delicious autumn anticipation

Have you had a chance to see all the amazing Artful Bag ATC's my ladies created this month? They are all so wonderfully talented and just simply lovely lovely people. A few of our ladies from the east coast are dealing with that horrible hurricane so we might not hear from them for a while. Let's hope that they are all safe and sound. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

When I looked at the calender stuck to my fridge this morning I was almost surprised to find it still said August. I have been happily immersed in Autumn anticipation. Hunting for fall magazines, crafting Halloween goodies and prepping for Autumn blog parties.

artful bag challenge atc swap

Thank you to all the lovely ladies who played along for the second Artful Bag Challenge ATC swap. I can't believe we just finished another round of our challenge themes. Just one more round to go.

This month I swapped cards with 2 lovely ladies and what an amazing swap it was.

These are the 2 cards I sent out.

I made a Bag Fairy for Karla and a Carpet Bag for Diane.

For each card I also made a bag to hold the card.

The ATC sits inside and the bag closes with mini magnets.

These are both made from scrapbook paper and I made up my own template.

I received both of my partners' cards today.

This package came from Diane of  Dianie Mac Designs.

I already fell in love with the Halloween colors and Diane even treated me to the season's first bag of candy corn!

If you're not familiar with Diane's work you are in for a treat. She creates wonderfully whimsical clay art with a holiday theme, especially Halloween and Christmas.

Diane created this witch bag ATC just for me! What a treat! It's truly magical and amazing. I feel so honored to receive a piece of her art. I just love it.

Thank you so much Diane!

My other swap partner is Karla from Sketchbooks ATCs Mail ArtKarla and I were ATC swap partners last December. When I was a person short for my Artful Bag ATC swap and I didn't have a partner, both she and Diane offered to swap with me.

Karla's beautiful ATC came with all these wonderful goodies, including postcards and mini pieces of handmade art.

What's amazing about Karla's ATC  is that it's actually a bag! And it opens up to reveal more treasures tucked inside. Each section is decorated with a unique design and held a little surprise!

Everything about it is feminine and sweet and makes me think of a lovely afternoon tea. Karla in fact tucked in a little bag of  Perfect Peach tea inside which I know has very special meaning for her.

Thank you so much for creating this just for me Karla.

I feel so lucky to receive 2 very special bags from 2 lovely ladies, both amazing artists. Thank you Diane and Karla for a wonderful swap.

Please feel free to link up your ATC bag post here so everyone can see your lovely creations. You're also welcome to add your photos to the Artful Bag Challenge Flickr page anytime.

I hope everyone enjoyed their swap. Thank you again for playing.
We'll be back next month for another Playing With Paper theme.

fall magazines to inspire

Our weather here has been in the news a lot lately. Like the rest of the country we have had unusual weather this Summer but fortunately for us it has been cooler than usual. I really feel bad for those of you getting those mad heat waves, especially when you normally don't. We have had a total of 5 days of 100+ degree weather this season. Our average is 23 days according to the weather guy. So I'm enjoying it and I cautiously look ahead to what the rest of the year's weather brings.

It's nearly the end of August and you know what that means?

It means the first Fall magazines are starting to hit the stands. Yay!!

Romantic Country actually had their issue out a month ago and one of the features is this enchanting white house all dressed up for Fall and Halloween.

Whenever I see an all white kitchen, like the Practical Magic kitchen, I'm so tempted to start painting my cabinets a creamy ivory. Then reality sets in and I realize one, how much work that would be, and two, it really wouldn't be practical given how my husband has an aversion to wiping up spills. But I can dream.

The Better Homes and Gardens Halloween magazine has the same 2 pumpkin theme on the cover every year. It's a nice mix of stylish Martha Stewart inspired decor and more colorful child friendly themes and crafts.

This year they even did this amazing Autumn Mad Tea Party!

I thought I would just tempt you guys with more early Halloween stuff to go out and spend your money on :)

I have also stopped painting my walls for a few days. It seems to keep giving me a yucky headache so I'm taking a break and catching up with my other projects for now. I'll be back soon with my Artful Bag Challenge ATCs and one of these days I really need to get back to painting on canvas again.

Have a beautiful day.

Oh and I couldn't wait anymore...I was waiting until next week to bring back my Fall banner from last year but with all the Fall related posts I've been doing I just couldn't wait much more. Now I'm all set for Celia's Gypsy Dreams party!

And.....there's lots of room around the kitchen table so come and join me again for the Practical Magic blog party next month!

some decorating and a new broom

I love love my new walls (well the ones I finished painting so far). I was afraid it looked too much like the old color at first but once it dried and I got it on an entire wall I really loved it. It's just a little greener and more vibrant than the Butternut and makes all the my dark brown furniture pop. Happy happy! Oh if only the paint didn't give me a headache. But it's worth it.

Have you been to Pier 1 lately? They have some really wonderful Halloween stuff out right now. I had to get this glittery witchy broom to add to my collection. I love the crooked handle. Here it is against the new paint which doesn't look as vibrant here but you can see the greener tone. Very Owensy I think!

I also couldn't resist this witchy boot ornament and a few other cute things that decided to follow me home... this adorable couple that's actually about to take a trip to their new home.

All this painting and moving stuff around put me in the mood to bring out my favorite design and decorating books again. I love so many different styles that I finally gave up on picking one particular one.

My biggest inspiration usually comes from these 3 design styles. I love the eclectic mix here in my home state of California, from Bohemian San Francisco to the Spanish flavor of Southern California. Old world and modern Paris...I love both. And New Orleans as you might know is an obsession of mine. The mix of  colonial Spanish and tattered French decadence in the Vieux Carre speaks to my inner gypsy. So I'm revisiting my old books and magazines again, looking for a little inspiration to spruce up my little place.

Hope you're having a beautiful weekend!

atc swap reminder and new paint color

Just a quick reminder for my Artful Bag Challenge atc swappers. If you haven't  already mailed your card out to your partner you should be getting ready to mail in the next few days. We will be posting on our blogs on the 25th.

I finally decided on a color for my walls and actually bought paint today. After months of dreaming about something completely different from what's on there now, I went with one that's not too different after all.

I've had this color on my walls for about 9 years. It's called Butternut by Martha Stewart and maybe you can tell from that shade and from my dark wood furniture that my inspiration came from, where else? The Owen's living room in Practical Magic.

Image from Victoria Magazine October 1998

My living room still has the same espresso and sage color scheme as the PM house, down to the brown sofa, leather arm chair and honey colored drapes. And no matter how much I change things around I always end up going back to these favorite colors, especially when Autumn comes around and I start decorating for Halloween.

I watched the movie again the other day (probably the 387th time) and realized how much I still love everything about that house. So I ended up with another Martha Stewart color called Malted which is a little bit deeper and greener than the Butternut. I thought about going almost white, like a pale blue gray but I think I just love warm golden shades too much.

I also learned something new when I went to Home Depot to buy my paint. Now I always knew you can have any color mixed from any brand of paint. If you like a shade from a particular line you can have it mixed in any of  the brands of paint available. I love Martha's colors but I went with Glidden paint which is a little cheaper. What I didn't know is that Martha's line of paint IS Glidden, relabeled with her brand. The nice man mixing my paint told me this when I asked what the difference was between the two. So I was able to save a little and still got not just Martha's color but basically the same paint.

We'll see how it all turns out tomorrow.

Hope you're having a great week so far!

the witches are in

For me Fall can never come soon enough and lately it has felt almost like Fall here in Tomatoland. It's been an unusually cool summer for us despite the fact that yesterday was close to 100. But I'll just ignore that.

 All I can think about are pumpkins and crows and witchy hats. By the way did you see that beautiful full moon last night? Definitely a sign that Autumn is just around the corner.

Just in case you missed my last post I'd like to officially invite you to the 2nd Annual Practical Magic blog party on September 24. I have a separate page just for it and I would love to have you come and join me again. You can click on the button up there at the top and it will take you to the party page.

I'm also really excited about a couple of great Fall events being put on by my blog friends this year. Celia is having a Gypsy Dreams party next month, Wendy is hosting a Halloween Tin Swap and JoAnne is hosting a Halloween Matchbox Swap. So many wonderful ways to start off the season!

One of my favorite yearly rituals is to start checking the shops for Halloween merchandise. Michaels usually puts theirs out right after the 4th of July. I was there last week and it looked like they had most of it out. I have so much Halloween stuff that I rarely find anything I need to add to my collection but it's just so much fun to be surrounded by all that glittery orange and black!

Another shop I love to visit is HomeGoods. The other night I was treated to a whole section filled with Autumn and Halloween goodies. I love seeing the displays before everyone gets their hands on them because by the end of September it's all pretty much picked over.

Here are a couple of pictures I took with my phone before I had to dash out and do grocery shopping. Enjoy!

What sort of delicious Autumn goodies have you found? I'd love to know!

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend.

midnight margaritas anyone?

I wasn't really sure if  I was going to do it again. I thought maybe once was enough and it was great fun while it lasted. But lately I started getting emails. Some of  you really thought it would be fun to have another one this year. And I have to admit that the cooler weather we had last week really put me in an Autumn-y mood.

