of amanda's super-special, double-sided, totally glittery, uniquely wonderful, vintage faerie photo charms!!!!!!!
of course my pics don't come close to doing ANY of it justice, but truly these creations are breathtaking--and i cannot believe they are all mine! plus everything came beautifully packaged...with ribbons...and a pretty little fabric pouch; even amanda's business card (for her vintage faerie website) is fun & fabulous! but then i suspect that most everything to which the faerie carnivale queen turns her hand is gonna be as splendid & elegant as she! (well, it stands to reason, doesn't it?!)

apparently, i really *AM* royalty now...and i've certainly got the loot to prove it!

thank you, thank you, thank you, oh gracious queen!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

seaside snapshots

...the sign kinda says it all, really...

yes, we're back, and we had a lovely time! though come to think of it, i don't think i've ever been to the ocean and had a bad time...and i include in my calculations the occasion on which our honeymoon was cut short by the wrath of a little lady named gloria!

we did a LOT of walking (on the boardwalk & the beach), a lot of eating, a little sight-seeing, a little gambling (slots only, with a small but exciting net gain!), and a pleasantly abundant amount of sleeping (there are NO ALARM CLOCKS on vacation--woohoo!)

oh yeah, and we saw a hotel get blown up! (luckily on purpose...and luckily not our hotel!)

some things that stand out:

...but won't the burgers be stale...?
  • the funky old (original, surely?) mcdonald's in belmar (our halfway "pitstop")
  • the look i exchanged with an older man as he and i crossed paths walking ankle-deep in the (admittedly pretty chilly) ocean, as our spouses passed each other a sensible--but boring--further distance up the beach
  • the way teeny tiny clams burrow furiously into wet sand, propelled by a surprisingly effective combination of vacuum suction and mental telepathy
  • the funky human-pushed rolling chairs (kind of like big strollers...for grown-ups) which serve as "taxis" on the boardwalk
  • the diehard boardwalk busker whose idiosyncratic version of "the tennessee waltz" (in this case, more of a slow polka...or possibly a fast minuet!) proves it's possible to be so drunk that even your clarinet slurs; a fact of which i was heretofore unaware
boardwalk hall: former home of the miss america pageant

an elephant in front of the trump taj mahal
  • the unbelievably cool collection of paper ephemera and other memorabilia at the atlantic city historical museum on garden pier: postcards, photos, letters, magazines, advertisements, posters, booklets, programmes, sheet music, phonograph records, pins, badges, buttons, toys, souvenirs of all descriptions, costumes, uniforms, swimsuits, hotel china, miss america pageant artifacts...even bits of sand art sculptures that were preserved with a coating of cement!!! (plus i got a free heinz pickle pin just like the ones that were given away at the heinz pier for many years!)
  • the bold, splashy, multi-panel, bead-encrusted multimedia paintings of antonio puri at the atlantic city arts center
  • the weird, wild, wacky and yes...unbelievable...exhibits at ripley's believe it or not: p.t. barnum's famous "fiji mermaid" (actually the top half of a small monkey glued to the bottom half of a large fish), a two-headed lamb, a fur-bearing trout, shrunken heads, a vampire-killing kit, (the second we have seen this year!) sydney harbor bridge built entirely of toothpicks, jewelry & art objects made from gum & cigarette wrappers, cardboard boxes, human hair, animal hair, human bones, dryer lint, old newspapers, jelly beans, popsicle sticks, matches ...and a set of limited edition frisbees made from the ashes of frisbee pioneer "steady ed" headrick (the last, oddly enough, were weirdly touching!); plus a very cool collection of ripley's own artwork, photographs and souvenirs from his lifetime of exotic world-travels

first, the fireworks...

...then, "bye bye baby"!

  • standing on the beach at 9:30pm with 10,000 or so other people
  • the surprisingly quiet noise made by enough explosive charges to drop a 20-story building (the fireworks were actually louder than the demolition!)
  • the precision required to neatly bring down the entire hotel and have it land in a space not much bigger than it's original footprint
  • the realization that the sands hotel and the last rat pack member left this world on the same day

avec sands...

...sans sands (these 2 captions courtesty LHJ)

in this case, monkee = monee......niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!

  • the (sadly unintentional) hilarious song stylings of several performers in the "tango" bar at the tropicana...that put us in mind of (& made us long for!) bill murray's lounge singer character from snl...or carl spackler for that matter...
  • the tiny little menu-reading-flashlights carried by waitresses at the fabulous but very, very dimly lit cuba libre restaurant. fidel himself might've been at the next table for all we know...yeah...it was that dark! (*awesome* cuban food, tho!)
  • the amazing, breathtaking, impossibly athletic acrobatics of cirque shanghai...not to mention the guys in panda suits...riding unicycles...
  • the endlessly creative and occasionally mind-blowing names/themes of modern day slot machines! some good ones we saw: cops & donuts, milk money, fairy's fortune, frog prince, enchanted unicorn, lucky leprechaun, mermaid's gold, viking legend, fool's fortune, (is that one reverse psychology?) monopoly, trivial pursuit, yahtzee, hollywood squares, match game, (match game...seriously? is gene rayburn making a comeback?!) i dream of jeannie, green acres, reel 'em in: big bass bucks, tiki torch, asian princess (on which i won $10) ...and my two favorites...liberace: mr. showmanship ...and...wait for it... the jade monkey (on which i won $40--hooray for monkees!)
now that's a biiiiiiiiiiiig monkee...and the statue is a good size, as well!

Friday, October 19, 2007

talk about yer snappy titles!

i am currently hosting my second card-making challenge over at scrapdragon: it’s called the “nothing-like-the-last-minute procrastinator’s mass-producible halloween card challenge”! you have until the 30th to create two (or more) spooktacular holiday greetings which utilize the same basic materials. head on over there for complete details, but in the meantime here’s what i came up with:

the nieces have started postcard collections… (yeah, as a matter of fact i am responsible for that!) …tho i’ll be mailing these in envelopes, they're 4” x 6” in order to fit in the special postcard collecting books i made for the girls this summer. (in fact they are just inexpensive photo albums from Michaels’ that I personalized and decorated with rub-ons, but as far as the girls are concerned these are totally serious and official books for totally serious and official postcard collectors!) we started out by sending them a few “princess” postcards from disneyworld in may, and the girls--especially riley and lindsay--were just absolutely crazy about them, so now i try to send cards from anywhere we go. they’re sooooo adorable on this subject! each time i've visited since summer, they have both run to get their books and proudly show me all of the cards inside! after lindsay’s birthday party when i mentioned it was the first time i had not seen said books, lovely husband jeff revealed that *he* had been the lucky recipient of the postcard show on this occasion!

ps: we're still "on the road"...a real post about atlantic city is on the way...tomorrow or sunday!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

an eye for an eyelet!

feel like making a card?

lemme rephrase that: feel like winning a prize for making a card?! (yeah, i thought that might get your attention!)

well then, head on over to caardvarks for today's micro-challenge (deadline midnight, friday 10-19) an eye for an eyelet! (yeah, you guessed it: that gloriously diabolical pun was MINE!!! hahahaha!) (sorry.)

here is my contribution to said endeavor, i am almost embarrassed by how VERY simple it is...the dcwv rockstar paper (have i mentioned how much i love that 8"x8" stack?!) ...did most of the work! i just popped holes in the guitar where the little circles were, set an eyelet in each hole, and added the title. it's practically cheating. but then, for me, the hardest part of makin' stuff is knowing when it's DONE! (sadly, no, i am not kidding!)

rock on, birthday dude:

(paper: dcwv; eyelets & rub-on letters: making memories; chipboard: heidi swapp)

the inside looks a bit like this:
(marah johnson/lovestruck rub-on skull...so cool!...michael's bargain clear stamp; making memories rub-ons)

ok, the inside looks exactly like that, actually!

rock on, darlings!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

down the shore*

lovely husband jeff has been craving a few days beside the ocean before it the weather turns truly cold, so we are off to atlantic city! since whether or not we'll have t'internet--or time to use it--is always a bit of a question before one reaches a new destination, i shall say, "ciao, darlings," either until tomorrow...or possibly...the weekend!

*(in the pennsylvania/new jersey area, the primary beachgoing venues are towns in central to south nj and referred to collectively as "the jersey shore". persons travelling to said communities are said to be going "down the shore" even if the journey to the specific beachtown of their choice actually consists of travelling north.) (just a bit of linguistic eclectica for you there, absolutely free! ...all part of the service...no need to thank me!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

i challenge you...to a (scrapbooking) duel!

well, not a duel, as such.

ok, not at duel at all, really. (sigh)

but there is a cool new layout challenge over at casa de scrapdragon! challenge #6: mix it up again started yesterday (deadline is midnight, 10-30) and it's a goodie! just use a bit of pink (in honor of breast cancer awareness month) and a bit of paint, pop the word "ART" into your title, link to the comments on their post, and you've got a shot at the prize! now, to be eligible for said reward, you do need to make a layout...but you know how i like to prove you can use ANY challenge as inspiration for ANY type of project...so of course i made a card, as usual; hey--it's what i do! :)

(paper: urban lily; letter stickers: reminisce; butterfly punchout: fancy pants; chipboard: basic grey; bling crown: mambi; ribbon: heidi swapp; rub-on letters: making memories)

btw, the sentiment for this card, "life is the art" is inspired by the very cool lucrecer braxton's very cool blog--check it out!

Monday, October 15, 2007

HEY--that's not made of *paper*!

noper, it's made o' yarn! bluesky's super-bulky, super-smooshy, 50% wool, 50% alpaca to be exact. this, my friends, is the cadillac of yarns, the wooly equivalent of flourless chocolate cake, the...ok, i can't come up with a third luxurious metaphor, but i think i've made my point: it's really, really nice yarn...

(the front)

the lady at the yarn shop called this pattern "big cabled stole" and i think you'll agree it lives up to its name! (ok, so she is better at designing & knitting stuff than she is at making up snappy titles) i have renamed it "big smooshy stole" (oh yeah, that's a real improvement!)

(the back)

i started it last autumn. by new year's it was 95% finished...and so it remained until friday. all it needed was for the ribbing on the last short edge to be picked up & 12 rows of ribbing knitted. why i didn't do that sooner is something of a mystery; but for some reason, i really only knit in cars or planes. yes, i'm a travel-knitter. (i s'pose in "real life" i nearly always have something else, more pressing, that has to get done.)

(the collar: note the smooth & tidy "picked-up-stitch" line, and the way it folds over and lays neatly; it took a couple of go's for that to happen...which is why i mention it, proudly...)

on friday morning, knowing that my friend liz would be driving us to the cloisters (on my own i'd be taking the train, then the subway, then the bus...which actually isn't as convoluted as it sounds...but is rather large-knitting-project prohibitive) it suddenly came to me: i could probably finish the big smooshy stole in the time it would take to get there and back. and i was RIGHT! hooray, me!

i looooooooove the finished product: it's warm, it's cozy, it's smooshy as all get out, and it is finished just in time for those to be particularly desirable qualities.

there's just one problem... and, in fairness, when i began the project it is something i could not possibly have guessed would be the standard by which i would come to judge the quality of all knitting projects...

...it's not a monkee...

(not even a little bit)


Saturday, October 13, 2007

a grand day out

the grand entrance

the cloisters is a branch of new york's metropolitan museum of art, devoted to medieval art and architecture. it's located in fort tryon park, at the very very tippy top of manhattan, overlooking the hudson river and the jersey palisades. when you come out of the subway station--or cross the GW bridge--and look around you, it's almost impossible to believe you're only 30-minutes from midtown; surely you've been transported to another place...maybe even another time?!

the george washington bridge, from the west terrace; even the traffic looks kinda pretty from here

if you happen to like medieval religious art--and despite being the world's least religious person, i happen to loooooove medieval religious art--this is... (i'm trying really hard not to say "heavenly" here; ah--got it) ...this is as good as it gets! (on the eastern coast of the usa, anyhow!)

the catalog describes these as, "reliquaries of three female saints," but i like to think of them as patty, maxine and laverne

needless to say, the cloisters is quite high on the list of laureny happy places; no matter how many times i visit, it never seems to be any less magical! (having said that, LHJ is not particularly interested in medieval religious art, and yet he also loves it here; it's just that kind of place!)

a particularly beautiful carved, painted, and gilded depiction of the lamentation

the artwork is as varied as it is magnificent: there are paintings, altarpieces, illuminated manuscripts, stone & wooden stautuary, ivories, tapestries, ceramics, gold- and silver-work, stained glass...basically, if you can think of an item available in medieval europe...the cloisters has at least one...and probably a couple!

the monks' garden in bonnefort cloister (brother cadfael not included)

the site incorporates portions of five medieval french cloisters, two 12th century chapels, a monastic chapter house, and countless architectural elements. but the best part--and what makes the cloisters different from other museums--is that all of those amazing, unique, one-of-kind architectural items? the carved & massive doors, the intricate ironwork; the frescoes, doors and tombs; the altars, the stained glass windows?? they aren't just on display...they have been built right into the museum!!! it's a bit like the world's biggest, coolest, most historically accurate jigsaw puzzle!

a topiary in the cuxa cloister

the eponymous cloisters are lovingly maintained and full of contemporaneous plantings; the monks' garden in bonnefort cloister features any number of edible and medicinal herbs, plus fruit trees and flowers.

quince trees, complete--and replete--with quinces

cuxa cloister's enormous stone fountain was nearly overshadowed yesterday by the last of the year's blooming lavender and mexican sage. in the trie cloister's cunningly hidden cafe you can sit surrounded by beauty & sunshine & the least-afraid-of-people birds you've ever encountered, pretending that you are a rather glamorous 12th century prioress...who has somehow stumbled upon the recipe for cappucino...several hundred years before everyone else!

oh yeah...did i mention the unicorn tapestries...?!

if you happened to visit on a gloriously crisp and windy autumn day, when happy little clouds were frolicking across a vivid blue sky, and the scents of rosemary and lavender drifting on every breeze, you might well feel that you had found the most wonderful spot in manhattan......and i would have a very, very difficult time arguing with you!

Friday, October 12, 2007

looooooookee what the mailman brought!

it's a smilyn' stef original for my very own!!! how cool is that?! (hint: it is very, very cool!) i have to tell you that the scan doesn't do justice to the layers, they depth, the texture...! look at it here, soak in its beauty...and then multiply it...by about 17!

do you ever wonder if it's worth the time and effort to make cards? if people really like getting them better than mass-produced ones?? of course, anytime someone makes the effort to send you a card--of any description--it's wonderful. i'm not dissin' the store-bought cards of the world, by any means! ...BUT...having this come in the mail, opening it, seeing the creativity...not to mention the work and the skill, the time and the effort that went into it...i can definitively tell you:

handmade cards *ROCK*!!!

(thank you, stephanie!!!!!)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

it's been a while...

...since i showed you a postcard...too long, in fact! so here's a recent paris one from my friend deborah:

awesome, isn't it? it's a teeny tiny cut-out-and-assemble sainte-chapelle! (before you ask: no, i'm not going to cut out and assemble it; but yeah, i thought about it.) that deborah, she knows me too well!

and now, some knitting news:
  • the new abc show pushing daisies had a pretty funny knitting sub-plot last night

  • this is a very cool site where you can find lots and lots of u.s. charities to whom you can donate pretty much anything you'd like to knit; here is another good one

  • if you time your knitting speed and report it to the vicious chicken, you could win the entire state of delaware!* (complete details here)

*(ok, technically speaking, this is not true; but there is a prize. and it'll be a good one, too. as soon as VC figures out what it is! besides, if you won the entire state of delaware...c'mon...ya know you don't have that much closet space!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

i have no interesting news...

...i don't even have any uninteresting news...nor any cool completed projects i can show, either...so i've decided to take a page from the so superfantastic book of my blogging idol the manolo and share some things i've been enjoying lately:

reading: ghostwalk by rebecca stott which weaves together a modern day story and a seventeenth century mystery, both set in cambridge university; it's got sir isaac newton...alchemy...romance (off and on)...murders (maybe)...ghosts (possibly)...animal rights activists (definitely); lemme just put it this way: i am two-thirds through and i still have NO IDEA what is going to happen at the end...looooooooove that!

watching: ncis, bones and torchwood on tv...dexter, the l-word and a sumptuous new version of as you like it on dvd

eating: fish tacos with lime-cilantro crema from cooking light magazine (this was last night; even i, queen of the bagel-n-smoked-fish combo, would not enjoy these for breakfast!)

listening to: morroccan dance music, bryan ferry's best album ever (imo), and a great summertime mix cd my friend cheryl made

looking forward to: doctor who series three on dvd, november 6th (woohoo!)

stocking up on: black glossy cardstock, little silver heart charms, pale blue gingham ribbon, and A7 envelopes...for a little project...

envying: my friend beshka, who is going to silver bella next month (lucky, lucky, DUCK!)

loving: the mix of elegant/grungy layered fonts and graphics on this page (...not the content so much as the design...)

editing: the photos from lindsay's birthday party on sunday...here's a little preview:

(believe it or not, this was BEFORE they had cake!)

so...what are YOU loving right now...?

Monday, October 8, 2007

pink-n-sparkly-phobes turn away NOW!!!

yes, it’s thing-onna-ring (mach 2, actually--more on that in a minute) in all it’s glory! and you lucky devils get to see it from every angle except dangling from the chandelier. not because i had the good grace to stop before the point of ridiculousness, dear readers i assure you; (HA! as if!) no, sadly, we just don’t happen to have a chandelier.

but first, here’s a little pic of mach 1...made last february, for lindsay’s big sis, riley elizabeth!

as for the many, many, MANY photos below…well, for one thing, we’ve finally replaced the old sony cybershot with…wait for it…a *new* sony cybershot (woohoo!) and i’ve been trying it out; also, thing 2 was just soooooo darn photogenic, how could i resist?! (the lighting is a big wonky on some of these; i really need to make myself one of amy’s brilliant mini-photo-studio thingies!) in the meantime i've started with all the parts, and then you see the assembled thing, in a variety of stunnin' supamodel poses!

(the fronts)
(more fronts)

(the backs)

(more backs)
(front of thing--note how the smaller tags at the back act as a sort of "kickstand" enabling THING to stand, unaided!)

(ooh! and he's ambidexterous!!)
(but eventually, exhaustion strikes--time for a sprawl)
and finally...JUST for miss june...who challenged me to incorporate elements of lindsay's pretty smocked & embroidered dress from the pics last week, a closeup of the result: