Happy 4th Blogiversary :)

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main, Mind Wanderings at 8:58 am by carrie

Four years of blogging. Almost 300 posts and over 2100 comments. Wow.

I really wish I could make this a more regular occurrence, this blogging thing. I just need to go out and do exciting things and be creative so I can share more often ;) Having the store made it easy to share. There was so much to talk about all the time.

It’s been just over two years since we closed Violets are Blue. I miss climbing the steps to the store, iced nonfat caramel macchiato in hand, opening the door to the familiar Violets are Blue collective scent, hearing the beep of the alarm… opening the little squeaking shutter door that we fixed dozens of times and setting my purse down and turning on the CD player. Keys onto the bulletin board that I wish I would have kept. Using that strange little metal key to turn on the hose, hearing the traffic whiz by me on foothill blvd, cordless phone clipped to my back pocket as I watered the plants. Lavender and roses. Go back inside, wash my hands and start tidying up a bit. The first little bell jingle of the day at the front door… is it UPS Brian, Joe, Michele or a customer? I really didn’t realize how wonderful all of that was until now. (But dang it, I complained about the holidays every year, didn’t I? lol)

I’ve had dreams lately that I’m in my old space but the landlord doesn’t know I’m there. I sneak inventory in and out at night and refrain from advertising or posting a sign. I think it vaguely resembles a speakeasy. Towards the end of the dream, I’m driving my Volvo up to the store in the night, in a panic, thinking that the store is gone, empty or the locks have been changed… that I’ve been found out. Then I wake up in an overly-emotional panic and ask myself… “what was THAT all about?”

I know that Maylene has several photos of me scraping the hand-painted logo off the window… with a smile on my face. I turned to her after the flash to say “Gee, I’m not emotional or sad at all… I’m really surprised by that”. Bits of paint flaking off to the ground, in a little blue, purple and white dusty puddle. I sweep it up and throw it out with little more than a “goodbye”. Looking back, I should have saved those paint shavings in a little box and put it on the mantel.

That’s morbid, isn’t it?

Switching gears now…

So… today… what am I doing?

I’ve started several projects. Scratch that, my husband and I started a few projects and I have started multiple projects.

First off… starting businesses with friends? Not so much a good idea. Makes me really sad to say… but it’s the truth. Unless you have a bullet proof business plan. Just. Don’t.

Moving along… we joined a film making group and made one little film. We’re always coming up with other ideas for new films and animated pieces, which is a lot of fun.

I started selling digital art sheets on etsy and have done pretty well with it. I’ve also thought about doing interior decorating, party planning, photography, production art for websites, animation, graphic design… just to name a few. I guess I’ve been reinventing myself a bit, and working on a portfolio is part of it.

And there’s also violetcottage.com, amazon.com and the reopening of my ebay store. Mostly my favorites from Midwest, but I’m branching out into other areas, too, including more handmade things, which I’d like to start creating daily. I like pretty little things, what can I say?

I think I’m a gypsy or… what’s the term… I’m a renaissance woman? That’s a good thing, right? :)

Several of you that used to come to Violets are Blue have emailed me to say hello. I have a folder called “Love Letters” for these emails. I reach into that folder when I’m “Blue for the Violets” and it really brightens my day. So to each and every one of you who have reached out… a HUGE thank you. I miss you all more than you know!!

I think “Violets” is a part of me… and it will continue to exist in one form or another for as long as I can imagine, even if it’s only in cyberspace. But wouldn’t it be nice to be back on that busy Boulevard with the familiar schedule… which included that daily caramel macchiato ;)


oodles of doodles…

Posted in Art Journal, Main, Mind Wanderings at 9:11 pm by carrie

I’m a doodler. When I’m on the phone, I doodle. When I should be paying attention, I doodle. I doodled all through school to stay awake in classes that were yawn-fests. I made teachers angry. I just can’t help myself. That’s why I loved being at Calarts, they encouraged aimless doodling.

I have tons of little fun sketches and doodles on shopping lists, notes, to-do lists… they are everywhere. So, I decided to cut them out and keep them in a drawer to collage with later. I even have stacks of fun receipts, scratched lottery tickets and other “slice of life” slips of paper… all telling a story. (Sort of like Babs’ 10 foot long Ralph’s register receipt of 30+ animal cookie boxes when I was 5? hmmm?)

