Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I worked on some party projects today for Jo-Ann's stores. I love this little gift box, especially the glitter button at the top. Doesn't it look like a little party? So, now I just need someone to invite me to a birthday party. I have the gift box all ready to go.

However, be advised.....the box is empty,
Normal Girl

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Winter Weather Prediction

A few days ago, this...........

and this...........

were filled with flowers, greenery and dirt. They both also had a coconut grass liner. Today, they are picked clean.

Thank you squirrels.

I have had the same dirt and liners in those pots for years. Until this week. So, what are the squirrels telling us with this bizarre behavior? It is going to be a cold winter if they are scavenging the potted plant liners and the flowers for their nests. They had to work some long, hard hours picking those things apart and taking the pieces to their nests.

We shall call it The Winter of Squirrel Preparedness,
Normal Girl

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Acquisition

Ah, acquisition therapy can be so rewarding, but nobody ever wants to spend money on a vacuum cleaner. Mine started on fire last night, so I played taps for it and put it in the trash. It was more than 25 years old, and I had paid only $25 for it, so I sure got my money's worth out of it.

I bought a new one this morning. I barely need one since I have all hardwood floors, but I do need it for a rug in the living room. So, I did not need a heavy duty cleaner. You know I don't think they even call the vacuum cleaners anymore. It only cost me $35, that made me happy.

So I got it home ad put it together. Yeah, that cracked me up that the vacuum cleaner required assembly. Its selling point for me was that it had two settings: one for rugs/carpet, and one for hardwood floors. I used the carpet setting on my rug. OK, not great, but OK. And then the hardwood floor setting? It did not pick up a thing. I turned it over. No suction. What exactly is it supposed to do to the hard wood floor?

Even on carpet setting, it will not pick up beads, even the tiniest ones, or glitter. What two things do I consistently have on my floors that need to be picked up?

I know, what was I expecting for $35?
Normal Girl

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Creative Connection

This weekend, I attended an event called The Creative Connection, in Minneapolis. I was only there two days, but did manage to attend the Handmade Market. Over all, these women have embraced crafting. The big trend amongst these crafter is recycling and repurposing. 99% of the crafts were made with vintage pieces or reclaimed junk.

And of course, there is always one person showing her creativity by wearing a tutu.

My function at the event was to teach a class. The marvelous Helen at Blumenthal Lansing made these necklace models for my class, and these are what my students were to make. Fabric/ribbon rosettes are very trendy and well as these big necklaces called bib necklaces.

We did this at a pajama party on Friday night that started at 7:30pm. 100 women signed up for the party, they came in and selected the project they wanted to make. Oh yes, and it was videotaped and shown live online. In my pajamas and robe. Yeah.

My table filled up first and all night, I had women hanging around the table hoping someone would finish and they could get a seat.

I taught my students to make three kinds of rosettes and let them choose fabric and ribbon and go for it.
Here is the first finished necklace of the evening.

Another version..... Don't you love the buttons?

The ladies at my table seemed to enjoy themselves. Even when I did not have enough materials left to complete necklaces, they sat to make rosettes.

At some point in the evening, I looked up to see all of the other tables were finished, and the room was empty except two tables of women working on my project. They did not stop until there were no materials left.

Helen you did great, your project was HOT!

OK, yeah, it was late when we were finished, and people were getting punchy. But, they had a great time and that was what mattered.

Good trip to Minneapolis!
Normal Girl

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Job for a Monkey

Today's post is by guest blogger Imaginina. Imaginina has been on vacation for awhile.....a long while, but is back in full strength. Take it away Imaginina.

Friends... Today, Normal Girl asked me to sew some buttons on for her. Sewing on a button is a 5 minute job. Really. But, believe it or not, there are many people who cannot sew on a button. I am reminded of an office where I worked once, full of 20 somethings who could not do anything for themselves. I heard stories of paying a seamstress to sew a button on, and throwing away a shirt because it had lost a button. I am not lying. Those are true stories told to me by kids who should have been embarrassed to say that out loud. For goodness sakes, a monkey can sew on a button!

So, I went to YouTube. Yes, the place where 20 somethings find out how to do everything their Mothers and Fathers should have taught them when they were 8 years old. There were several videos on how to sew on a button. All produced by fellow 20 somethings. For crying out loud, every one of them turned sewing on a button into a complicated life long project. Some propped the button up with pins, some made a shank for the button out of thread, some used words like perpendicular.

Just knot the thread, and go up and down through the holes! It is not rocket science. Most people I know could sew on a button by age 5.

What is wrong with young people these days?

Thread a needle, sew on a button, put it on your resume!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

I saw this today on the Craftzine blog. It is about a guy who submitted his resignation on a cake. The Craft Chica noted that she thought it would be a great way to possibly get a job by turning in your resume on a cake.

And that made me think about this book that I just read. The Human Pinball bought it and let me read it before she did. You know how you have read books that changed your life? Well, this one has the potential to change mine. I am still processing it. It touched painfully close to home. Well, painfully with a punch of hope.

Briefly, it is about a guy who had a job that was boring him sick. When he started in his career, the job was exciting and he was passionate about it everyday. Yeah, things have a way of getting old and stale. And the job he loved became a drudge. One day, he wandered into a rehearsal of a Cirque de Soleil performance and struck up a very interesting relationship with that organization. In the end, he realized what he had originally loved about his job was the creativity he needed to have success. Eventually, it became business and he used the techniques and processes that had always worked for success. Through a change of thought process, he was able to recapture some of the creativity and interest from the early years of his job.

