Finished! Wanna See?

Yes! It’s finished!

You all know by now that I was working on a challenge quilt. My friend, Kelly Cline, created a challenge for members of her Quilting Vintage! Facebook waaaaay back last winter. She had a set of vintage linens to divvy up, and she drew names for participants. I was one of the lucky ones.

You may also know that I kind of freaked out a little because all of the other participants are uber-quilters. I am not. After a brief panic, I decided to forge ahead with what I do best: make it into something else.

Here is the original napkin Kelly sent me. I forgot to measure it, but it was somewhere around 16″ square. It’s a lovely piece, and the whole set was probably quite beautiful once upon a time. I am quite sure the entire collection that Kelly shared, once finished by all the participants, will be amazing.

I cut this napkin in half diagonally, then cut half in half again. See if you can see the parts in the photo below.
What I started with: a napkin and this.

That napkin hung on my wall for months. I just wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it, but finally, I started pulling out things that fit the “feel” I was shooting for. (Does “feel” make sense?) From there I just tried to work intuitively, letting it tell me what it wanted to be. As I told you before, I really love working this way. It’s all-consuming and I spend a lot of time moving things ever so slightly this way and that, ripping them out, and doing them again, but oh, it’s so satisfying to feel like I’m letting the piece dictate what it is going to be. If you don’t work this way, I might sound a little kooky, but try it…

I am very blessed to have a couple of friends who are scions of patience when I am in the midst of a project like this. They tolerate 8,000 texts or emails asking, “What do you think about this?” and “Do I need more buttons?” They also encourage me when I need to be pushed. I am forever grateful to them…I am pretty sure they know who they are.

I’ve shown lots of sneak peeks on Facebook, and teased you along. But now….drum roll, please, it’s finished! I’m pleased to share “Substrata” with you.


When you realize that this little quilt measures somewhere in the neighborhood of 18″ square, you can imagine how tightly packed all the stuff is on it. Those buttons nearly sent me around the bend.

Below are some smaller photos showing different areas a bit closer:

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So, what do you think? Was she worth the wait?

Creativity Challenge–Junk Journal/SMASH book

Ah yes, this week’s creativity challenge was right up my alley. Our task was to start a junk journal or SMASH book. One of my absolute favorite things to do! There are loads of photos in this post, be forewarned!

One of the many choices of SMASH books available

Don’t know what I’m talking about? You can look here for a video from K&Co., the originators of SMASH books. You can also Google “junk journal” for some ideas. Basically, though, they are just notebooks to keep whatever you want. You can glue or tape in photos, magazine pages, tags, receipts, anything! You can also write in thoughts, ideas, memories, whatever.

I have done quite a bit of this sort of thing in the past. My mind gets pretty cluttered with wanting to remember times and places on top of the day-to-day “have-to-do” stuff. By scribbling and gluing and taping things in my journals, I am assured that I can come back to that thought without having to carry it around in my head. Here are some photos of one of my SMASH books that I made a couple of years ago:

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Here are photos of another I made:

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And one I used as a schedule of sorts. This may have been the first book I made. Can you tell I was scrapbooking a lot in those days? I’ve since made tons of these things, though, in various forms. They make wonderful gifts!

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One of my favorite tools to use for my books is a SMASH Stick. It is a pen at one end and a glue stick at the other…very handy! Unfortunately, the Target store I go to used to carry them but no longer does. I was pretty excited to find a blue one in Blick in Pasadena il_340x270.497599719_hz29last week, but sadly, someone else liked it better than I did and it didn’t make it home. You can find them on Amazon or at some Wal-Mart stores too.


I had no problem, then, starting a new book this week. I actually have more trouble stopping when I start SMASHing. It seems I like seeing what all is in my head. It’s sort of like that box of stuff Granny kept under her bed, you know? Little bits of useful stuff, memorable stuff, some things that mean nothing to anyone but her, and quite a lot of fluff and lint.

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This blank notebook came from the clearance bin at Michael’s a long time ago. I hated the cover, so I painted over it (and where the paint chips, and I now know it will, I will just glue something on top of it). I stuck in a couple of pages from my sketchbook and some other random things, just for fun. The cover needed something, so, just before I left my workroom last night, I ModPodged a bunch of stuff to the cover: a cut-open sheer bag, bits of lace and ribbon, some shiny leaves, and buttons. Since I was in a hurry, I really slopped it all on there, intending for there to be bubbles and wrinkles (yes, really, I swear).

I’ve had fun playing with this. Since I took the photos above, I’ve added more junk to my journal. I need to start taking food with me to my workroom, though…these things are one deep rabbit hole.

One thing that keeps popping up in my periphery is the idea of a bullet journal. Have you seen them? The link takes you to a video by the genius behind bullet journals, Ryder Carroll. It looks so easy! Easy, that is, after you’ve watched the video a couple of times, and checked Pinterest boards and Google for more information. The site defines the bullet journal as “…a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” Ahem. Yes, please. The randomly organized elements of this style are very appealing. My brain is “randomly organized” too.

My trial bullet journal

While I lovelovelove this idea, I did not want to go out and spend a bunch of money on a system that won’t work for me. I dug around in my empty journals and found this one to try it out in. I’ve so far filled in my index, February and March pages, the future log, and one collection. The whole system makes a lot more sense since I’ve started. We’ll see how I do. If it doesn’t work out, I can just rip out the pages and throw them away. Done!


On the planner idea, I’ve talked before about the love I have for the Erin Condren planner here. I absolutely adore it. (If you’re interested in buying one, by the way, let me know and I can give you a code for $10 off. You will be glad for it, they’re a bit spendy–but tough enough to take the abuse I dish out.)

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Another type of book that keeps popping up on my radar is The Happy Planner (Me & My Big Ideas). These are more planner/scrapbook than journal, but they can be a little of both. I also really like SN@p books (Simple Stories) too. These definitely lean more toward scrapbooks, but again, I think you could make them anything you want. I started one some time ago that was meant to be a day-by-day scrapbook thing, but didn’t get very far with it. In December, 2014, I started making a December Daily book too, although it’s not quite done. That was actually pretty intense and if I were to make another, I would set it up to do sometime other than during one of the busiest times of the year.

Daily SN@P! book
2014 December Daily








This is a challenge I will certainly revisit. I hadn’t worked on any books in a while and gosh, I really do love it. Books of all sorts: printed books, picture books, blank books, scrapbooks, made-up books, they’re all my favorite.

How about you? Do you like books too? What is your favorite?