Saturday, December 29, 2007

Drum Roll Please!!!!!!!! Best Books 2007!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! As the end of the year draws near I would like to present my Best Books 2007 list!!!! This is highly anticipated information in certain circles! Hopefully, you will enjoy reading my list and PLEASE let me know some of your top reads for this year!

The best books I read this year...... (you can click on each title to take yourself to to read about each book)

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

3. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

4. The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown

5. Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida

6. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid

7. Heft on Wheels by Mike Magnuson

8. Black and White by Dani Shapiro

9. Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston

10. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

I am hoping for many more good books in 2008!!!! I have a house full of them and more good ones coming out all the time!!! Reading truly is my number one beloved hobby!!!

Now, don't forget to tell me your best reads of the year!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth!

All is calm. All is bright.

Son of God. Love's pure light.

Radiant beams from Thy holy face.

Joy to the World.

He rules the world with truth and grace.

Repeat the sounding joy.

And wonders of his love.

O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above the deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the year. Still. Even though now it is completely different from the Christmas Eve's of my childhood. We would always go to my Grandma's house. Big dinner. Lots of family. Lots of presents. Back home to wait for Santa. I took it all for granted. I miss it so. Still, Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the year. It is a magical night. Still. I wrote down all my favorite lines from Christmas carols above. I don't go to church anymore, but still believe, yet with a wider belief in the reverence of all the religions and all believers. There are good people everywhere. Still.

Tonight Mike and I will spend Christmas Eve with my Mom and my brother. We are missing many people, but we will feel their spirits with us. Still. And always.

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Handmade Christmas Cards

This year we had our little handmade card swap and I was also lucky to receive a couple more outside of our little group of swappers! I love Christmas cards and next year I am going to make them year round because I wanted to send out more! Above is the cutest card! It is made by my lovely aunt-in-law and great, great friend Lorie!
This beautiful card was sent to me by my Stamping Up demo Linda. I am absolutely in love with this card!!!!! So darling!
My dear friend Beth sent me this cute and wonderful tag!!! I hope she does not think I am going to use it on a present as a To/From tag! It is not leaving my collection!
This beauty of a card is from my lovely friend Jennifer whom I have not met in person but hope to someday!!!!
I think I posted this card by my Mom before. Isn't it just the mostest????
I am so in love with this card from Donna from Texas! I want to recreate it as soon as possible! It is lovely and perfect in every way!
My dear friend Karen made this very cool and innovative snowman card!!! I love it!!! Also, Karen is a brand new Stamping Up demo! So if anyone needs anything please contact her!

Lastly, my Mom sent me one of her store bought cards this year too. I have always loved my Mom's Christmas cards the best of anyones. She picks out such dear cards.

I just heard that NASA cleared the airspace for Santa to travel through to each of our homes!!! How exciting!!! I am wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stamping with Liz, Mom, and Jane!

We had a blast today hanging out at Jane's house and stamping and sewing the day away. Our friend Liz was visiting from Florida and we always love to hang out with her. We have a blast just hanging around and stamping.
Ever since we took a class at Red Lead about making ornaments using vintage images, felt, organza, and embellishments we have been mad for them. Here are some snaps of the gals making ornaments. I stuck with making cards today.
Here are my Mom and I at the end of our very productive day. We are standing in front of some of Jane's stamps. She has the most excellent collection of stamps!
Here is a finished ornament made by Liz! As Jane says, "it is so cute, I could cry!"
My Mom made some ornaments for her friends! Lucky gals!!

Next up are the cards......The card above was made by cute!
This is the favorite card I have made this year. I sent it to my Mom. The Merry Christmas is a vintage Christmas seal.
I must say that I love this card above. Love that stamp and love it with the blue paper and pink German scrap. It is a stamp by Hampton Arts in case you feel the need to track it down.
At the beginning of every stamping session I play with vintage photos to "warm up." I have been loving changing all my vintage people into Christmas people!
I especially love using Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol to color their clothes and then add a rub-on. Simple and perfect!

I made a birthday card today for someone who has a Christmas-time birthday. I just love this image from a vintage birthday card!

All in all, it was a fabulous day of hanging out with friends, eating hummus and pita bread, drinking root beer, laughing, crying, telling secrets, making some wonderful art, and just enjoying this time of year with some very special people!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Fun!

