Friday, August 31, 2012

Handwritten Letters

When was the last time you received a hand written letter in the mail?  Recently, while looking through some files, I found some old letters my English nana had written to me.  She rarely had anything to say on the phone, but give her a pen and paper and she would write pages and pages of small tidbits about her life, questions about mine, observations about the flowers and birds in her garden, and sometimes even poetry she had written.  Those letters are wonderful reminders of who she was and they are treasures to me.

Long gone is the time when handwriting was a subject in school and people posted letters to each other in the mail.... Everyone loves getting something in the mail.  It's way better than reading an impersonal text message or email.  There is something of the writer in a handwritten letter.  Time spent.  Their own distinctive hand.  Maybe even perfume or lipstick of a sweetheart...

In the spirit of handwritten letters, we are creating a letter-writing project!  It will be small.  It won't be chain-letters that curse you with a hex if you don't write 5 more letters.  It doesn't matter how long it is, just that you write it!  
The rules are simple:
1.  Write a letter to your assigned person.
2.  Use YOUR HANDWRITING and no computers.
3.  Include in your letter an enclosure of some sort (a news clipping, small photo, piece of fabric...)
4.  Send it by the assigned date.

That's it!  What do you think?  Break out your Mont Blanc pens and stationary and email us the following info at : (we will absolutely not share it with anyone but your assigned partner!)
  • First and last name
  • Address
Can't wait to hear from you!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Bits and Pieces Challenge

My studio is a mess right now.  My desk is covered with the remains of my last projects.  It's so bad there is no way I'd post a picture here. 
Don't they say a cluttered desk is a sign of a creative mind? 
That's what I tell myself anyway.
Several years ago when I was designing for Autumn Leaves, I created a scrapbook page for them that is still one of my favorites. I had decided to challenge myself to use only what I had laying on my desk. You know...the bits and pieces of other projects. 
Here is what I came up with.

Wow, I had fun! I had old book pages, printed tissue, watercolored papers, stamped images, an old painted stencil, discarded paper cuttings...The trick to making it all come together is to stick with just a few colors...too many and it gets scattered looking.  Also, give the crazy pieces some boundaries to stay within.  See how I created the borders?  Using a black and white photo helped keep the piece from becoming too over-powering.

I would LOVE to see some of yours!! Post a link!
warm wishes,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School Decorating and the vintage crisis hotline....

so i bought an orange chair.
a vintage orange chair.
a vintage orange grandma chair.
it even has a matching ottoman.

i may have fallen in your esteem at this point. who would buy an orange chair you might have asked yourself...especially THAT orange chair?

~i have considered blaming my purchase on the recent move of my daughter to college and the shopping trips we spent buying things for her first dorm room.
~it may also have something to do with this year is the first in 15 years i am not going back to school as a teacher, not decorating my classroom, not waiting at the door on that first day to welcome all the kids to share the wonder of the world with me.
~perhaps it is just because the darn thing is so comfy and that carries some decorating weight with me...

anyway, here it is~

my husband drove me to pick it up. it must be true love because he loaded it in the truck and drove me home, and carried it downstairs for me. as it sat there in the other room i had a moment when i would have called the vintage crisis hotline, hoping for some validation.

my daughters love it, tiny wants it in her room.
the boy said 'hideous' at first glance, then later in the evening he sat down in it and said 'its growing on me'

i assured them all i had a plan. i showed them this pillow from pillows4fun on etsy.
this is the color scheme i said. you'll like it.

then i showed them this photo and said, see orange chairs can be cool.
i want the family room to be a funky retro hang for the teenagers and their friends.
hope they are all not scared of the chair.

it will go perfect with my black world globe collection. this one is at $102.50 on ebay right now. who knew..
it will go with my vintage suitcases. this photo is from beephotography

i am also going to hang both my daughters portrait oils on one wall... should be wild. i already have a turquoise Formica game table.

add our vintage Nintendo 64 game system we have been collecting off ebay and this little orange mini fridge. who could say no?

here's to saying yes. its never too late to start choosing things that make you happy, creating a space that feels like you, and following a little different path.
even if it happens to include an orange chair.

all the best,
julie collings

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Junkers Delight (My Favorite Shops in Salt Lake.)

