the CEO! Creative Eternal Optimist! Blog
Friday, February 26 2010
Fowl Friday got off to a late start due to some technical difficulties and Freda's love of bubble bath. She spends waaay too long in that soaker tub plus singing at the top of her lungs! Anyway I digress from the vital and disturbing issue of today. We are in the midst of a snowstorm, the snow is falling in big heavy wet clumps and Debra decides we need some exercise. The kind of exercise that requires going outside in the snow! We chickens have short legs, I am thinking Debra is aware of this by now after our being in residence for almost a year. Freda is fine she always rides on my back but moi! my short but so shapely legs will be buried along with the rest of me. I do not want to smother in snow, I have so much life ahead of me! The snow attire consists of a very fluffy scarf which might smother us even before we get outside!
Our protests are being ignored, Debra thinks there is a little too much fluff happening in our belly area so it is a walk outside apparently! Does she not think being chased around by two ragdoll kittens almost every day is a workout?! Sigh. If we are not around for next Fowl Friday you will know there are a couple pair of chicken legs sticking out of a snowbank in eastern Canada! We also do not want to miss any of the Olympics, the Canadian Women's Team took gold!!! Sigh, Debra has the door open, we have to go. Think of us in the cold blinding blizzard! Follow the Fowl, Fran & Freda!
Thursday, February 25 2010
March is just around the corner and now for some spring time fun! The March April issue of Creative Homearts magazine is now out with some great spring projects on their website as well including full patterns and instructions. I love creating bunnies and needle felting so this whimsical Jester Bunny (listed under web extras) is easy to create with STYROFOAM* brand foam from Dow and wool wisps from National Nonwovens.
(photo courtesy of Creative Homearts)
I have hung out my egg wreath, pastel birds and pillows adorn the bench and tables. I feel spring in the air, the earth beneath the snow is uncovered in patches which grow larger everyday. Soon the hardy crocus will emerge along the house often with snowy crystal sparkle outlining the flowers. Spring comes and our thoughts turn outwards to the innocence, the lively fragility of new growth, nature's bounty bursts forth and blooms! May we all bloom this spring! Always Follow the JOY! Debra, CEO!
Tuesday, February 23 2010
Just back from our local Women in Business luncheon on Social Networking. Great presentation by expert Lynne Conrad and I followed up with my experience using sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I was the proof for Lynne that it works! She is a young woman, "a social butterfly" with lots of passion for her social networking business. The event was well attended and with Lynne's busy schedule of speaking on the subject, a hot topic here for sure!
Dreams do come true! Last night the Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir ice dancing team made history winning the first gold for North America here at home. It was a beautiful performance and they are such a lovely young couple. Best friend team the Americans got the silver. The medal ceremony was so touching, such talent and JOY! Always Follow the JOY! Debra
Monday, February 22 2010
Yesterday Kate and I had fun participating in a Bowl-a-Thon event for six local animal groups. It was hugely successful and everyone had the best time. We were bowling for the Cat Club, our two teams were the Kat Nappers and the Fancy Felines. Kate and I were the Fancy Felines! Neither one of us hadn't bowled in a long time but Kate had overall high score for the two strings and I managed to have high score for the first string! The event was enthusiastically supported and everyone went home with prizes. We had a great time especially in our costumes of bling cat ears, rosettes and feather boas! The feathers kept falling out, not sure if affected the bowling style or not! Celebrity cats showed up to support the event, here I am with Sylvester, he is quite the bowler and our two ragdolls Milla and Bella have a huge crush on him!
Kate made all of our ears from wool felt, needle felting the center hair fur and added bling with glitter and sequins. They were attached to metal headbands and very comfortable to wear as well as super stylish! The pictures say it all, it was an afternoon with lots of laughter and team spirit for such a worthy cause. Thanks to everyone who helped organize the event, great job! Follow the JOY! Debra
Friday, February 19 2010
Fran here for Fowl Fridays! Freda is tooooo busy to join us. Once again she tries something new and she is oblivious to anything else! (remember the rooster from Hatch.com, need I say more) This time though she is using her mind and trying Zentangle. Zentangle is doodling, using a fine pen and small squares of art paper to create beautiful artistic designs with intricate patterns. It is relaxing and frees the mind, not thinking Freda needs any freer mind than she has already! Anyway she has not showered or eaten since yesterday and has gone through three pens already. Her talent well Everyone is creative, (can't live with Debra and believe anything else! that is what I tell her anyway!) So Freda is doing her thing which seems to involve a lot of "chicken scratch" and marks that look like she walked all over the paper. (doing it in the dark last night she probably did!)
I am all for encouraging Freda but I wish she would get an easel!