Then my friend and fellow Practical Magic fanatic pretty much twisted my arm and convinced me to just go for it again :)

And that was really all I needed.

I couldn't resist the call of that blender and the echoes of the Owens women's laughter as they did another turn around that table in that drool worthy kitchen.

So if  you click on the new button up there on the sidebar
I have a little surprise for you!

quiet as a mouse

Are you having a great summer? It's been so much cooler here this year, last week we had one or two days that almost felt like Fall. I was so excited I even watched a few of my favorite Fall movies one night.

Things have been rather quiet here. Not much has been happening at my art table so Luna decided she might as well take a nap there. I think I mentioned I was off to get paint for my walls and I did go to get it. But when I got there I kept changing my mind so I went home with another handful of paint swatches instead of a can of paint.

I did manage to paint a little house for my studio space.

This week I'm actually stuck at home since my husband's car fell ill and he's using mine. And it's funny how I can spend a few days not leaving the house at all and be perfectly content, but the minute I know I can't it starts to drive me crazy. Does that happen to you too? I guess I like having options.

I might visit my journal again and see if I get inspired to make some art. And there's all the prepping I need to finish to get my walls ready for when I do decide what color to paint them. Decisions, decisions.

Are you doing anything exciting or maybe getting ready to send the kids back to school?

Well I hope you're having a blissfully creative week and if you have any of that creative spirit left over please send a little my way :)

august atc swap partners

Here is the partners list for the Artful Bag Challenge ATC swap.

Amy --- Wendy
Elly -- Selma
Fran -- Victoria
JenW -- Patricia
Linda -- Penny
Tina -- Tracy

We have a total of 13 swappers so I paired everyone up except for me. I'm going to wait to see if I get any last minute sign ups so if anyone is interested in swapping just email me. I will be making a card either way.

The swappers list on the right sidebar is also a link to everyone's blog. Please get in touch with your partner and allow enough time for your ATC to arrive before the 25th. On the 25th you can post your card on your blog and link up to my ATC post. You can also add your card to our Flickr page.

I can't wait to see all your fabulous bag themed ATCs.
Thank you for playing and have fun!

Update: I had offers to swap from 2 lovely ladies and I couldn't turn either one down so I'm happily swapping with an old friend and a new one.
Thank you Karla and Diane!

trunk show

Remember this trunk from the Judy Moody movie? You probably know that I just couldn't stop drooling over it.

It inspired me to make my own little craft trunk from a thrift store find

And last year I altered another mini trunk to create a wardrobe to house my paper dresses for the 2010 Dress Up Challenge.

I have to confess I have always had a trunk obsession. Specially the old steamer trunks people used to take along on long ocean voyages and train rides.

I love the idea of opening up a seemingly unassuming piece of luggage and seeing it filled with hidden compartments and drawers to house an entire wardrobe (or studio). There is something about this that is magical to me.

My husband said I love anything that works like a Swiss Army knife and he is absolutely right. I love things with lots of functions. That's why I love camping gear....and diaper bags! And the smaller the item the better. I'm actually one of those people that loves to pack. I love arranging and organizing stuff to see how efficiently I can get it done. Now this doesn't mean my studio or my house is efficient and perfectly organized. It's far from it I'm afraid. But every now and then I get into these moods where I love reorganizing things to see if I can figure out a new way to make things work a little better.

So I thought I would share this collection of amazing 'trunks' I found on the web. You'll see that some really aren't trunks at all but definitely keep the idea of efficiently storing lots of stuff in a smaller space.

Wouldn't this vintage vaudeville trunk make the most amazing craft trunk? I think even Judy Moody's Aunt Opal would be green with envy.

This reproduction from Free People is a little simpler but still has lots of drawers for artsy stuff. I love the boho gypsy feel.

This one is from Coco Republic. It's hard to tell what size it is when it's closed...

Until you open it and see it's a full sized wardrobe.

I think this piece from Restoration Hardware is the ultimate magical trunk.

You open it up and it's actually....

...a secretary! What an amazing art studio that would make.

Image source: Flickr

And of course I adore old trunks like the ones they used in the Harry Potter films.

All of these are  insanely priced as you might imagine. The Restoration Hardware piece is $3500. But think of all the ideas you can use to alter that old trunk you have sitting in the attic. Or the plain old cabinet or armoire in the dusty corner of your guestroom. Not to mention all the goodies you might find at your local thrift store.

Well I'm off to buy paint for my walls. Still not sure what color I want but something will come to me eventually, lol!