I couldn't help breaking out the glitter set and making a total mess before I sent these out. Vermilion glitter for the hearts, sparkly white for the mermaid's pearl and the bee-wings, sparkly black for bee-fur and top hats.
You can download these in the post right before this one (here's the link, just in case.)
Are you in need of an eleventh-hour Valentine?
I made these to use as my own personal cards this year, and I thought it would be nice to share them here! You can use them as-is with vermilion hearts, or you can go a little glitter-crazy on the hearts like I did (I used five different kinds from the big Martha set.)
My favorite thing about these is the little bit of room for personalization. Within the name banners, of course, but also re: glitter choice. The warm silver glitter had a lovely old-timey effect, while classic red was so exuberant and, well, classic.
And even if you don't glitterize them, I think they're sweet just as they are (as seen in the first photo.) I printed mine on 4"x6" cream-colored postcard stock.
Please note: these are for personal use only, and are not to be sold or used for commercial purposes by any person or business, little or big.
Happy Valentine's Day, sweet peas!
Mailing & Making & Baking & Painting & Candy-making & More Mailing & Singing & Shivering & Grinching & Boxing & Wrapping & Hoping & Cocoa-ing. And wishing.
It's better to wish for all to be merry and bright than not, right?
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to everyone, near and far, who visits here.
I usually buy a wreath when we buy our tree (last year it was made of dozens of rosehips and so pretty.) But this year, since we live in the shadows of firs & cedars, and I couldn't stop thinking about Amy's beautifully disheveled wreaths, I thought I'd gather things and attempt my own.
I made it in the midst of the the busiest time of year for us - a span of a few weeks in which nothing remotely festive will happen if you don't fight for it, tooth & nail (I know lots of you can relate.) I laid down some kraft paper, hauled in my branches & berries, made some hot chocolate (gifted from one of my favorite girls), put on the Charlie Brown Christmas album, and wreathed myself into oblivion.
I didn't have anything to use as a base, so it was a tricky proposition (my first two attempts ended up being repurposed as lengths of garland.) Finally, though, I had something close to what I had imagined - a cheerily unkempt little wreath. I love how un-fussy it is, without trading exuberance -- I cannot do austere Christmas, no sir.
Now it's keeping company with lots of white lights, and the failed attempts & the little nicks on my hands were worth it. Just making it was a small gift in this mad-house time of year. And now I know a little more about making things with green things, which is always good.
PS: Thank you so very much for all of those overwhelmingly kind and generous comments & notes re: my XOXO talk! It makes me feel all the better about gathering my courage to do it.
My friend sent me this photo of the little girl & Beistle skeleton last week (image source here) and it made me happy because I took home the very same skeleton from the antique store the other day. He's hanging on the door & recently starred in some costumed snapshots (see below.)
On that note, I'm thinking about all the little boys & ghouls on the East Coast & hope that they (and their grown-up counterparts) are somewhere safe & warm & dry.
I hope everyone in the U.S. had a nice Independence day!
Ours was wonderful and quiet (except for the explosions that send Miette the cat spiraling into a mania I'm convinced is related to his previous life as a WW1 soldier.) I wore this same worn, stripey 30's dress last year, so I think it's my official July 4th dress now. Josiah grilled some really tasty things and we lazed in our backyard, enjoying the flowers and dinner and using our sparklers to pretend we are wizards.
I've been stuck on the idea of treasure boxes for a while. Probably my whole life, but especially the last little while. When I say treasure box, all I really mean is a small box filled with small things - as simple and wonderful as that.
For Josiah's Valentine this year, I got in my mind to make him a treasure box of sorts, one that told a story. I made a little collage on top of an old box I found, which came complete with a little key.
Inside, I gathered small curiosities that served as symbols of my affection and told bits of the story. Once I wrote it down, the story itself was included in a small, folded piece of paper tucked in with the odds & ends (a blackbird whistle, two miniature ivory dice, a beat-up blue toy car, and a skeleton key - which, together, sure seem like a recipe for a Tom Wait's song.)
It is a fairy tale of sorts about a magpie who steals the key to a girl's heart from a chain around her neck, only to be re-stolen by a ne'er-do-well fellow, who reunites the girl with her key and vows to win her heart fair and square.
We've given each other quite a few stories and pictures between the two of us, and they are the most special presents I feel I can get or give (although I'll never say no to a heart-shaped box of candy!). He loved it, and it made me so happy that I made him something this year.
I love Valentine's day a lot - of course, I love holidays in general. But Valentine's day is special to me, both for its proximity to my birthday (which falls on Valentine's eve) and all of its unabashed red-hearted, doily-covered exuberance. I also love the chance to mushily tell people how much I love 'em and that they're the apple of my eye, etc.
I was rifling through my small drawer of Valentine's ephemera, and I thought I'd pull out some of my favorite ones. The 3-D standing card above is definitely the nicest one I have...how could you improve on flowers, a sweet bird, a ship, honeycomb tissue, and a pair of scraggle-haired moppets?
