Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Like You, 2011

I've been thinking all week about 2011 and how amazing it's been to me.  In my head, I've written this comprehensive post rounding up everything I've done but in reality, the weather has been WAY too pretty for me to spend much time in front of the computer thus no grand end-of-the-year post has been written.  And I'm OK with that :)  It truly has been an unbelievably good year for us, one which I can't ignore so I'll attempt a round-up of those unforgettable highlights.
It was this time last year that I was gearing up to release Bifftastica to the world.  I was nervous but above all excited and you were more than welcoming to my crafty superhero persona! A few lines were released, most notably Verde Squared and my Apron Bags!  Ol Biff was seen at a few shows this year including WoodyFest, Blue Dome, Dustbowl, Indie Emporium and of course Alliday!  I taught some crafty business classes with friends and took some gigantic steps in my creative life, many of which you'll see results of in 2012.

And speaking of Alliday, it was amazing.  So much so that I'm still trying to process it all!  It is a HUGE highlight from my year that warrants its own post which will come soon :)

The mister and I ran away to the woods several times over the past year and are already planning our jaunts for next year.  We celebrated our third wedding anniversary, camped with friends (can't believe we only went camping once this year!), explored Robbers' Cave and spent many weekends in the woods with my family.

In addition to our weekend woodsy trips, I was able to run away to Chicago for Renegade and hop on a plane to visit my sister in LA!

This year I also completed my fourth year of teaching ESL.  Every semester I learn something new about myself and teaching.  Eh, who am I kidding, I learn something new every day!  :)  I don't talk too much about that aspect of my life on here but it is such an important part of who I am that it must be mentioned on my round-up.  I did, however, decide to document my teaching outfits this past semester which was challenging, fun and something that I'm toying with doing again.  Maybe ;)

I took in as much of Tulsa as I could.  The Drillers, Oktoberfest, Wild Brew, Fab Lab, The Flea Market, Tulsa Plus and The Pearl District were just some of the fun toys we played with in town.  I fall in love more with Tulsa every. single. year.

And how could I forget the day my girl became a star?

Looking back over just the things I have written about amaze me and then to think of all the moments I didn't write about well, they overwhelm me with all of their goodness.  It's been a hell of a great year and I'm honored it was so good to me.  To you, 2011, and to the future!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Staycation!

Our holidays have been more fantastic than I could have hoped for!  We spent the majority of Christmas Eve and Day in Tulsa and Broken Arrow with my family and the rest in Okemah for a quick stay with the in-laws.  The mister and I are using up the rest of our vacation days this week for a staycation and won't be back at work until after the new year!  Hooray!  It's VERY rare that I have such an extended time off so you better believe that I'm milking it for all it's worth! 

On Christmas Eve, we packed up the photo wall we made for Alliday and set it up at my folks for some family photos before we cut it up for other projects.  Our family may have had too much fun with it ;)
And finally, I'd say that my dad outdid Santa this year.  He pulled my mom's childhood bike out of storage, had it restored and surprised her with the help of my Papa on Christmas Eve.  It was one of those magical Christmas moments you know you'll never forget.
Things may be a little quiet over here for a few days but know I'm busy planning big, exciting things for 2012!  Hope your holiday season is delightfully wonderful!  

Until later!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pop Up Shop Goodness!

You would think that by now, I'd be done with my Christmas shopping.  Well I'm not.  Not even close.  It's embarrassing actually.  I plan to fix that tonight though at the Deco District Pop Up Shops tonight!
Along Boston between 5th & 6th Streets, you'll find ten well-stocked local stores that have set up temporary shops for the month of December for your holiday shopping needs!  Every Wednesday is a 'Winter Wednesday' complete with carolers, Santa and good deals at nearby restaurants!  There's typically a fun class held at the Indie Emporium shop as well!  Tonight you can learn about beer brewing!
To be honest, I've barely ventured past the Indie Emporium shop but tonight I plan to hit them all!  I hope they're prepared for my sister and me!  ;)

I am a bit partial to the IE shop though since it's ALL handmade, since many of our Alliday Artists have their work there, and since I've got a few goods tucked away in there as well!
Sharing the IE shop is Hood's shop; a place where I could easily get into lots of trouble!  I've got a soft spot for the mugs but there's a few other pieces I'm eyeing as well!
Recognize these guys?  Apron bags, bank bags AND wine bags!
Need stocking stuffers?  I've got switchplates aplenty at the shop for you!  (You can also find more of these guys at Ida Red!)
Remember, the shops are ALL open until the end of December and would love to see your lovely faces.  
Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

One of Those Outfits: Kristmas Party!