Here are two of the collages…

I water colored a quick background on the first one… then glued down my house sketches from our Oak Island trip, some of them I punched holes in, then added some texture with colored pencil on top. Voila… an art journal entry!

The second one was from a month of doodling. I wish I would have put down a background color first, but… it’s a start. This page sort of tells a story of that month. I remember each little sketch and my level of boredom during each. Splendid!

On that note…It’s sort of strange how you can look at a piece of art you created and recall the emotion you were feeling as you made it, or at least what you were doing when you put it together. I used to be able to pick up a necklace and remember which sitcom or movie I was watching when I wrapped that wire… sometimes, I would name the necklace after the TV show’s theme, plot line or character. I went through a Sundance Channel phase where everything was named after artsy documentaries, an odd subtitle or things you’d find on Robert Redford’s ranch or in his catalog. I love theming, don’t you? ;)


Luck o’ the Irish… cupcake.

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings, Sharing the Handmade Love at 4:41 pm by carrie

I had to…

The frosting almost looks like the cross section of Irish Spring soap… not very tasty… but I may try to recreate it in real food form to prove that stripey icing can be delicious. (Tangent: Do you remember that Irish Spring commercial where the guy is standing next to a waterfall, gets out his pocket knife and carves into the cake of soap showing you its strata, all while explaining it’s freshness using a thick Irish accent? I think that has stuck with me for decades because I still LOVE the smell and color of Irish Spring… truly… it’s the little things in life, isn’t it?)

This cupcake is currently being adhered to a wood board, will be covered in glitter and shiny gold paint and hanging from green ribbon… to adorn your home in time for St. Patty’s Day :)

Okay, so I found an Irish Spring commercial… no waterfall, but you see the soap cross section and it’s hilarious nonetheless!

If you watch the other Irish Spring commercials youtube suggests, you’ll see every cliche in the book… Irish setters, Irish flags, curly red-haired boys covered in freckles, vests, harps and green filters… no leprechauns or gold though… it must not really be Irish then, hmmm? :) hehe!


Glittering up a storm…

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings, Sharing the Handmade Love, sidenotes at 12:10 am by carrie

We had fun over the weekend… Avatar musical chairs, baristas with attitude and not watching the Super Bowl at a Super Bowl party. We met more of our new neighbors and it ended with us all playing Rock Band… and we weren’t even at our house. How. Does that… always happen? :) (we secretly LOVE it)

It’s been rainy, gloomy and cold here in Cary… supposed to be super windy and stormy tomorrow. There are still tiny stubborn patches of snow sprinkled around where the sun can’t reach them. I’ve been perched up in my office, glittering by chandelier with a nice hot cup of tea, gazing out the window at all the rain. Every once in a while a gorgeous red cardinal will sit in the small tree out front, then decide he’s had enough and flutter away to find some shelter. I think we’re all ready for spring to arrive :)

I’ve been procrastinating on these art boards… I guess it took a gray day for me to sit down and finish what I started…

and the finished product…

All of these art boards are listed on the website :)

Glitter makes any gloomy day 100% better! AND it gets you thinking… what else can I put glitter on??

I have a zillion ideas swimming around in my brain (at any given moment at least)… my fingers can’t keep up and that is frustrating! I have dozens of new designs cued up to become an art board, pendant, greeting card or art journal entry… does one really need to sleep? Just wonderin’.

But sometimes, I’m so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of these ideas, that I break down and turn on (guilty pleasure alert) Judge Judy instead of creating… because I believe she’s working hard enough for all of us, really.

Normally… said ideas would be sketches, half-finished paintings, emails to myself or they get lost in the Tasmanian devil that is my office… I’ve found a new solution (Thank you Brian!). It is the elephant (aka Evernote). I will share this link, but will go into more detail further :) Long story short… it’s amazing. Double amazing if you have an iphone. And it doesn’t look like much, but utilized properly… (or semi-properly in my case) it’s the organizing tool you’ve always wanted :) More to come on that later!

