Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chewing on Some Food for Thought

Thanks to Kelly at Eclectically Vintage, I've been chewing on her intriguing question: What do you want your blog to be when it grows up?

Admittedly, when I started my blog, it was basically on a lark. I didn't identify any specific goals. I'd started reading a few crafter's blogs, loved what they had to offer and thought I'd give it a whirl.

I still can't say what I want Moonbeams and Fireflies to be when it grows up, but after giving this some thought, I know what I personally hope to gain through the blogging experience. Here goes:

  • I get a kick out of trying different things. Blogging is about doing all sorts of things I previously didn't do often:  tell a story, design digitally, edit photos, view the world with an eye toward sharing

  • I want to connect with new friends who share my passion for dabbling in arts and crafts, repurposing and recycling rescued materials, collecting antiques and vintage items, gardening and enjoying nature

  • My more than 30-year career--which isn't over yet--is built on a foundation of writing and editing--for other people and mostly in the world of print. Blogging is just for me. Just because . . .

    • A mind is a terrible thing to waste and I don't ever want to stop learning. The beauty of being a part of the blogging community?  I can learn so much in a single day from all the talented bloggers out there that it often makes my head spin
    When it's all summed up, it seems I'm in for bushels of fun, friends and fantastic enrichment as my little blog grows up.


    On March 2, plan to join the fun when Kelly at Eclectically Vintage, Kari at Thistlewood Farm, Linda at It All Started With Paint and Karah at The Space Between host a new blog hop link party where you can share the vision for your blog. Tell us what you want your blog to be when it grows up.

    Hope to see you there.

    Make it a great day!

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Fancy Footwork

    At a recent estate sale, I spied a large shoe box with clear tape across the top under one of the display tables. I pulled it out and, to my delight, found two pair of vintage shoe forms--and a lonely, single newer tree shoe--inside.

    Made by Jones & Vining, Inc., the vintage adjustable forms are in excellent condition. I didn't care for the light wood, though, and wanted something a little richer--more aged-looking. So, I thought I'd test out the Annie Sloan dark wax I had just purchased (and hadn't tried, yet).

    The existing slots in the top of the forms seemed perfect for displaying photos or postcards or other ephemera. I have a wonderful souvenir envelope of mini photographs from my favorite place on Earth:  Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. I think those photos look wonderful displayed in the shoe forms.

    You may not be able to tell from the photos, but the dark wax added just the right amount of color and patina.

    These are so fun they make me want to dance a little jig.

    Make it a great day!

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Grab These Victorian-Era Images

    Some time back, I came across this sad-looking book at an estate sale. The front and back cover are soiled, worn and in generally bad condition. For obvious reasons, this antique was only 50 cents. But, because it contained a number of very nice images, I picked it up.

    Back cover

    Baby Playmates is an odd hardcover book with no copyright or publishing information inside. Graphic images are pasted inside both front and back covers. In fact, they're sloppily pasted, as if done by children themselves. 

    The internet is such a great resource. I was able to learn that the Babyhood Series was published by M.A. Donohue of Chicago in the late 1890s. I wasn't able to learn much more than that, however.

    The graphic images are very nice, but because they are printed on cheap paper, aren't the sharpest images I've seen. And, the pages themselves are so brittle, they literally began to disintegrate in my hands as I tried to scan them.

    I did want to preserve the images, though, and thought others may find a use for them. So, I'm posting them for use in your projects, if you'd like them. I'm not experienced at cleaning up images and don't have a program specifically for editing photos and images, so you may need to clean them up before you use them.  (One of my goals this year is to learn how to edit images.) 

    Just right click on the images below and save them to your computer.

    If you can find a way to use any of these, please leave a comment here. I'd love to see what you do with them.

    Enjoy  . . .

    Make it a great day!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Give and Give Back

    Some people are totally into Valentine's Day. My husband and I aren't formal about it. When V-Day falls on a weekend, we do our regular Friday or Saturday dinner out. We exchange a card and a small gift. No fuss, no muss.

    Image courtesy of Vintage Feedsacks

    Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day BIG time, or just give it a passing acknowledgment, you might consider choosing a Valentine gift that gives back.

    Earth911 shares some ideas for shopping with retailers--on-line and local--that give a portion of each sale to charitable organizations. Other suggestions from Earth911 are to buy local or fair trade or make a donation in a loved one's name.

    Worldofgood.com  offers an extensive selection of items whose purchase supports artisans, the environment, animals and specific non-profits. Each item carries a "good print" rating that indicates the positive impact its purchase makes as well as the category of "good" it supports.

    And, of course, you shouldn't overlook the positive impact of reclaiming, recycling and repurposing when choosing a gift. A redo of a simple box, picture frame or a small trinket can make a meaningful and special present--and may help keep the original item out of the landfill.

    These are just a sampling of the ways gift giving can have a positive residual reach.

    This Valentine's Day--and on every occasion that calls for a gift--consider giving while giving back.

    I'm joining the Linky Party Blog Hop at It's So Very Cheri.

    Also linking to:

    Make it a great day!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    A Hare Past a Shackle

    Since around Halloween, I've been shackled by a block. Not a creative block exactly because I've had plenty of ideas. And intentions. Just not the motivation to do anything with the ideas or make good on the intentions.

    Don't get me wrong. I haven't been a complete slug. I've created a number of ephemera journals in the past few weeks--all in response to special requests. But I haven't done any crafting just for the fun of it. Now, our inevitable winter weather seems to be just what I needed to light the crafting fire. Being snowed in gave me the perfect excuse to hole up in the craft room for an afternoon.

    Some time ago, I came across this wonderful vintage image of a hare at The Graphics Fairy. I really wanted to create something with it, but had been avoiding it. You see, in days gone by, I collected rabbits. Not the real ones. Cute, whimsical, elegant and rustic bunnies to accent my bookshelves, tabletops and mantels. Some were antique, like the glass candy holder rabbit and the chalk bunny. Others were new. Some were handmade.

    Then, when the live rabbits moved in and claimed our suburban acreage for their breeding ground, playpen and smorgasbord, the critters quickly fell out of favor with me. Pesky rabbits! After stepping in numerous bunny burrows, coming home from work to find hostas sheered off at ground level and witnessing the continual taunting of our dear, sweet Barney, I channeled Mr. McGregor and declared war.

    At the same time, I stopped collecting rabbits. I was so disgusted with the real thing, I just couldn't do it anymore. What you see here are most of the remnants of my original collection.

    I gave some of my bunnies to the kids, sold some at my garage sales and donated some. The items I have kept generally have sentimental value. And I do have a nice collection of Teena Flanner rabbits I display for Easter.

    So, it's been a while since I've opened my heart or home to a rabbit--or hare, to be specific.

    I transferred this grand hare onto the linen of a rescued vintage placemat using Rosemary's Splendid Blender method. Then, I embellished the finished pillow cover with a handmade flower sporting a reclaimed faux wood button.

    So, did I waver on bringing a new rabbit into the fold? Well, maybe a hare.

    Make it a great day!

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    And Then There Was Whitewash

    If you saw my last post, you know that right here, in the nation's midsection, where the average annual snowfall is around three feet, folks were out and about this past week in shirtsleeves, shorts and sandals in the near-70-degree temps.

    Today, it's a different story.

    Most winters, we'd be sick of snow by now. We'd be whimpering 'cuz Phil saw his shadow and we had six more weeks of an already long winter left. But this winter, as is the case in much of the country, we've hardly had snow to speak of. A small event in December, a tiny flurry here and there and temperatures 10 to 40 degrees above normal. We haven't had a winter--yet.

    So--for me anyway--this is as exciting as that first big snow event we usually have in December. It's hard to tell how much is on the ground right now, but predictions are that we will have about 12" by this evening.

    Let's add a little color to a beautifully whitewashed day. Here's how the bulb garden looks now.

    Ours is indeed a world of contrasts.

    Make it a great day!