Thursday, August 31, 2006
Perfect Album Alert!!!!!!!! Blame the Vain by Dwight Yoakam. This is his most recent release. Every song is perfect!!!!! His voice is so wonderful! Mike and I just saw him in concert and it was shockingly great!! If you have a chance, please go see him. I get upset when I tell people about Dwight and they say, oh, country music.... Dwight cannot be classified as strictly country because his sound is so much more than that....it is great music period! He has one of those unique voices that you just get addicted to....... speaking of which, here are a few more voices that are unique, special, and addictive:
Hank Williams, Sr.
Happy Friday and happy weekend everyone! Let's all read a good book, hang out with our loved ones, create a little art, and listen to some great music!
Monday, August 28, 2006
and speaking of friendship....I am just totally blessed to have friends near and far.....ones I see in person and ones I only talk with on the internet!! Having this blog has so increased the number of people I communicate with on a really wonderful level! My new thrill in life is a new project I started called the Faux Family Album (FFA) for short....a bunch of us are going to create a faux family album with vintage photos that I have collected from antique shops. You know those photos that just "speak to you" and make you wonder what was the story of that person's life. We are each going to do a small layout with the vintage photo, stamps, rub-ons, etc. and then write a little story about each person in our album! Won't that be a blast! Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!
And to round things out I have a book recommendation...If you have not read this book yet, run to the bookstore and get this sweet and endearing story of a really loveable woman! It is billed as a mystery, but is really not.
The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I was married. I was approaching the age of 40. I had not read a "children's book" since I was a pre-teen, but all of a sudden I craved these books. I think it all started when I saw two children's lit advocates reading from a newly published book on C-Span..........I was hooked. I found lots of new and wonderful authors. People who really had something to say and a fun way to say it in.
Just take a look at some of the quotes from the above pictured book.......
"Just to know you could. That was enough." The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks, 1980
"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumps start!" Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, 1963
"Going to Aunt Mirandy's is like going down the cellar in the dark. There might be ogres and giants under the stairs, - but, as I tell Hanna, there might be elves and fairies and enchanted frogs!" Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kte Douglas Wiggin, 1903
"Nothing cures homesickness quicker than an unexplored tower." Beauty and the Beast by Nancy Willard, 1992
GREAT KIDS BOOKS
1. Holes by Louis Sachar
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
3. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
4. Harry Potter (all!) by J.K. Rowling
5. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (thanks Mom!)
6. Mandy by Julie Edwards (thanks Mom!)
7. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume (thanks Mike for giving me a hardcover copy of this for Christmas one year)
8. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (thanks Jill!)
9. Beezus and Ramona by Beverely Cleary
10. Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park
11. Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret
12. Squids Will be Squids by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
13. No David by David Shannon
14. Santa Calls by William Joyce
15. Tuesday by David Weisner
16. The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle
17. If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
18. Olivia by Ian Falconer
19. Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
20. Lisa's Airplane Trip by Anne Gutman
21. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
22. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell (given to me by my Dad when I was 13. Dad gave me the totally cool hardcover slipcased edition! Thanks Dad!)
23. Journey Through Heartsongs by Matty J. Stepanek
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I added 20 new links on the side of the blog!!! Please visit these other blogs for lots of inspiration and interesting information, and great pictures!!! These are the blogs that I check on every day or so, and I always find such cool stuff!
BACK TO THE PERFECT ALBUMS.....Today's feature is The Beatles! I always say the Beatles are on par with Mozart in my book for making such wonderfully beautiful and awe-inspiring music........
Rubber Soul...........The first time I heard this album was much later than it came out that is for sure! I am not sure when exactly it was, the mid 1980's I am sorry to say....My brother had the tape in his car and we would drive around San Francisco listening to it...so that must have been 1985 or 1986....... At that time he was in the Navy there and also my Dad and Mary lived in the city on 2678 19th Avenue!! That was such a cool house! What a great city! Favorite song on this album...... The Word..........
By the way...one day at work we eached answered which Beatle we would have liked to date when they were at their prime......Which Beatle would you like to hold hands with??????? My pick would totally have been George!
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Clubs Band....we had this album when I grew up! We were hip people! Anyway, we listened to this a lot......Mike disagrees with me that this is a perfect album, but I say it is and it is my blog......... Favorite song......Within You Without You I love that Indian sound.
Revolver..........here is another album my brother introduced me to!! Thanks Todd! Without a doubt my favorite song on this album is Tomorrow Never Knows In fact, that is one of my all time fave songs!!!
Abbey Road......I came to this album late in life also! It definitely reminds me of when Mike and I started dating. I borroed his CD of it for awhile! I used to listen to it late at night and write him letters....how romantic!!! Favorite song ....... Here Comes the Sun another song that is in my top ten of all songs........... such a beautiful song and such beautiful sentiments!
Let It Be........ another album that Mike really introduced me to......(he is a man with excellent musical taste!) Favorite song...... Dig A Pony
Hopefully, you can all go put in a Beatles CD and share some memories with me!!! What are your favorite Beatles songs????
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Beyond Paper Dolls is the title. I have only glanced through it so far, but it looks really inspiring...total eye candy! For Valentine's Day this year my Mom got me the book Alphabetica by Lynne Perrella, and that started so many cool things for me! The best of which is participating in the Alphabetica round robin with a group of totally talented and super nice gals! So, I expect this book will have a little magic in it too! I will be looking at it tonight for sure!
Speaking of dolls, I received the second issue of the zine Portals recently. It's theme is dolls too. It is so much fun and chock full of inspiration. It is put out by the talented Heather and Joleen. This issue might be sold out, but you can check out the website for information about future issues. I really enjoyed the articles about different artists' studios.
Also in the mail today was a lot of "name" postcards that I got from Ebay. This is one of my faves in the lot. I love that name, Edna!! I think that would make a great name for a female cat! My apologies to all the women named Edna out there who might be offended, butI just don't think it would be a great name for a young girl in this day and age. On another blog there was an idea put forth about making a journal/scrapbook of faux relatives.....I think this would be lots of fun and plan to do something like it in the near future. Since I have so many cool pictures of UCPs (unidentified cool people)...I would like to take some and embellish them and write a little story about each one....someone in that journal is bound to be Edna, and then I can use this postcard!
Remember several posts ago when I was going to start listing "Perfect Albums?" Well, I had intentions of listing things in alphabetical order and doing it in an orderly fashion...however, it seems that whenever I plan to do something "perfectly" I end up not doing it at all, so I will just be slipping in perfect album recommendations willy-nilly, here and there, throughout the coming months (or as long as I have a blog, cause hopefully perfect albums will keep coming in the future!)
My Aim Is True by Elvis Costello......this album was released in 1977, however I did not hear it until 1981! I first heard it when I was in college......Wow!!! What a great and different sound that was for me as I had really only heard AOR (album oriented radio) up until that time (you know the totally mainstream stuff, like The Eagles, Led Zepplin, Boston, etc.) I still love, love, love this album!
Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass
Okay, I know you are all snickering about this pick, but hear me out!! First of all, it is really good music....really fun.....definitely dated, but it is fun.....My brother, Todd, and I called this the "naughty album" because of the risque picture on the front, well it was risque to us when we were kids....certainly tame by today's standards.....
Don't you just love the juxtaposition of these two albums!!! Weird!
Would love to hear what you all think of these albums if you have heard them!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Okay, it was not so much studio hopping, as first stamping at my house and then driving the 1.2 miles over to Jane's house....and, it wasn't so much "studios" as messy and out of control rooms with a bunch of stuff in them....but we had a great day of creativity and collaboration!
Wall Hanging by Jane and gifted to me! Isn't this stunning! Most all of todays works were created using vintage photos printed on matte paper and then colored with Prismacolors pencils and blended with Gamsol. Gamsol and Prismacolors is THE most wonderful technique.....I would not know what to do without it!!! It was surely serendipitous that we learned about it from Inky Antics when we went to the stamping expo earlier this year.
And now for a commercial interruption........ There is a small one woman owned stamp company..... The Queen's Dresser Drawers
is run by Jo McQueen . She has the most amazing stamps. They are inspired by vintage photos and documents......See above for one from her new line! Also, she is one of the nicest ladies to do business with!! So go order some unmounted and really cool stamps people!Above wall hanging by the talented Jane Maley!!!
Here is a little secret....I am a stamp snob...you know some brands just seem inferior and "common" to me...I have long held this snobby opinion about Hero Arts stamps, but I could not resist this vase of flowers...and it is so much fun to color (used watercolor crayons and aquapainter for the above)....so I must admit that some of the Hero Arts stamps are lots of fun.....I guess it is never a good thing to be snobby! Also, please note that little ribbon/trim on the right side of the image....my new quest is to find trim like this, embroidered flowers or images on cotton ribbon. This particular piece was found by Jane at JoAnn Fabrics, so I will be on a hunt now!
ATC by Jane....the dancer is her grandma, Mary!
ATC by Jane.......Isn't this just too precious!!!??? This photo of the little girl started out as a plain black and white image. Jane's coloring of her dress is truly inspired and top notch! Yesterday afternoon the two of us snuck off to Hoffman Estates, IL and the scrapbook store up there had the whole new line of Anna Griffin papers which you see above in the background of this ATC......Do you think it strange that I had heart palpitations and shortness of breath when I saw all of her papers displayed in one place? Sad, but true, I got all worked up! This is what I have been reduced to people!
You know what my favorite part of this card is? The way the leaves on the trees turned out with the Green Apple Prismacolor pencil and Gamsol!! Stunning (if I do say so myself)..... the other theme running through today's work is the little hint of ribbon folded in two sticking out of the side.......that was inspired by Audrey Hernandez as she was the first person I saw doing it.....
Well that brings us to the close of another fun weekend.....Mike and are I retiring to the TV to watch our guilty pleasure, Big Brother......good trash TV is so therapeutic isn't it?
Have a good week y'all!!!!!
Friday, August 18, 2006
I received some exciting news today! The wonderful, Kim, of Art Dog's Life told me that she went to a new antique shop and found something for me!! Please see her blog entry here to find out what it is!! I am so hepped up about this! Thank you Kim!!!
It has been a tradition that every August I get the Fall Anouncements issue of Publisher's Weekly. This is the trade publication about books and the publishing industry. This yearly issue lists most of the books that will be coming out from September to January........It is a RED letter day in the Duet household when I get a hold of that baby. I then sequester myself with the magazine and a pen and circle all the great finds......We will have to go on a search for it this weekend...in the meantime there are some books on the horizon that look good......some are available now, but most are coming in September....
1. I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers
Yes, I still love Mr. Rogers. He was so kind and gentle.
2. Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston
I read the first page of this book and I wanted to keep reading.
3. Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood
I don't really like short stories as I would rather read a novel, but I will have to look into this cause I really like Marget Atwood, or at least I loved her book Orxy and Crake.
4. When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton
Jane Hamilton has not had a book out for a long time, so it should be interesting to see what she has been up to.
5. Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
I read a synopsis of this novel the other day and it sounds very interesting. Her novel Black and Blue was very good.
6. Artist Trading Card Workshop by Bernadette Berlin
Need we say more??? I want this STAT!
7. Cancer Vixen: A True Story
This is a graphic novel. I have not analyzed this, but I read a lot of books about people coping with various diseases and life threatening illnesses.
8. Artful Paper Dolls by Terry Taylor
Again, sight unseen, but I think I need this STAT also.
9. Piece of Work by Laura Zigman
All of her novels are probably classified as "chick lit" but hers are definitely several steps above the usual stuff in this category. Her book, Dating Big Bird, was a joy to read, so I am looking forward to this book.
Order of Business: I have not been able to get pictures to load on the blog for the past two days, so I poked around on the Blogger site to see if they were working on a fix, I guess they are, but things are not moving too quickly. Some wonderful computer nerd/genius on their forums suggesting changing to Firefox, a different browser, and that worked. So, thanks to Mike for installing that!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Last Sunday night Mike and I went to the House of Blues to see X. There were a total of four bands on the bill with X being the headliner. We timed it perfectly so we got there just in time for me to order a root beer as X took the stage. They were really good....great musicians and fun to watch. Their lead singer had the coolest shoes, they were blue and white spectators with a chunky heel! So cool, she wore them with a thrift store dress and looked the height of chic! Before the concert we went for dinner at Heaven on Seven where the speciality is Cajun. I had my first martini ever. I saw a woman at the next table with one and my friend Jane had recently told me about these fancy/fruity martinis, so after extensive questioning of the waitress I ordered the "French Quarter" which was Absolut vodka, chamboard (?), and pineapple juice. Alas, it was just tolerable. I should have stuck with my go to drink the wonderful "Highball." For all you kids out there that is the name for whiskey and 7-up.
Tuesday, as you have read, was my Mom's birthday and we had a day chock full of fun! We went to St. Charles, Illinois which is a charming little town on the Fox River. First stop, was the Cottage Stamper, rubber stamp store where we had a blast looking at all of the stamps. We found a whole photo album of cards made with Amuse Stamps and it was so inspiring. They have some of the best stamps out there! I copied Jane and got the Stampers Anonymous, Tim Holtz designed, ticket background stamp. If you have never looked at their stamps, please go thruogh the entire catalog it is a total dream! I also got the Love stamp by Christine Adolph. Her stuff is so gorgeous! On Splitcoaststampers today one of the ladies wrote that she wished all stamps were a dollar! Me too, although there would not be enough room in our house for all the stamps I would have and Mike would have a complete and total meltdown from all the clutter! I am a clutterbug and he is a neat freak! Yipes!
Anyway, after the stamp shop stop we went for the one of the best lunches I ever had in my life! The setting was perfect and the food was totally and completely over the top great!! The name of the place was Townhouse Books and Cafe! Can you think of a better combination of stuff???? If they added stamps and CD's I would have to move in! We started off with a very strange dish, chilled strawberry soup!!!! Sounds weird, I know, but it was absolutely one of the most exciting things I have ever eaten! Amazing. We split it, bummer cause I am sure we could each have eaten a whole bowl! Next up, delicious sandwiches! I shocked myself again by having the vegetarian sandwich on sourdough bread (which is just the best bread ever!)
After lunch we browsed in the book shop and I found a book I never heard of, but that sounded so interesting I could not pass it up, And the Word Was. We then went to the Antique Market III, but alas their prices were way to high. I only spent one dollar! That is unheard of! I bought one old snapshot. There were some other cool pictures but they were priced too high. I am becoming selective! On our way out of town we happened to pass a Barnes and Noble and a Borders, so of course we had to stop! We also went to an Ulta store where they sell perfume, make-up and shampoo. My Mom showed me this new kind of mineral make-up and it looked pretty good, so I got some of that. Finally, we headed home with a stop at the drive through at McDonalds for a Coke (Mom) and a root beer (me)! (yes, I still have the root beer addiction going!) We had an A#1 fantastatic day and the weather was so gorgeous!!! It was so great to be able to spend my Mom's birthday with her.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Monday night, the 14th, my Mom came over and we made cards (stamping, ribbons, coloring, etc.). We had a good time. Mom even had a birthday "highball" that I made for her! Little did she suspect that when the picture above was taken I would be making her a cocktail on the eve of her 65th birthday!!!
Artwork by Mary Englebreit.
This is a picture of my Grandma Bates, me, and my Mom in front of my Grandma's house at 14422 Michigan Avenue, Riverdale, Illinois. This is the site of so many family memories and is where my Mom grew up. Note my very cool red purse!
My Mom made this card and I totally love it!!
Tomorrow we are off to St. Charles, Illinois to check out antique shops and a stamp shop. We will probably sneak in a bookstore stop too...and lunch!!! Perfect way to spend a birthday I say!!!!
I love you very much Mom and am so glad we get to spend your birthday together!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I drank a diet Root Beer today because my friend Midge drinks them. It was good. Really good. I thought I would go through life only drinking Tab, but now I don't have to be afraid of "the man" discontinuing Tab. So, take that you boys in Atlanta. (But Tab is still the nectar of the gods!).
Okay, I am getting a little tired of the situation in the world today. I am adding my voice to the hippie pinkos who march for peace. Consider me tie-died and long-haired (with sandals even!). I am marching for peace in my living room man. Well, it's a start.
People who call from one department to another in a workplace setting who do not identify themselves should be beaten with sticks. (figuratively, because I am all about the Peace today!)
People who I could see in concert in the next two weeks, but I am may not cause I am too damn lazy: X, Jackie Greene, and Los Lobos.
People who I will see cause I love them enough to get off my lazy ass......Dwight Yoakam, 8/30 at the Park West!
Best Concerts I ever saw: John Fogarty at the House of Blues. Van Halen at the Cow Palace. Joe Jackson at the Chicago Theater. Cheap Trick in Aurora.
Best Operas I ever saw: The Magic Flute. Aida. La Traviata. The Masked Ball. Gotterdamerung.
Most Romantic Restaraunt in Chicago: Italian Village.
Best Pizza on Earth: Sanfratello's in Glenwood, Illinois.
Book I am Reading Right Now: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.
Last Movie I saw in the Theater: Lady in the Water (is that the correct title? Don't know and too lazy to go look!) It was just okay.........
Movie Mike Wants to See due to the Kitsch Factor: Snakes on a Plane.
Best Black Ink: Versifine.
Best New Toy for Stamping: Rub-ons.
Best Company For Cute Stamps: Eat Cake Graphics
Best Company for Sophisticated Lady Stamps: B-Line Designs
If I Could have a Book delivered to me right now it would be A Dress For Diana. I really wish she were still alive. Here is a maudlin topic....famous people I wish were still alive.....John Lennon, Greg Moore, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Elvis (just to see what he would be up to in these days), Pasty Cline.......(any others?). I am thinking of people who died to young and/or tragically.
Alrighty then, and now for something upbeat...............
my favorite flowers are........click here. What are yours??
Tomorrow's topic..........PERFECT ALBUMS....yes that is right albums....LP's, cause that is what I still call them.........so be thinking of some of your faves....see if they make the cut!
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Hey today was a really great day! When I got to work this morning there was a present on my desk!! It was from Karen and Jody....they got me a Crop-A-Dile!!!! Very cool tool for punching holes and setting eyelets in everything from paper to fabric, chipboard, and metal! Woohoo! Thank you so much!!
Card by Lorie
As promised, today's blog is a list of the honorable mention books of 2005. I limit my best books list to ten books, so these are the books that did not quite make the top ten but were very good nonetheless. In 2005 there were nine of these books, all well worth reading!
Monday, August 07, 2006
Hi Gang! Today is a slow news day here in the duet abode! However, I wanted to share some more of the terrific artwork we did this weekend. I also figured this was as good a time as any to post some more book information. I think we will work backwords on the book lists. I previously posted 4 Star books, now we will look at some of my end of year lists, chock full of readerly goodness!
LAURA DUET'S BEST BOOKS OF 2005!!!!
AND THE NUMBER ONE BOOK OF 2005 (which was given to me by my BFF Noreen!)
Tomorrow the honorable mentions of 2005 and some more great stuff from Stampalooza! As always, please chime in with opinions on this book list!
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Above is my favorite card I made yesterday....Luckily I found the background paper when I was shopping for door prizes (galaxy pens, ribbons, and rub-ons for all!).....I love the colors together (my favorite combo yellow/blue) and later when I turned it over, I saw that it was made by Anna Griffin...I love her papers. The rub-on is from Daisy D, and the vintage picture is from a shop in Sandwich, Illinois.
Below is a totally cool and adorable ATC made by Jane. She took a black and white picture (copied on matte paper) and colored it and made a polka dot dress! Love it!
Below is a total masterpiece of a card by Lorie! She used a Tim Holtz Stamper's Anonymous stamp and went from there. She is a master of using lots of elements on a card and making it come out beautifully!!!! (She also used those #&$%*# Microbeads and made them work! Something that I have never been able to do!!)
I love the card below made by Trish! Isn't it totally cool??? She used Jane's Tim Holtz Stampers Anonymous ticket stamp as the background and then a stamp that everyone made fun of me for buying!!! (Stampers Anonymous jester stamp) with a background paper and Hero Arts Dots to create this. She spent an hour cutting out the jesters, but the effect was totally worth the effort!
I will be posting more of the creations from Stampalooza throughout this week! May this inspire you to gather a group of buddies for your own stampathon!
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Below are two of the pages that Audrey did in her book. I just love her style so much!!! I would love to be a fly on her wall and just watch while she creates! I took the book to work today to show my friends there and they were all totally impressed with the book and loved everything in it so far! So, Audrey, Jane, Trish, and Lynne you were stars today!
Sugar and Spice!
Lastly, I just ran across a most impressive blogf and Etsy shop chock full of goodness, run, don't walk, right over to Sepia Art Studio and then click on her Etsy shop! Amazing!!! I had to order a couple of things....and talk about reasonable prices!!! My favorite thing on there is at the top of the blog....Fairy Wands!!! I really want to try to make something like that! I ordered one too as I probably won't be able to approximate her total wonderfulness!