I also have a soft spot for the dark-haired girl with the arrow at the top (variations on that little character show up in lots of Valentines from the time period, and I'm always drawn to them.) The grumpy blondie boy in the heart frame is pretty good, too. A pouty little grump after my own heart!
Yesterday I sat down with all the little odds & ends I needed to put together for Valentine mailing. I had parceled out the afternoon specifically for writing notes, stashing candy, and wrapping little gifts since I wanted to make sure everything could be in the mail with enough time to reach my scattered sweet-peas. It was such a nice way to spend a few hours!
I'm still working on my gentleman's Valentine for the year - so far he has requested caramels, but I've got another idea or two up my sleeve.
I had an idea this year that I would wrap all our gifts in white or kraft paper tied with pretty colored yarn, all finished off with a bouncy pom pom or two.
I don't have a tool (and was too anxious to get started that I didn't even want to cut out the cardboard rings that many tutorials call for) so I used this method. It worked beautifully, and it was so fun to experiment with different weights of yarn and see the end effect on the pom pom. The thick wool roving yarn was my favorite - it made those ultra-fluffy light blue ones up there. I love how they look on a tiny box!
Making these was so much fun!
I ended up caving on my idea and using lots of colored, pretty wrapping paper because some of the little folks I know (and probably grownups, too) probably find my kraft parcels a little austere for Christmastime. We treated ourselves to some beautiful rolls of Snow & Graham paper (the penguins, cupcakes, and candy boxes!) and so there are lots of different, brightly wrapped packages under the tree.
But there are also some little brown paper packages. And lots of pom poms!
Merry Christmas & Happy holidays to all of you who visit here!
May the days ahead be merry & bright.
Remember back when I asked the cosmos for a Miette Sweater ?
Well, a lovely & talented lady named Jean made me one, and it's perfect. Down to the smallest funny little button-placket detail, it's Miette's woolen peppermint goodness through-and-through.
Since I have such a gem on my hands now, I thought it was only fitting that I should continue continue my proud tradition of dressing as a character absolutely nobody will recognize, and be little Miette for Halloween 2011.
As suspected, nobody knew who I was, but that's fine! Without the perfect jumper and Ron Perlman on my arm, who can blame 'em?
We didn't have anything planned for the nation's birthday (it kind of snuck up on us) but on the spur of the moment, I threw up some paper lanterns, string lights, and arranged a little outdoor dinner party for us two.
The gentleman grilled some amazing turkey burgers, and we had strawberry lemonade and a classic layer cake for dessert.
I changed his mind about potato salad (it can be good!) and we had lots of sparklers.
To me, it was pretty much perfect!
(Two differnet types of orange geum, "Borisii" (the single) and "Red Dragon" (the double) nestled with white yarrow and peach foxglove)
I mentioned in my last post that I've been keeping my first flower garden (well, a shade garden and a sun garden) this Spring and Summer. Everything's starting to bloom like crazy, so I need to take photos of them in their actual outside beds. In the meantime, I realized I've accumulated a lot of photos of my very favorite flowers on my camera.
(Top Left: Mango Lassi Geums, Top Right: Dwarf Peach Geum (I'm not sure of the name) with Astilbe buds and leaves, Bottom Left: Red Dragon again (from a plant that blooms true red) with crimson Ranunculus, and Bottom Right: A petite bouquet for a friend's birthday, more little Mangos mixed in with some golden/orange Ranunculus)
Geums (also called Avens, and Grecian Rose and probably lots of other things) are the sweetest flowers I've ever seen. There are double and single petaled types, different sizes and colors, but all their drowsy heads bob on the same sort of slender, fuzzy stems. I fell in love so hard, I've ended up with at least 5 varieties
I'm so glad to have learned about them now - they make me so very happy. From poking around the internet, it seems like they're much more common in England than in the U.S., and I'm coveting lots of the varieties they have across the ocean.
For now, I'll just keep staring dreamily at the little collection I have!
My desk and small parts of my life are being taken over by the trappings of Valentine's day...
Which isn't really such a bad thing, now is it?
Of all the holiday doodads, I think I might like Valentine's accoutrement the best. Red? Doilies? Hearts? Candy? Yes on all counts, please!
For that reason, I've always liked being an almost-Valentine baby (my birthday is the day before - lucky 13!)
This year, I think I've assembled some good supplies. Thanks, in part, to the fact that Paper Source finally carries a lovely warm red envelope/stationery color (they call it Persimmon). I was indorinately happy when I discovered this!
The only hitch is that I keep, um, nibbling the candy meant for my Valentines. Two boxes of conversation hearts down already! For shame.
Happy Friday to you!
A Very Happy Christmas to you!
1.) Christmas deer pin - a present from one of my favorite little girls
2.) The makings of bootleg filling for my faker Candy Cane Joe-Joe's
3.) Parcels getting ready to fly back East
I love how much my favorite color combination shows up this time of year!
