Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On Summer Break

So I have taken a short leave of absence from my blogging since May. Sorry, I am still working, just trying to vacation + work= no time to blog. So here I am soaking up some sun on Santa Barbara's beautiful Butterfly Beach, shopping the art walk and enjoying the Yosemite National Park with my family.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nikki Barber to Ryan Neve

Nikki looked absolutely gorgeous.
Carly did a beatiful job on the floral arrangements.
My fluff added to the tables.

No one should leave a party without a favor!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Family Tree for Mom

One year around Mother's Day, I heard my mom was in the process of clearing out all the extras in her home. She had spent days taking loads of books and other knick knacks to the local Deseret Industries. I didn't want to add to her pile of stuff to clear out again in a few months with another useless gift. I don't like giving her clothes because I never know sizing, if she'll like it, or even what clothes she will feel comfortable wearing. I am a very sentimental yet practical person, so I like to think whatever I give her will be something treasured for years. I've made lockets including photos of all her children and all her grandchildren. She has photos in clocks, frames and albums. What else could I give that is unique and yet honors her as my mother?

She has always referred to her children as "the jewels in her crown." Mother's Day is a day to reflect on motherhood experiences with our family. This particular year my mom was really involved in our family geneology. I am a very visual person, and all those group sheets got too confusing for me to follow the lines and have it make sense. I wanted to put names in a 3-Dimensional format. I wanted it to be a peice of artwork for her wall above her computer. One that she enjoyed looking at everyday. So I created something similiar to the above photo.

After I made Mom's, I thought I would make a few extras for the local Art Market , and a few for friends and family. And then the calls started coming in for special orders. While I really love the concept, I have other ideas and projects on the drawing board and have retired this idea for resale. I have decided to share with you the Family Tree Heirloom Shadowbox instructions for a simple Mother's Day project that takes about an hour to complete once you have gathered your supplies. It's great fun to learn family names and hear stories about individuals as you work on your family heirloom.

Supplies:16 x 20 Shadowbox frame or other size (found at Michael's, Roberts or many craft or art stores)
Tree Branches (Manzanita and Curly Willow are best)
Large parent sheet of handmade paper for background on shadowbox (found at most art supply stores)
40-50 cardstock leaves (Look for maple or oak leaf punches found at scrapbooking or craft stores)
Very fine point black pen (archival)
Glue Gun (mini size is best, less risk of dripping too much hot glue in areas)
Double Stick photo tape

1. Carefully cut down and mount large handmade paper in frame, secure in place with double stick tape or hot glue gun. Below are a few examples of decorative papers available in art supply stores.

2. Arrange branches in desired layout and secure with hot glue.

3. Punch leaves out of desired colored cardstock.
Write family names on cardstock leaves with fine point black pen. *see note below
4. Place leaves near branches on "tree", but don't glue on yet until spacing and placement is exact.
5. Once everything is in place and you are certain of the arrangement, glue leaves permanently to the branches using a hot glue gun. (Be aware of hot glue drips in frame area).

6. Assemble glass and box contents and close up the frame.

*You can arrange your family names however you want. I have done them all different ways. You can use the main branches as siblings with your parents at the base trunk, and then branching out to the grandchildren names. Or you can do it the traditional way where a married couple is at the base trunk, and then the pedigree progresses from parents to grandparents, and finally to the great-grandparents.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

At the request of my dear friend Becky, I bring you Spring...
This seems like a quote I would be famous for saying, too bad E.B. White thought of it first. I am always waiting for something to happen.

Grandma made these blown-out real eggs and sprinkled clear glitter all over them. She cut out little windows and filled them with Spring scenes of miniature chicks and bunnies. I still remember her panoramic sugar eggs too. Green colored coconut as the grass with plastic figurines inside. She made me one with a green lattice frosting design on top.

The jars in all their spring glory. The nests were left in my Spring cones on the front door a couple years ago. Another not-so-good-ending in the circle of life storybook. But I have these bird gathered nests now.

Remember the toys you never knew what to do with after Easter had come and gone?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Goodbye Yuanxiao

Becky graciously loaned me these Chinese banners meant for the front door where your guests enter the party. They are hand calligraphied in gold ink on a vibrant red paper. I love them. I had to capture a picture today before I say good-bye to all her goods that I borrowed for my party on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Who is Coming to Yuanxiao Tonight?

The Invitation from Olive Branch Design

This bamboo tied off card intructs honorable guests to come by the light of their own handcrafted lanterns

When you walked in the party room, this is what you saw when you turned the corner.

We decided to make this an interactive cooking night. Chinese just doesn't taste the same cooked ahead of time. I probably should have realized how insane that would be, but it was so good and did I say fresh?

The gyoza John makes is the real deal. I realize this is Japanese, but dumplings in general are a Chinese New Year thing. And John's dumplings are incredible.

As you can see, we love men who can bring home the bacon then fry it up in a pan. Here is Jeff prepping for Kung Pow shrimp.

Nanette served up a mixed mocktail drink of cranberry juice, fresh orange juice and Sprite.

Jean-Michel and Carla are owners of JMA Classics a hand-crafted furniture design studio. They do beautiful work, and their lantern was no exception to their standard. It was made of natural alder wood and leather strapping. I was trying to confiscate it for the "United States Intermountain Region Chinese New Year Lantern Awards", or so I was claiming to anyway. Uh huh. They are going on to Regionals. They didn't buy into it though, they took it home. Dang!

The handcrafted lanterns most honorable guests brought illuminated on the front porch.

Our friend, Warren Lloyd, of Lloyd Architects drove all over town trying to find rice paper for his lantern, (someone even sent him to an oriental market to the wonton wrapper aisle- next time try Utrecht or Reuel's. He lived in Japan and studied under some serious Japanese architects, so he took the Finding Nemo in Tokyo approach to his project. We wondered what architectural plans he had for his lantern when he and Jennie were over an hour late to the party...all because of the handcrafted lantern project. Sorry guys!

Lantern Riddles were slipped in Chinese New Year envelopes and placed under each guest's plate. This group was a smart bunch and guessed them all!

Photographs courtesy of Becky Loveless. Check out her blog for more of the fine details of our party. Thank you Becky for your inspiration to this party in the making for nearly four years, and for coming to take photographs so I didn't have to.