Till next Fowl Friday...you know what Freda will be up to and me sigh I may have droopy tail feathers by then! Follow the Fowl! Fran & Freda!
Thursday, February 18 2010
Thoughts of spring may be in the air but the snow still swirls. A saucy squirrel enjoys treats on my deck, he looks warm and content while immersed in snow, great fur coat he has! His obvious enjoyment has prompted me to make one of my favorite things, cinnamon rolls, heavenly aroma and so yummy warm from the oven on a cold snowy day! Recipe below! Enjoy! Always follow the JOY! Debra
The spice cinnamon has been in use for thousands of years as early as 2000 BC and considered a prized commodity worthy of royalty. It was harvested from a small evergreen tree found in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Methods were developed to commercially cultivate and harvest the crop in other areas. Actually the cinnamon we are all most familiar with and use comes from a related species, Cassia. Cinnamon has many qualities from medicinal to insect repellent. Personally I prefer it for cooking where combined with sugar it is delicious!
1-3/4 cup flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 + 1/3 c butter
3/4 c milk
1 c sugar
3 T cinnamon
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Mix baking powder and flour together. Cut 1/2 cup butter thoroughly into flour mixture. In measuring cup crack egg and add milk to the 1 cup mark. Mix. Gently stir milk/egg into flour mixture making sticky, lumpy dough. Spread plastic wrap or wax paper on counter, flour generously. Place dough on plastic wrap. Knead five to six times very gently. Flour rolling pin and start from center rolling out to approximately 1/4" thickness. Melt 1/3 cup of butter and spread over dough. Sprinkle evenly and cover completely with cinnamon and then sugar. Roll up and slice into approximately a dozen rolls. Place flat on ungreased baking sheet and bake for twelve minutes. Let cool on sheet for a minute.
For the flakiest and lightest rolls make sure the butter and liquid are chilled and handle the dough very gently. As in pastry making the small pieces of fat or the butter will separate the layers for melt in the mouth tenderness.
Use a baking sheet with sides as the butter melts out as they bake and is reabsorbed when removed from the oven. As they are baked in a very hot oven and oven temperatures can vary watch them after seven minutes. They should be a golden brown, light and crispy. These also freeze very well and can be warmed up wrapped in a low temperature oven.
Wednesday, February 17 2010
Love is intangible and yet affects every moment of our lives, enduring beyond the lives of those we cherish. Many, many years ago, I believe it was my grandfather, a young handsome robust man who gave my grandmother, a sweet tiny girl, a beautiful Valentine cookie. She kept it wrapped and placed in her hope chest. That cookie is a remembrance of love that endured and of our family history. To begin and end in love is all we can want of this life, for love endures and keeps us alive forever in the minds and hearts of those who follow. May the legacy we leave be one of love.
This weekend my daughter and I are participating in an event that is also close to my heart. Six local animal groups are joining together and having a bowl-a-thon fundraiser. These groups perform many services to protect our local animals and raise awareness of what is needed. Every life has meaning and deserves to live not to just survive.
Always follow your heart! Debra, CEO!
Tuesday, February 16 2010
Halfway through February and still in a wintery wonderland here for a couple more months...yet spring is in the air. Holiday reds carry right through Valentine's and now are packed away, a few cheeky snowman remain here and there but I found myself this morning thinking of pussy willow wreaths, cuddly bunnies and feathery chicks awaiting. Each season brings its own special flavor and a freshness to delight all the senses. Spring is the freshest season of all, it follows the weary winter and heralds in a whole new cycle of life. Tender and young life begins tentatively then bursts into a adolescent rainbow riot of sound, smell and sight. Bursting, blooming, twittering, chattering, sundappled rays dancing in saucy breezes, glorious spring, nature's love affair with life!
It is a season where cuddly creatures and sherbet inspired color collide in an array of whimsy and wonder! Tiny scraps of felt embroidered and wool needle felted make up this cute little bunny magnet.
and if there are bunnies there is always an egg hunt not too far off! It is a little early for an egg hunt but not too early for a very special hunt with great prizes for crafty individuals! When Creativity Knocks is hosting their second annual Tool Hunt! Register and vote for your favorite tool, you could win a fab tool package!
Always Follow the JOY! Debra, CEO!
Friday, February 12 2010
Debra is humming away getting ready for a Valentine weekend. Meanwhile Freda and I have been noticing Debra has been keeping a couple of things from CHA unopened. Curiosity is not just for cats so last night Freda and I sneaked into the office and opened the files. What we discovered was so shocking Freda almost screamed but I grabbed her beak and held it shut. She is still coughing up feathers! Apparently some stupid looking bird Debra made a few months ago with tape measure tail feathers, really! has been published in Crafts 'n Things magazine! Debra promised that WE were the only feathery stars in this nest! What have we gotten so far, just a bunch of empty promises apparently! Sigh we are dejected, droop has invaded are usually perky feathers. We want to be just another pair of pretty faces peeking out of somewhere!