Going to get some sleep… she said reluctantly :)


Thinking of Warmer Times…

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings, outings, Sharing the Handmade Love at 12:19 pm by carrie


There’s a cold snap here in North Carolina. It’s been in the TEENS at night… 17, 19… and in the 30’s during the day. I’ve now discovered what wearing “layers” is all about. The flip flops have been retired to the summer wardrobe box and I’ve been frequenting the weather.com application on my iphone constantly. Thank you Los Angeles for being so predictable because now I know what I’m missing ;)

Longing for the warmer climate and being cooped up inside, I stumbled across several pictures from a summer show we participated in back in 2004ish (I think). Ahhh, the 10’x10′ booth on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose… in June. And we’d complain about that “June Gloom” and the 60-70 degree overcast weather it brought… I wouldn’t mind a little of that right now!

Even Meg got to meet other fans of the street fair!

It’s fun to see these pictures… see what we used to make and how we used to display our wares. The garden sign used to be a huge staple at the store and in the booth… feeling inspired to make more outdoorsy products because I would much rather be hanging out in a garden than stuck in the house!

If you are running around LA in short sleeves and open-toed shoes, say a little thank you and remember everyone on the East Coast (Florida, too!)… we’re going stir crazy! hehe!


The Mantels of Christmas Past…

Posted in Interior Design, Main, Mind Wanderings, Sharing the Handmade Love at 12:51 pm by carrie

Mantels are for decorating… it’s the heart of the living room, and usually the heart of the home. Back in California, we never used our fireplace (at all), but here in North Carolina, we turn it on and actually use it! Here is our current Christmas mantel (in our very first home!)…

And here is 2008’s mantel…

At the store, we had a few fake mantels sprinkled around… Here are a few Christmas Mantels from the years gone by….

… and our very first Christmas tree back in 2003…

Here are some random mantel displays…

Birthday mantel

Explorer mantel

Valentine’s Day mantel

Valentine’s mantel close up

Halloween mantel

Ocean-themed room mantel

Hard to see, but this is a handmade freestanding mantel that we had in the store (made by Robert… who we miss!)

Here is my Mom’s mantel and Christmas Cupboard…

I love all the pink and green! She has a pink Christmas tree, too… hopefully she’ll get that picture to me, soon :)

If you have an awesome mantel display, email it to me and I’ll post it here! :) Happy decorating!!


Drink and Be Merry :)

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, Mind Wanderings, Sharing the Handmade Love at 12:24 am by carrie

Here are a few quick and easy gift ideas… with a drinking theme…

A little gift set with a tea cup and saucer along with ginger-infused honey & herbal tea mixes would be a hit! (Thanks Home Made Simple!)

Take a bottle of sparkling apple cider, wine or champagne and add a big bow and an ornament… it’s festive, cheerful and easy to do! We sold these at the shop a few years ago… at first they were props, but then they flew off the shelves. (Thanks, Babs!)

Or… you can be super adventurous and make your own flavored liquor… We got some homemade Kahlua one year as a gift… it was fantastic! Check out this Kahlua recipe. (Thanks Beth & Morgan!)

If you are lucky enough to be in the Los Angeles area, why not check out Galco’s Soda Pop shop and get everyone some nostalgia in a bottle (I think they ship, too). Bubble Up, Nesbitt’s, Dr. Pepper in a glass bottle and my favorite… Mint Julep soda. We carried these at Violets are Blue for a while. It was so much fun to watch people light up as they grabbed their favorite childhood soda… and even more fun to watch them wince and say “I don’t remember it being this sweet!”

Just look at the outside of the building and the magical fluorescent lighting… time stands still when you are in there… literally! :)

Now I want to look up peppermint martini recipes (anything with a fancy sugar rim), investigate items that can be put in mugs and stock up on gourmet coffee from A Southern Season (If you are ever in Chapel Hill… GO). And someone out there, not naming any names… will be getting a gallon of blueberry syrup from her favorite gourmet eatery, The Cracker Barrel… that’s sort of a beverage, right ? :D

Oh, and I just bought some pumpkin eggnog at the store… it’s a little (or a lotle) overwhelming, but isn’t that what the holidays are all about? ;)


Meg’s Photo Shoot

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings at 1:51 am by carrie

As usual, the star of our Christmas card is our dog, Meg.

Here are some pictures from our photo shoot this evening… I can’t seem to pick one picture that I love the most!

Towards the end… she wasn’t interested in posing for us anymore ;)

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »