Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Visit to My Homeland



Special thanks to Rick, David & Miguel 
for providing us the privilege to share a most amazing adventure together.    

Vacation 2015 
Montreal, Quebec with my beautiful daughters.
Bye, bye everyone!
None of us are good at 'selfies' but we vowed to get one!
Nous sommes ici!
We're heeeeere!
Our hotel was made famous by John & Yoko Lennon in 1969.
This giant picture remains in the hotel lobby today. 
Give peace a chance was written from their hotel bed in 1969.
This is the view from our hotel window.
Yep, that was some rain! We loved it.
Our personal travel advisor Madame Morgan did not miss a beat.
First day out..look closely for a preview of our newest blessing. 
She will make her appearance in October...or when the Lord says it is so!
Here we are the Port of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River. 
Vieux Montreal occupies the closest international container port to North America's industrial heartland from Asia. 
During the 1960's The Port of Montreal implemented the use of icebreakers to keep the water from freezing thus increasing the viability of the port year round as it remains today.
A favorite art gallery. 
We toured the Notre Dame Basilica. 
Throughout Montreal the architecture is Gothic limestone.
The interior reflects the strength of the Catholic Diocese in Quebec.
 The organ has 800 pipes and is played by a master of 37 years.
 About 125 weddings still take place annually in the Basilica.
The stained glass tells the history of the church in Montreal. 
It is stunning and was fabricated in Limoges, France then transported to the Basilica in Montreal.
We visited Chinatown.
Mc Gill University Campus
Even this guy came out to play in the rain!
We were fortunate to be there during the Jazz Festival, US Girls soccer semi-finals and Canada Day!
We had maple this and maple that. 
To this day there is no flavor that I enjoy more!
C'est delicieux!
The day had arrived to drive to the West Island and visit Kirkland.
These are by far my fondest memories as a child.
We kicked around town and visited my elementary school, high school and church.
We drove up and down 4 rue Michel about a million times.
You could say that we were stalking the place.
My wildest dreams came true!
The garage door opened and the owner came out. 
It was all uphill from there.
The owner of my childhood home invited us in!
Then we just got silly.


It has been a long time, many years, many many years, let's just say north of 45 years since I lived in this house.

It was fascinating that the neighbour across the street still lives there.
TRUTH: She briefly mistook me for my mother...YIKES!

And now it is time to celebrate Canada Day.
Even our drinks were red.
Loved the music in the streets.
Walking back to our hotel through Old Montreal after the fireworks. 
Be still my heart.
Grateful moments include but are not limited to chivalry on the Metro, breakfast crepes, no flight delays, maps, brief moments of wi-fi, fresh mint water, in room coffee, ramps, Canada schwag, clean restrooms EVERYWHERE and last but certainly not least our seemingly professional driver that delivered us to the airport in record time. 
My heart overflows with love for these girls. 
The memories will last forever.

Au Revoir!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Where Bloggers Create

Each July Karen Valentine invites bloggers to participate in a show and tell.
 It is an opportunity for artists to showcase their studio spaces and to feature the beautiful blogs that Karen has designed.
So without further ado; Welcome to Studio 204 at Where Bloggers Create.
You can see all the studio on tour on Karens' blog.
 For the past 19 years I have worked from our home in the desert Southwest.
The room once served as our youngest daughters' bedroom.
 My singular passion for my lifes' work in real estate compliments my surroundings.

This is the story of our home.

I subscribe to the theory that space affects productivity. 
The Kon Mari Method of organizing validates my ideals. 

I come and go from my studio MANY times every day. 
Miss Maggie stands guard between my office and car.
That assures her that I cannot escape the house without her knowledge. 
She observes my every move!
Containers are labeled and tie it all together.
Furniture on wheels makes it easy to move around and clean up.
I am surrounded by treasures that remind me of my family.
                    Plastic bins make it easy to see smaller items.



The vintage suitcase stores completed prior year calendars.
                   The room features my favorite peeps.
My first assistant sizes knitting projects and was a gift from my sister.
She is very 'Gretel' in her vest. 
Succulents 'cause we live in the desert. 
The pottery belonged to my in-laws.
Courage was a gift from my husband and she is pictured below next to the medal that I earned for completing my first Triathlon.
Colored pencils and markers are stored in this crate.
My father in law was a designer and this is one of his creations.
I usually have a candle burning and I am partial to matches so it works out.
This sheet metal was purchased at Home Depot and fits perfectly in the stand from Joann that is actually intended for quilting rulers. 
A pair of stands works out really well for side by side 12 x 12 layouts.
Magnets keep everything in place nicely and allow me to walk away knowing it will all be intact when I return. 

These Target stools hang on a guitar display mount and are easy for my visitors to grab.
Paper storage is organized by color in ROY G BIV order. 
These 12 x 12 paper holders were translucent so I spray painted them black then added hardware from Hobby Lobby.


Reach in containers are the most convenient for frequently used items like my label maker that I depend on to identify almost everything in the house!

Beads are stored in this container that was purchased at Michaels.
My newest acquisition are these wooden storage units from Target.
They are located to the right of my work table and store brads, ink pads, paint supplies, jewelry tools and bakers twine. 
The little lights are from Ikea.
These baskets are great because I can see the product.
They came from Typo.
The sugar containers were purchased at a restaurant supply. This idea and many others are taken from Get Organized
You simply must take this class!
The timer helps me stay on track. Remember; I work at home.
It is easy to get distracted.
These lights have stood the test of time. The bulb is 10 years old. 
One of my favorite tools is my heat gun. This very cool pouch hangs off the side of the table and can handle the heat tools very nicely. My local hair salon uses them for curling and flat irons but really, y'all should have one.


This canvas board is mounted on the side of my desk to hide the modem, router, incoming cable and resulting mess of cords.  
I used the Wordle app to create subway art of my mission statement. 
A jar of mini wish bones remind me that life is fickle and prayer works!
Invitations and pending orders are gathered in the lower right corner.

This is the seated view at the worktable. 
Scraps are sorted by patterned on the left and solids on the right.
Very close at hand makes them get used!
Best. Paper. Cutter. Ever.
The tools that make it all happen are in a spinner next to the cutter.
I try not to store too much on the worktable because during production it gets piled high, but I do have a few sets of letter stamps at hand.
 The rack is intended for stamp pads but this is a much better use for me.
This little gem of a riser almost ended up in the trash. 
I rescued it from a desk that someone was throwing away. It hooks onto my existing desk with no hardware and is a lifesaver doubling the depth of my desk. My design journal was developed over several weeks in an on-line class with Deryn Mentock
Year two of Ali Edwards' One Little Word
This year my word is 'GATHER'. It is displayed front and center with last years word on a favorite photograph of my honey. 
A mid-century liquor bar serves as sewing central.
 Card stock fits perfectly behind the door with the tassel.
Not sure what the designer had in mind for these little drawers.
Ahhhh... the symmetry.
Most tags have a visual aid!
Angelique is my right hand
She is dressed with a beret, flowers and crosses. 
We should all dress like that don't you think? 
This is her view of the room.
In case you are closely editing, YES! I did change the carpet in between photos.
Have not made up my mind on what shape looks best so I am testing out a couple from other areas in the house before I commit. This keeps my husband on his toes and is one of my favorite pastimes. 
Die cutting and embossing is close by. 
The pretty wood box on the right came from an antique sewing machine cabinet and is perfect for the platforms and plates. 
A drop leaf table with gate leg design opens on both sides for extra layout space although I rarely need both sides.
If you look closely you can see 4 folding chairs tucked inside the table.
Finding one of these on wheels took patience.
This cabinet has all my real estate and marketing materials.
Oh and that cool drop leaf table also has a little drawer that is very handy during production. I just could not ask more of a table!
This is where my day begins.
Fabric covered boxes intended for DVD or CD storage are perfect for dies.
Each one stores 100 dies. 
So far all the dies that I have fit in one box and adding inventory is a breeze.
Speaking of inventory my next organization project is to catalog the rubber and acrylic stamps and dies using this Rolodex. (Idea from Get Organized Class) 
Early in the organizing process I realized that I had no tolerance for duplicating items so I developed some tools. 
These colorful papers represent the acrylic blocks in my stash.
Before Spellbinders I had a similar cache for circle and scallop punches.

This sketch stand is a quick reference for layouts.  
I cut images out of an old design magazine and laminated them.
 Layouts are quickly designed based on number of photos I want to use.
 Layout problem solved; Project ideas are stored on my Pinterest Board.

Larger dies sit next to the Big Shot Die Center.
This vintage draftsman's chair was an awesome find in a Durango, CO antique shop.
 I am such a lucky girl 'cause my hubs knows how to pack a car and he appreciates good design!
A comfortable piano desktop from Ikea rests on two identical cabinets. 
Embossing folders are in the binders on the top right. 
My Cricut is connected to the computer so I can design easily. 
The hutch is backed with fabric and is painted with Annie Sloan French Linen chalk paint and is finished with dark wax. The knobs make it easy to open to access all the items that I need for work ie: business cards, pens, and printer ink. 
My HP 8600 all in one is wireless!
 Not sure how I lived before I could print from anywhere in the house! 
It even does a nice job on photographs if I don't feel up to a Costco run.

I constantly resist the temptation to take this pen out into the world. 
Writing with a good pen feels like a privilege...and ...it was a gift from my man.
Double the pleasure. 
Should I include my closet? That was the question.
Closets are not meant to be seen.
GATHER courage 
GATHER UFO's (UnFinished prOjects)
and here you have it...
I fabricate totes from old record album covers.
They take up a lot of room so I store them in here.
One can never had enough tape and adhesive. This is also where my WIP (Work in Progress) projects live. If I have a few minutes and want to work on something I can just grab a packet. It also makes packing for crops much easier although I still dread that process and am always misplacing tools. 
Handmade cards ready for sending are stored in this vintage Seven Up crate.
A decorated 7 Gypsy mouse trap tracks our household receipts and hangs on the door.
I am honored if you have stuck through this long post and encourage you to visit all the studios that are participating this year. Scroll to the bottom of Karens' post and the studio are all listed.


Au revoir mes amies!