Here is a special tip!!! If you don't know about this already, you have to go visit this website immediately. Tim Holtz (the guru of stamping techniques and products) has a blog! He also is celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas by highlighting new techniques, products, and his beautifully stamped tags every day!

To visit, click on this link - Tim Holtz's blog.

I check in every morning and have so much fun dreaming about how I would spend the day if I didn't have to go to work!!! Let me know what you think!

Also, THANK YOU for all the sweet comments about the cards my Mom and I made! That was so thoughtful of you all!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Stamping with Mom

Every year my Mom and I take a day and do something Christmas-y together. Usually this involves shopping and taking in Christmas decorations. Last year we went to Rockford, IL to check out some antique shops. One year we went downtown (Chicago) to see Marshall Field's and the German Christmas market. This year we were going to go to Holland, Michigan (famous worldwide as the place of my birth!) and stay overnight, however monetary issues came between us and more antique shops, so....................
my Mom came over to my house and we made Christmas cards!!!!!
Needless to say we had lots of fun! Chef Mike made us a lovely lunch of homemade chili...there was snow on the ground outside and happy hearts inside making cards!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Card Fun

Jane and I had an impromptu card making session on Sunday. She made the one on the top and I made this one below. Jane used the most excellent new stamp from Red Lead, the cute little dressed up girl! Also, the word stamp, Sparkling Winter Wishes, is from Red Lead (the greatest store on earth located in St. Louis, but you can also shop on their website!!) Click HERE to go to their website!!!!!
I used German Scrap from Red Lead on my card. The background is some totally divine vintage wallpaper which I received in a package from the wonderful Donna at Under the Red Roof. She has an Etsy shop with beautiful Christmas-like vintage wallpaper.......Get some, you will not be disappointed!
And some more fun inspiration is seen here with these vintage cards!
Hope you feel inspired to create some great Christmas cards!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More Christmas Magic!

Last year I came up with an idea for a collaborative project called the Faux Family Album. I asked a bunch of great gals to participate and they did!!! I sent each person a vintage picture of a person that I bought from various antique shops. I asked each person to make a page in a photo album and on the back tell the story of that person. The pages I received back were just absolutely astounding. Just for fun, I sent them into the magazine Somerset Memories to see if they might be published, and luckily they wanted to feature our project in the magazine. The icing on the cake was that they asked me to write the article!!! What an honor!!! So, here is a picture of the cover of the magazine so if you are looking for it in the bookstore you can find it!
Here are the inside pages that feature our work! And lookee there under the title is "By Laura Duet!!!!" That is more Christmas magic for this month!!! Special things always happen in December it seems.
The only bummer was that they could not feature everyone's page in the magazine. Each page was truly a masterpiece!!!
If you are interested in finding the magazine, it should be in bookstores this coming week or you could go to the Stampington website to order.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Anna Griffin -Style Christmas

Do you know who Anna Griffin is? She is a paper designer (among other things). She has gorgeous lines of designer papers to use in scrapbooking, cardmaking, and just for general drooling purposes. Most of her designs are very vintage looking. This year she has some Christmas papers out that look very 1960's-ish. All of these cards have that Anna Griffin vintage feel to me.......Sorry that some of the scans are not up to snuff, I will be working on that in future posts.
Go here to see some of the great papers Anna has designed!

Great stuff, right????

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Night

It is Friday night and I am too tired to say much of anything, except I want to keep my promise of another wonderful Christmas image....for all you cowgirl and cowboy fans, here is a Christmas card worthy of a great big Yahooo!!!!!!! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beautiful Christmas ATC made by my friend Trish

The lovely, Nathalie at An Artist's Legacy has started a little bit of a new Christmas tradition, a Christmas blog tour. She was kind enough to list my blog as a stop on the tour. So since I am doing minimal home decorating this year, I will be sure to have a new vintage Christmas image on my blog almost every day leading up to Christmas. Please feel free to use any images you like in your art projects. Recently I have been lucky enough to come across some great vintage Christmas cards so I will start putting those up tomorrow.

I still have my head cold so I am going to bed early again tonight, but hopefully by tomorrow I shall be all recovered!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Magic

Christmas magic has already begun for me!!! Spent the evening with my Dad who is visiting from Bainbridge Island, Washington. We went to a used bookstore and he found a rare book he had been looking for. He bought me a beautiful two volume set of Bleak House by Charles Dickens which I am really looking forward to delving into. Then we went to a beautifully decorated restaurant for dinner. Afterwards we drove around, listened to great music and looked at Christmas lights. Yipee, it was fun!

Then I came home to an early Christmas present from my friends Kim and Julie! A lot of goodies along with a ticket to fly to Ohio to hang out with them for a weekend!! Think of all the fun we will have and all the art we can create! I am telling you it is like this every Christmas, magical things just happen!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Images

I was trying to wait until December 1st to put up any Christmas images, but I could not resist! This is a card I recently made using a vintage Christmas card image. I am going ape over vintage cards from the 1920's to 1960's. If anyone has a stash of them and does not want them, let me know!!! My collection has been multiplying quickly on its own though....

I am looking forward to making some blog entries over the weekend, but right now I am saddled with a bad head cold. Boo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So as soon as I feel better I will return to this site and start posting.

Thanks to everyone for all their kind comments about the Christmas banner. It is delightful isn't it??

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Like Christmas Morning!

I woke up this morning to see my new Christmas blog banner courtesy of Heather at Bluhm Studios! I just love it!!!!! Thank you Heather!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving - Famous People Edition

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!!! Last year I did a list of things I was thankful for.....this year I will do a list of famous people I am thankful for. Thankful for their art, their music, their writing or their entertainment (since this is my own little game I decided that the people did not have to be alive).....let me know who you are thankful for okay?
Mr. Rogers
Elizabeth Berg
Tim Holtz
Fannie Flagg
Dwight Yoakam
George Lucas
Steven Spielberg
The Polyphonic Spree
The Beatles
Ella Fitzgerald
Barbara Streisand
Rosie O'Donnell
Neil Armstrong
Doris Day
Carol Shields
Princess Diana
Rohinton Mistry
David Letterman
Guy Lombardo
Van Halen
The Who
Spinal Tap
Tina Fey
Dick Van Dyke
Julie Andrews
Carol Burnett
Walter Payton
Alex Zanardi
J.K. Rowling
Holly Hobbie
Rick Bragg
Ruth Reichl
Harrison Fischer
Anne Leibovitz

Mattie J. Stepanek
Patsy Cline
Loretta Lynn
Raul Malo
Mary Engelbreit
The Inventor of Tab

Charles Schultz
Renee Fleming
Johnny Cash
Kukla, Fran, and Ollie

Obviously this is not an all inclusive list...but off the top of my head, that is a pretty good start!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Lost Art

Grandpa Bates, Christmas 1967, 14422 Michigan Avenue, Riverdale, Illinois.

Yup, that is my Grandpa. He was such a great man! Beloved by many, and you can see the evidence of that with all the Christmas cards on the walls of his home!!! Nowadays sending Christmas cards has become a lost art. I love receiving Christmas cards, but over the years the number I receive is dwindling fast!

So, on the way to work this morning I was thinking wouldn't it be fun to have a little Christmas card cheer program! Here is how it works, you sign up on the blog here and email me at (so I can get your home address). Then I will make a list of all who want to participate and send the addresses to each of you. The plan is to make handmade Christmas cards to send to others starting December 5th. So as not to overwhelm anyone, if more than 10 people sign up then I will have groups of ten or so.

It will be fun to anticipate some homemade Christmas cards coming to our mailboxes, right??? Hope everyone thinks this is fun!

Edited on 11/18/07: This project is now closed. It will be a nice little cozy card sending project as we only have a few people participating. But that is okay, less pressure for all of us! Participating will be: Jane, Donna, Jennifer, Karen, Lorie, Nancy, and me!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

You Gotta Have Friends!!!

Okay, I don't want anyone to worry about me, but to tell this story correctly I have to tell you that yesterday was a day that I would not wish on anyone. Suffice it to say, I pulled a really stupid move and felt really bad about it. Bad enough to Boo-Hoo-Hoo, well, in swept my friend Jane and helped me to gain control over the situation. Then home to Mike for further help and hugs. So, everything is okay, but when I came to to work this morning Jane brought me this beautiful card and see over there, where my current book is listed, she brought me that book too!!! She knew I read about it on Lotus Reads' blog and she went and got it for me last night. I feel rescued and loved, and it is wonderful! So, thank you Jane for being sweet and such a good friend.

I am blessed to have friends like you all that visit me here!!! I am getting misty, but this is really a source of support, this blogging world! Now I am off to read my new book!