     As some of you may know from my previous posts. I Love Junk! Here are some of my favorite shops around town to find it.
 I think one of my favorite shops in town, that has such an eclectic mix of vintage, primitive, retro, and new items, where I score almost every time I visit is emilie jayne 801 South 800 East  Salt Lake City. Also it has some of the most reasonable prices of the many shops I frequent.

At this gem you usually find just as many great items out on their sidewalk as you do in their store.
If digging around through aisles of doors, rows of windows, bins of rusty handles and chippy painted knobs is your thing, then  Georges Demolition and Salvage is the place for you! It's the perfect place to find birdhouse parts, shelf parts, old sinks and anything else to fit your "Junking" needs. George's address is 470 E. 900 South, SLC, UT

Abode (1720 S 900 E Salt Lake City)
 also carries vintage, retro, unusual finds at reasonable prices. I tend to find something most every time I go, but did I happen to mention that I Love Junk! re-purposed, reused,  reinvented and recycled! 
Abode 33500024 1000797482
This picture doesn't do justice for this fun store

Second Hand Chic on 2006 S 900 E # 1 is another fun place to visit that not only has collectibles and vintage items, but also has a great selection of clothing (Retro and new/gently worn).
Second Hand Chic, Salt Lake City, Utah - VintageSecond Hand Chic, Salt Lake City, Utah - Vintage
Second Hand Chic, Salt Lake City, Utah - Vintage

If you happen to be in the west side of downtown there's a great shop called Elemente at 353 West Pierpont Avenue,  Salt Lake City. They mostly specialize in vintage/modern and retro but you're libel to find other various antique finds at reasonable prices. (Very much worth a trip downtown!)

I love the storefront and feel of West Pierpont
Home Again is a fabulous shop because it always has an array of great consignment, 
 AND, if you can't find something in their Sugarhouse store on 2100 S 1019 E Salt Lake City,
It's in a great thriving Sugarhouse location!
you can always find something at their Midvale store on 7490 Holden Street, Midvale.
Home Again
I love the old Farm building they found for their store! It's so charming!
 The latest "Junking" destination, Dianna in our art group turned me on to is The Old Flamingo 3474 South 2300 East, East Millcreek (A co-op of  like minded collectors and artists that create new re-purposed items out of  much outdated decor) (Often termed Junk!)

This picture doesn't show all of the plastic flamingos they have in the yard.
Old Flamingo
Here's a sneak peek inside the store.

Well guys and gals I hope you can find many treasures and inspiration in some of my favorite Salt Lake shops and share some of your favorite hangouts with me! I'd love to hear about some new fun "Junking" destinations, so please do tell if you have a favorite Salt Lake locale! 

XOXO & Happy Junking, Shannon

Monday, August 20, 2012

Color Matching Tool

The other day on Pinterest, I stumbled upon the neatest color tool.  Teresa McFayden had color matched her work-in-progress painting to Sherwin-Williams paint colors! It's called the Chip It! tool and you can get it HERE.

I had to give it a try with some of my work....

Not only can you color match your own artwork, but your photos, too!

Next I tried the Chip It! tool on some of my ribbon from my Etsy shop, which are loaded with color...
The Sherwin-Williams Chip It! color matching tool can be used on photos you find online, as well, plus you can save and organize your pics into albums, called Chipbooks.

I had a lot of fun playing with this tool!! 
Have a ball...

warm wishes,
Marilyn :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Playing With Plaster (Santos Sculpting with Stephanie Lee)

When I was a little girl I remember making mud cakes.  I would dig up the earth adding water from the garden hose, mixing the two elements like I was conjuring up a splendid feast.  I would gather things of nature...pretty leaves and flowers, anything I could gather with my small hands to decorate my muddy pies and cakes.  Although I loved making them my mom told me I would come home crying because I didn't like the feel of the crusted mud on my hands....Oh to be a child again!  
It's been a LONG time since I've played with mud, but this past weekend I gathered with a group of sweet women, and we played with a different kind of mud.  We played with a mixture of calcined gypsum, sand and water which we call plaster.  You can purchase the plaster at your local craft or hardware store.  Our lovely teacher, Stephanie Lee guided us through the steps and techniques required to construct a plaster and wood sculpture and with these simple materials and a few found objects we conjured up from our imaginations a personal Santos.  Way more fun than making mud cakes and I didn't even cry when the plaster crusted my newly manicured fingernails!