So that is our sad story, yes we may be vain and superficial but someone has to be so it might as well be us! Fran & Freda fabulous Fowl! Follow the Fowl!
Thursday, February 11 2010
The ART of the heART! the essence of life is art, everywhere creativity captures the soul of the artist and the audience. Whatever the medium used it is the means to bring a message to life. A message that is vital to the artist to express and one that the audience interprets individually and is touched, changed forever by the piece. I am very blessed to know many artists and creative people. Actually everyone I know is an artist, the difference being only, many know they are artists and many are unaware. I watch my daughter mixing and tasting another delicious dish, the aromatic flavors dancing into the air around her. Would she consider herself an artist no and yet her art touches my soul each day as she lovingly creates works of art that delight all of the senses.
I believe art is really about giving yourself permission to express yourself in a way that is meaningful to you. A way that touches your heart, brings a harmony to your life, it does not require lessons or special supplies. All it requires is a way of thinking and being, of mindful actions. It is also about valuing your creativity, your artistic self and not being afraid. We are our own harshest critics as adults and yet as young children we would try anything just for the pure joy of it. So my offering this week of the heART is to express yourself in a way that brings you JOY for an hour. Simply pencil to paper and declare I am an Artist!
I have declared for myself this year to try many artforms and mediums, to not judge my results but to celebrate them! Please celebrate along with me and make this the year of your heART! (This piece was inspired by a dear friend's clay creation and my interpreting it through my stitching and poetry).
Follow your dreams, follow the JOY! Debra
Wednesday, February 10 2010
While at CHA (Craft & Hobby Tradeshow) I had the chance to try Zentangle, a form of repetitive, intricate doodling which in its execution is both meditative and freeing. The design influence is showing up not only in paper but in wearables, fabric collages and home decor. Suzanne McNeill has a new book out on Zentangles basics. Suzanne will be talking about Zentangles on Inspired at Home with Tiffany Windsor February 21st. At CHA my good friend and talented designer Marie Browning introduced me to Zentangles. Zentangles are created on 3 1/2" square art paper with a pencil and a black permanent marker. Deveoped by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, the art of Zentangle can reduce stress, improve focus and the creative flow. I have started creating Zentangles at night and finding it very relaxing at the end of the day. I am also working on pieces to incorporate it into my fabric. As this is the week of the heart my Zentangle is entitled "Love is all Around!"
Creativity is inherent in all of us, whatever we draw, paint, sew or craft it is more about the process than the results. The time spent with mind and hands in harmony both relaxes and frees your being. It is not about being "good" at something for we are all capable of our own "masterpieces" just as we are all unique and perfect as ourselves!
Follow the JOY! Debra Quartermain, CEO!
Tuesday, February 09 2010
"I believe" the title of the Canadian theme song for the 2010 winter Olympics. All this past year our young athletes' faces have appeared in TV ads with the message "I believe, do you Canada?" (Click link in pink Twitter sidebar box and scroll down to I believe music video) We are hosting the Olympics in spectacular Whistler, BC among the majestic Rockie mountains. My brother lives there and is a volunteer for the Olympics, his own dream.
What do we believe? I believe we are given the gift to dream because we also have been given the ability to make our dreams come true! So to all the dreams that will fill our country over the next few weeks, may they all come true! Just believe! Debra Quartermain, CEO!
Monday, February 08 2010
Valentine's Day is this Sunday, I have always loved Valentines whether I had a special Valentine of mine own or not. I always had my darling daughters and with February mid winter, cold and snowy a brightly festive box decorated with hearts and filled with surprises brightened the month. Now they are fully grown with their own special Valentine's and I have a very special one of my own they are happy to have the box retire. Makes me a little sad but I know down the way there will be a new generation of little ones who will love the Valentine Box!
The January February issue of Creative Homearts magazine features a Valentine keepsake on the cover which I created using Nunn Designs beautiful pateras. It is always exciting to be a cover girl! This piece features family photos and vintage buttons, lace remnants.
(photo courtesy of Creative Homearts Club)
I think special days that remind us of who we love and give us a chance to show our love are important. Yes we want to do that everyday but something special and unexpected, a surprise, a token of love always touches the heart. It does not have to be expensive or take a lot of time but a handmade card, heart shaped cookies or a simple "I love you" note tucked into a pocket or lunch bag is a reminder of being loved and cared about. All anyone really wants is to be loved and cherished, to know they matter and are cared about. I have always believed that "Life is simply a love story!"
Always Follow the JOY! Debra Quartermain CEO!
Friday, February 05 2010
Fran here! We are back from Anaheim and the Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show (CHA)! Debra had us run ragged with all of the show events. Well not actually we got to sit in the booth all day looking pretty while she ran off to book signings and demos. At the end of the show though we got to spend time in the sunshine by the pool. We had to share our sunshine with Oliver Owl, Debra brought him along as well to keep us in line! That was funny as who was the first one to the champagne celebration and poolside? Freda & I think the JLo glasses are a bit much but hey his first time to sunny California. He was a bit star struck after seeing Carol Duvall, the Crafty Chica, Tiffany, Heidi and Aleene, the marvellous Margot Potter and many other of his crafty favorites!
It also did not help that little clones of Oliver popped up by the pool too! We just had to suck it up and let him have his day in the limelight! Here we are with his new buddies Fleur de Hoot and some surfer dude with a very fetching Mohawk!
(Fleur de Hoot created by Marie Browning and surfer dude by Helen Bradley)
Not wanting to start any rumors but you probably notice in the picture that Fran and I are the only two standing and Oiver's glasses well slighty askew. While we were in the pool apparently a bottle of bubbly appeared and the owls pretty much partied hardy!
So apparently the saying about the wise old owl well then you have never taken a trip with one, try three! I know Freda has had her moments (the incident with the rooster from Hatch.com, the bottles and her dancing on the deck singing "oh what a night) however she is a tame turkey um chicken when compared to those owls. They know how to party!
So it is back to the snow, bikinis packed away and Debra busy on show follow up what ever that is. The only thing we are following is catching up on our favorite shows we missed. Remember to Follow the Fowls! Fran & Freda! We are lobbying for a FB Fan page, Debra pleeease!!!
Thursday, February 04 2010
One of the fun things at the CHA show was Kathy, the Crafty Chica's cutout. We all took turns having our picture taken and it was a hit throughout both the supershow and tradeshow. Kathy was autographing her books, so exciting for her with the release of her new novel Waking Up in the Land of Glitter. Anything is possible and she makes it happen! The photo op gave me a chance to sport a tattoo, the only one I will ever have!
The Make &Takes were lined up and dear friend Candie Cooper was sporting an awesome Tee and demoing Plaid's Simply Screen stencils and paint. The line there was constant and long!
Trying out new products is always fun as well as being fundamental to my career as a designer. Keeping up with what is new and incorporating it into my work in my style makes for some very interesting results! We played with Cloud Clay from Amaco, a very strong, pliable air dry clay. Marie Browning and I made Zebra Unicorns instructed by the very talented clay artist Michelle Zimmerman.
Yesterday I tweeted about decluttering which resonated with several people. This time of year in mid winter lends itself to the task of clearing away unneeded or unused items. It can seem a daunting task yet like everything when feeling overwhelmed break it into manageable steps. It does really work, a drawer or shelf, a box at a time means an entire room done before you know it. Life is busy, stuff happens and stuff collects, it is a fact for all of us. Attach no emotion to it other than the sense of accomplishment and enjoyment when each step is done. Clearing space allows for a new opportunity to come into your life.
Always follow the JOY! Debra. CEO!
Tuesday, February 02 2010
Back from the CHA show (Craft & Hobby Association) in Anaheim! It was a busy week beginning with the two day consumer Craft Supershow. The highlight of the consumer show was the Inspired at Home PJ party Friday evening. I felt like Vanna White as I got to carry Tiffany Windsor's laptop around while she and Maria Nerius broadcast to the Facebook fans. The 100 participants in the PJ party had so much fun crafting and winning all kinds of door prizes. Each table got to try a different craft from sponsors such as Walnut Hollow, Beacon and Plaid. Aleene was there as well with her daughters Tiffany and Heidi, it was a great evening and Tiffany made all of the volunteers a beautiful momento necklace. She is such a lovely person and I thoroughly enjoyed the event and the creative energy was sparked with fluffy robes and a variety of bunny, turtle and monster slippers!
The tradeshow opened on Sunday with the bagpipers which always begins the show with an exciting energy.
Carla Schauer and I exhibited in the L&D (License and Design) section of the tradeshow. Her Dad built amazing folding shelves which were perfect for the booth and I added the fabric accents. The majority of the exhibitors in this section have flat art but there were several designers exhibiting as well. It is an opportunity to meet with Art Directors flown in from the gift and home decor industries and manufacturers at the show usually visit this section on the last day of the show.
The L&D section grew this year but the show itself was smaller due to the effects of the economy. The Craft Supershow before the tradeshow with the thousands of consumers who did attend showed though the enthusiasm that people have for crafting. Creativity is now well established as being instrumental for our health and well being. Celebrate Creativity! More from the show this week!
Always Follow the JOY! Debra Quartermain, CEO!