This was my first year not returning to the East Coast for Christmas, and staying here in Portlandtown with my gentleman and my gentleman-cat. It was bittersweet, because it's hard to be away from our families and friends back home. At the same time, it was nice and simple and sweet to be here in our chosen city, with our own little tree in our little house.
Warm and merry wishes to everyone!
- Christmastime at ye olde Black Apple homestead -
- A pile of little packages waiting to go out
- A giant Uline box of mailers
- A Josiah working away very hard !
The shop has been put to sleep for our annual Christmas break, and we're getting the last orders out the door today.
Then it's just baking, present-wrapping, Rudolph-watching, and toddy-drinkin' for me!
Yesterday I made sure to take my own advice (namely, #10), and so we set aside the afternoon to fetch and decorate our tree. As always, there seemed to be a curiously plentiful amount of little mushroom ornaments in the ornament box.
When did I procure all these mushrooms?
We'll be at the Crafty Wonderland Holiday Sale at the Convention Center in Hall C (a different hall than last year, so I wanted to make sure to give everyone the heads up!). Here's a vendor list and map o' the sale. Look for us in booth #118, next door to The excellent Berkleys.
This is going to be a big, busy weekend - my mom is coming in to town for a visit, and then my Powell's signing is Monday. Goodness gracious!
Happy weekend to you!
Halloween is almost upon us! In honor of the day, here are some excellent postcards from my favorite Flickr archive of old Halloween goodness.
What are everyone's costume plans?
I think I might be a 1920's Ice Princess. I have a silver capelet, silver dress, silver shoes. We shall see. The fella and I have kind of dropped the ball on ol' Halloween this year, but we usually do it up. I'm sure we'll be back to our old tricks next year!
A few other items I wanted to mention:
- Ye olde Black Apple Halloween Movie Fest post from a few years back. An oldie but a goodie!
- My soon-to-be-released (Nov. 2!) new book, The Paper Doll Primer, got a nice little write-up in the LA Times yesterday!
There's also a peek at one of the many characters in the book (she's a misfit among misfits). You can see/read it right here!
- There seemed to be a great deal of confusion about when/where the paintings and dolls I've blogged about recently are for sale. So, just a refresher (though if someone is missing the update announcements/mentions, they probably won't see this).
Happiest Halloween & Happy weekend to everyone!
This year, we wrapped some of our packages up with a big roll of floral vintage wallpaper I found at the antique expo in the Fall. With bright red grosgrain ribbons (and a tiny mushroom or two), it looked very sweet and festive with the more traditional Christmas reds and whites.
We are heading to the Southlands for Christmas with our families today!
I cannot wait for two weeks of (desperately needed) doodling and reading and nerdy jokes and lots of big hugs and merriment. We will be back in Portland on the first of the New Year, and the Black Apple elves wish you all the warmest and happiest of holidays.
Amy and I had such a fantastic time in Seattle! Thank you to the sweet people who came to chat and gaze at pretty fabrics and get your books signed.
Things have been wildly busy around Black Apple dollhouse - so much so that I was concerned we might forget to get a Christmas tree! Happily, we did manage to carve out the time last week. We got a pizza, hauled out the ornaments, hung the lights and had a good old-fashioned decorating party to the sound of the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack.
I had some new/old things I'd squirrelled away from recent trips to the antique store:
Josiah and I both had secret/semi-secret ornaments for each other. This is a tradition from my mom, and I love it so. Unrelated to that sweet tradition, but we also realized that we have a grove's worth of mushroom ornaments.
Happy as a little bear and fox who are well fed and easily bewitched by tiny glowing lights.
Speaking of foxes, we saw finally saw Fantastic Mr. Fox this weekend. How wonderful! The perfect December movie-date. It was beautiful (the tiny artwork! the clothes! the wallpaper!), funny, and much more emotionally resonant than most movies I've seen about humans lately. It also had an unexpected layer of subtle cultural commentary, about the way we live with our modern predicament and the struggle to make things, well, fantastic in world that sometimes tries so hard to squash that impulse. An excellent and heartening film from Mister Anderson - much more a Tenenbaum than a Zissou.
It was a perfect day, perfectly spent. I felt so lucky to be surrounded by sweet people all day long, and inordinately happy that they let me cook for them.
And I should add that I'm now an absolute convert to Nigella's brined turkey.
Me with a copy of Mad Monster Party (which we had playing on mute on the television so people would know who I was dressed as!), and Josiah looking dashing.
A small example of just how easy it is to get our house ready for Halloween.
We also carved our pumpkins, marveled at their flickering faces, drank hot cider, laughed at our friends' great costumes, listened to Psychedelic Jungle with a two, four, and seven year old, handed out candy to sweet neighbor kids, and saw A Serious Man.
Yes, sir...It's a good holiday, that Halloween.