Alliday was this past Saturday and it blew me out of the water!  I'm still trying to take in all its goodness and once I do, I'll be sharing a full recap!  Until then, here's a little outfit I threw together last weekend for our friends' annual 'Kristmas' party!
This is a dress I've had since my high school years.  It's another one of those ones that I will never part with, regardless of my size.  The back of the collar mimics a sailor's collar.  I believe it's hand knit and mid-sixties.  It's seen better days in a few areas but I think it will last me another ten years, at least :)
I actually took some time to do my hair!  As I've gotten older, I've learned some tricks on styling my dead, straight hair.  This really doesn't take much time to do, even though it may look so.  I'm just a lazy hair person so I rarely do anything to it!  Perhaps I'll do one of those resolution deals to jazz up the locks a bit in 2012 ;)
I had a $10 off card to Gap so I quickly ran in the day of the party and found some black and red glittery hose to wear (which of course you can't tell from the photo) with these KILLER vintage shoes I picked up last year at an estate sale in my hood.  $2 and they fit me like a glove.  In fact, everything I snagged from my multiple trips to that sale fit like they were made for me!  I can't believe I waited as long as I did to bust these bad boys out!
I kept the jewelry minimal this time around.  I wore some actual diamond earrings I've had forever (realizing I need more gold earrings!), a gold belt that came from the great beyond and this knight hat pin that once belonged to my Great Granny.
Some toddies were drank, some Dirty Santa was played and lots of fun was had with friends!
It was fun getting dolled up for an evening, leaving work behind and enjoying some time with my crazy, but wonderful friends :)

My sister is flying in to Tulsa tonight to spend the holidays with us!  I couldn't be more excited!  Hope your holiday season is going fabulously well!  Until later!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis the Season for ALLIDAY!

Miss me?  I've been working my tail off preparing for the Second Annual Alliday Show!  Last year, I decided that Tulsa needed more opportunities for handmade shopping and for some crazy reason, I decided to take that task on myself!  Last year's June show went beautifully and I was so excited to do it again...so I did but this time in December and it's THIS SATURDAY!!!

It's grown so much since last year and I CAN'T WAIT to see it all come together!  This year we're offering 50 free swag bags to the first prompt folks in the door, free gift wrapping by Halfway Home Greyhounds, a reeeeeeeally fun photo wall (bring your cameras!) by the creative Prairie Hive and my mister, a raffle for a 'tricked out' craft table from the incredible Fab Lab (I want this thing SO bad!) and so, so much more!  Oh, and did I mention that we have over 80 artists from Oklahoma and surrounding states?  It truly is going to be the place to start, finish and/or supplement your holiday shopping!  And it's shopping that you can feel good about!

I wish to invite you, everyone you know and the spirit of the season to come hang out with us this Saturday!  I've already handed my wishlist over to the mister and had a blast perusing what will be there!  Ignore work for a bit and make your own wishlist!  ;)
Here's a few Alliday related snippets of my life from the past few weeks!  

We had a ridiculously enjoyable artist Meet & Greet a few weeks ago at Lot 6 Art Bar where I had the opportunity to meet many of the talented and creative artists!  It was a wonderful (wonderful, wonderful) day!
My mister and Prairie Hive have been working together to make a little something just for you!  This project automatically makes me smile every time I look at it :)
This past weekend, I started filling up our killer swag bags!  I jokingly told my fellow artists that I should have asked for fifty-one items so I could keep one of everything for myself!  Joking, kinda ;)

And yes, I created some bizarre contraption to help the filling process!  Worked quite well up until the end when the bags became too heavy with all of the goodies in them!
I'd truly love to see each and everyone of you out there!  Feel free to tell the world!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Gift for Baby E

Yesterday I mentioned the wonderful make:Tulsa group and the people it has allowed me to grow valuable friendships with.  One of those special people, Somer of SomerKnits, is expecting her first little one very, very soon so a handmade shower was had!  With my crazy schedule, I was unable to make the festivities but I did find some time to make her a widdle gift for her widdle bundle known only now as Baby E.  (How baby-friendly does that barb-wire look in the background?!  Ha!)
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about kids or babies except that I used to be one.  Since the gender of her bundle is unknown, the gift needed to work for anyone!  I decided to make a tactile pillow with 1/26th of an alphabet lesson on it ;)
I had SO much fun creating the big and little E and sewing them on!  I think I may have to try something like that again in the future!  The pillow was made with some of my vintage polyester fabrics and was super-duper reinforced so Baby E can't tear it apart in the future! 
I left small hidden surprises to touch and feel like the edging of some ric-rac, the end of the fuzzy polyester and a pocket for the little E to live on.
I made three ric-rac tabs (also ridiculously enforced) to pull and bite on also allowing for mommy to hang up (and away from baby!) if she ever desires to.  I even thought that the little pocket could someday hold chompers for the tooth fairy :)
Is it perfect?  No.  Did I have a wonderful time making it for a special friend and her little human?  Hell yes :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Tulsa Fave: Stamp Making at Fab Lab!

I consider myself very lucky to have found a like-minded group of creatives that I also consider to be close friends.  A little while back, I joined the group make:Tulsa which is a group of about 15 people with active, creative businesses.  We support each other, get involved in community events, volunteer together, host classes and so, so much more.  At least once a month we gather to discuss a whole range of topics and lately we've been meeting at the jaw-droppingly amazing Fab Lab!
Fab Lab is a worldwide organization that began at MIT and had its first locations pop up in third-world countries where the community was given the tools to create what was needed to make their towns thrive.  All of the locations are connected so what you design at one Fab Lab can be made at any Fab Lab anywhere in the world.  
So what makes a Fab Lab special?  Their state-of-the-art equipment accessible to anyone.  Ever hear of a 3-D printer?  They've got that.  Have designs for something floating around in your head?  If you can draw a straight line, you can build it at a Fab Lab.  I've seen so many things here that I can't even begin to explain but I know that the way I view the impossible has changed!  
For our November make:Tulsa meeting, Fab Lab taught us how to make rubber stamps with our logos!  I brought my most simple logo, designed by the talented Pop Prints and often seen here, for my stamp.  Each of us was given a laptop for the evening, taught the basic steps for manipulating the image to prepare it for the stamps and was then directed to one of the magical machines!  (Since my brain can't comprehend all that they are capable of at Fab Lab, I've decided it's all due to magic ;)
After our images were ready to go, we were sent to this stinky machine (seriously, burned rubber stanks!) and took our turns getting our logos etched in rubber!
It was quite fascinating to watch.
And a few of the finished products!  We had such a good time with this activity and I know many of us plan to go back and make more!
And that 3-D printer I mentioned?  This (thing?) was made in it!  You can make ANYTHING in it.  ANY.THING.  Ask them to show you the working, movable wrench they made in it.  My brain just can't comprehend it all!
And this large guy, not made in the 3-D printer but made in the Shop Bot, another crazy machine that intimidates me ;)  It was also responsible for the Christmas Tree seen in the first photo.  Rumor has it that Fab Lab will be raffling off a custom-made 'tricked out craft table' at Alliday made by the Shop Bot!  I plan on entering that drawing a million and one times.
So have I used my stamp yet?  You betcha ;)  In fact, the mister and I stamped our hearts out the following night.  Don't be surprised if you end up with one of these cards in your mailbox soon!  The colors weren't chosen for Christmas but rather because my favorite color is green and the mister's is red!  
  If you're in Tulsa (or in any of the other 150 cities that a Fab Lab is in) and find yourself near 7th & Lewis, I encourage you to stop in, take a tour and learn how you can make whatever you've dreamed of!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Making Traditions

I'm with the rest of you - I cannot believe December is already here!
 We had an absolutely fabulous Thanksgiving weekend which I desperately needed to snap me out of my funk.  We ran away to the in-laws' land in Okemah where we ate too much delicious food, imbibed some spirits, danced for hours in the kitchen and had an all-around perfect time.  
After a few days in the country, we returned to our mid-century, mid-town home and cleaned.  And cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.  With Alliday only SIXTEEN days away (!!) and my time dedicated to it, I knew the only chance for a true cleanup around the house and holiday decorating would be the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  So clean, organize and decorate we did.
 The bulk of our decorations reside in our sitting room which has been home to one of our large fish tanks, my great-granny's record player, my Mimi's old chairs, the mister's beer brewing goods and his musical toys.  We took on the grand task of relocating the tank into the living room (my poor back wasn't quite ready for that task) and now have more room to play around with rearranging...a favorite pastime of mine!  For now, the sitting room is a sit-and-admire-the-tree room.  We'll see what it becomes in January ;)
 Growing up, we never really had a tradition of when we put up the tree, just that we did it together but for the past few years in our own household, the mister and I seem to have started our own tradition of putting our decorations up Thanksgiving weekend.  Will it stick?  I have no idea but for now, I love our little tradition together :)

Do you have holiday traditions around your home, new or old? When do you think a tradition becomes a tradition?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inspiracion de Robert Brady

Inspiration.  What is it?  Something that can be googled?  Something found on Pinterest?  Something that you have to schedule in to find?  To me finding inspiration is a pure moment that cannot be forced nor forgotten, something I think many of us tend to forget.

When I was twenty years old (more than a few years back), I packed up my bags and spent part of my summer living in Mexico while studying the Spanish language and the Mexican culture.  I lived in a tiny, tiny village called Tepotzlan which is just south of Mexico City.  It was my first extended trip out of the country and a life changing experience for me.  

We would often grab a cab or take the bus to the neighboring, and larger, city of Cuerna Vaca.  It was there that I experienced my first earthquake, actually!  But more importantly, inspiration ran straight into me there.  
On a school day trip, we visited la casa y museo de Robert Brady.
Born in Ohio, Robert Brady studied fine arts, traveled the world and begin collecting.  He collected art that spoke to him, art that represented the places he saw, art that would surround his home in Cuerna Vaca where he settled down in the early sixties.
Once inside of his house, I never wanted to leave.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I had to be forced to leave!
These are the actual photos I took while touring through.  I'd have to wait for everyone to leave the room, snap my pictures and then would take in every. single. thing.
For me it was the vivid colors, the organized collections, the representations from ALL over the world, the perfection.  The everything.
I often think of this house and how I felt while there.  It inspired me but it also touched me deeply.  Can a house do that?  It did to me.  
Should you ever find yourself in central Mexico and need something to do (happens often, eh? ;) visit Cuerna Vaca and take in the collections and color that Robert Brady left for us.  
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