And this sweet girl, our teacher for two days,  truly she is as lovely as can be and is a wealth of infomation and artful goodness.  Stop by Stephanie's beautiful blog and sign up for her new e-WORKSHOP, Off The Chain that begins October 6th.   

Ta Da!  Here are the Santos that were created.

(Heidi Nebeker)

(Brookie Smith)
Check out Brookie's blog post about Sculpting Santos.

(Courtney Bird)

(Kellie Lewis)

(Julia Nebeker)
Our yougest student- only 10 years old!

(Carol Swallowcliffs)

(Diana Camomile Peck)

(Mine- not quite finished)

As you can see each Santos is very different- personal to each artist.  I love that.  It was good creative fun.  Stephanie taught us several things that we can create using the plaster and a few simple on-hand materials.  Plaster is such a fun medium.  Give it a try, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!

xo Lorraine

Monday, August 13, 2012

Colored Pencils

About Fourteen years ago I was a stay at home mom with three young children desperately looking for a creative outlet.  I tried several different things but nothing seemed to to be what I was looking for.  Then one day I saw this book,

  Colored Pencil Portraits, by Ann Kullberg.  It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.  I fell in love with colored pencils.  Colored Pencils are so much fun to work with and as a mom with young children I could color right along with my children.  As it happened a few months after I bought her book Ann Kullberg came out to the city I lived in taught a workshop.  She is an amazing person.  I learned so much from her.  I would highly recommend taking a class from her if you ever get the chance

Here is some of my work.

Or you can view my Portfolio here


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book Cover

Ok so can I brag a little bit?  My amazing sister Sarah is a part of a group called Enlighten.  They do emotional healing and just wrote a book called "Emotional Healing with Essential Oils" and they asked me to do the cover art!  The painting is mixed media and acrylics (of course I used book paper in there!) and the flower is a Roman Chamomile.  It was fun to do and I think it turned out pretty nicely....

Emotional Healing with Essential Oils

Head on over to their website and check them out!  If you like essential oils like I do, you'll love this book!

Happy Saturday to you!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012



I really wanted to share some creative juices in my post today.  But, I have a slight problem... my juices aren't flowing!  Early in July, I left for my first cruise to Alaska.  A gift from a dear, sweet, generous aunt - you want to join my family, don't you???  We (my husband and I) spent a week totally unplugged from phones, internet, computers, news.  It was bliss.  I didn't realize how "on" I was all of the time.  It felt good - a little too good!  I really wanted to take some amazing pictures and find some great local art to share.  But, I was so relaxed that I took very few pictures and just enjoyed the time with my husband.  It was the first time we have left our children, other than a quick weekend trip, in 17 years!  I was home for a short time, and then left for an annual "girl" trip with my aunts and cousins.  What a relaxing week of visiting, eating, watching movies, basking in the sun.  The best part - it is a week of hearing how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are, how amazing your children are,  it's like a yearly drug for my soul.  I need that week.  I rely on those women to boost my spirits.  How fortunate am I?  Very fortunate.  I'm telling you - if you don't have a group of good, kind, giving females in your life - GET ONE!  So, you see my dilemma with the juices.  I've been too busy being lazy and relaxed to get my juices flowing!

So, for my post today I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite artists.  Rodney White.

His art is amazing, and I love the messages within them.  I actually bought this piece for my Harley Davidson crazed husband.

Some of my other favorites are:

 Here is a video that I love!  Enjoy and make sure to visit Rodney's website!

Thanks for visiting!
A couple of youngsters in the Yukon!