So, I am there. Entrenched. Buried. I work in an industry that inspires creativity in people. Yet, I use no creativity in my job. Seems weird, but it is true. I am a designer whose left brain has taken over. After all these years, I know how to do the job quickly and efficiently, and have stopped the experimentation and fun.

So, the cake resignation struck me. I need a cake resignation from my current work process and a cake resume to myself for permission to relocate what I used to love about my work.

Normal Girl

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Colors for Spring 2011

Just in case you are working on your wardrobe for spring 2011, here are the 10 most prominent fashion colors for next year. Nice palette. This is brought to us by Pantone, who sets colors for designers in every industry.

Especially noteable for me is that brown is mixing with pink, see Russet. And the turquoise color from this year, is still there, but maybe with a little bit more blue added, see Blue Curacao. I have been reading that mauve, from the 1980s would be making a comeback. Nauseating, yes, but I don't see it in this palette, so we will see. Also, I am seeing that gray color a lot in home dec. Not for me, but nice in the applications, I have seen.

Very springy,
Normal Girl

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Clogs

I love clogs. What can I say? I am a child of the 70s. These clogs have been beaten to death. They are the most comfortable pair in the world, and I mourned when I lost a buckle off one of them. But, I kept wearing them around the house. You can see I painted many a project while wearing them. Today, I decided to revamp and see of they could be successfully recycled.

So, I decoupaged fabric onto them. Glossy. I like them, they look like those shiny garden clogs you can buy. Except I have a big wrinkle in the right shoe. Sometimes when a decoupage project dries overnight, the wrinkle relaxes. If it does not, I will have to do a re-do on the right shoe. UGH.

There is my Saturday night for you. My life is just a whirlwind.
Normal Girl

Friday, September 10, 2010

One Big Brown Circle

Yes, I am still working on the office re-do. This morning, I was outside painting my old wooden crates when I realized that I have made a full decorating circle. It made me laugh. It made me feel old.

When I first started decorating my own place in the 70s, the trend was definitely earth tones and brown played a huge part in that. Practically everything I had was brown. You would have been so jealous of my brown shag carpeting and brown furniture and brown everything, with a little avocado and harvest gold thrown in.

It did not take long until I was sickened by all that brown. But, never having tons of money to spend on decorating, I had to replace things one at a time, or repaint. So, it took awhile to get rid of all the brown stuff. As a matter of fact, I still have a brown waste basket in my office from that time period. It is an antique now, maybe. A big old brown plastic antique.

So today when I was painting my crates brown, it seemed stupid that after hating it so much for so many years, and working so hard to get rid of it, I am back to brown. It almost made me stop painting. But, truly the brown crates look good against my new chartreuse wall, so there you have it.

Brown crates and an antique brown waste basket and I am hip. And old.
Normal Girl

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Watch This

Look what else I found in the office re-do! I might have plans for these watch heads, but I am wondering if it is going to cost a fortune to buy new batteries for 18 watches. Because of course, they are all dead.

I personally, have not worn a watch for years. I think most people don't wear watches any more because their cell phones are at the ready for telling time. Sometimes I wear a watch that I added to a bracelet. The watch is dead, and I think of it like a charm instead of a watch, and the bracelet is fab. Ok, I am probably the only person on earth that doesn't care if the watch she is wearing is dead. So, I guess I will be researching watch batteries this week. I hate to waste 18 cute watch heads.

Enjoying the surprise treasures!
Normal Girl
Office Archaeologist

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


In the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about garbage picking furniture and redoing it. We did some in Germany, and with my office re-do, I have several pieces on the re-painting list. What is better than new furniture that is free and has been personalized by you?

This morning, I ran across a clip from the today show featuring Nate Berkus. If you don't know him, he is one of Oprah's finds and he has a new show of his own that is starting this month. He is an interior decorator. He did Oprah's house and then she made him famous.

One of the regular segments on his show is going to be about picking furniture out of the trash, or from the curbside where someone is throwing it away, and redoing it. His example in the clip was a small two drawer night stand. He repainted, removed some of the moulding, added new drawer pulls and .........added a marble top. He said at the store, someone would pay up to $500 for a night stand that looked like it. He also said that the redo cost him under $300. I think he is totally missing the point!!!! Whoever can afford a $300 nightstand is not going to be picking one out of the trash and refurbing it. And who among us knows how to work with marble??? Isn't the point of trash picking that the furniture is going to be free or very inexpensive to redo?

He needs a foray into regular America, where normal people live.

Just sayin......
Normal Girl

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Slight Delay

So. I was cleaning in my office tonight. That is a job that is never finished. Here is one reason why... I found all kinds of things that I didn't remember having. It was kind of like Christmas. And each one of those finds was distracting, I had to stop and check it out. I found a box of beads that I cut apart and added to bead soup. Had to be done, right?

And I found a big bag of fibers. Oh, they were gorgeous. Then I found a bag full of wide bangle bracelets that I had purchased for a work project that never happened. So, I put them together.

They turned out nice; arty, yet pretty, and bangles are still very trendy. And they helped to procrastinate a really stinky, boring job.

Bookshelves tomorrow, stay tuned,
Normal Girl

Thursday, September 2, 2010

French ID Bracelet

Last week, when I was in France. HOOT! I was in France last week!!! Anyway, we went to an antique market in Metz. I bought 5 ID bracelets with French girl's names on them" Nathalie, Josette, Juliette, Daniele, and Valerie.

Today, I took them apart and remade them into a bracelet. I added some crystal beads. It now has three chain strands. I recycled the chains from the ID bracelets. Some of them were really nice, so I wanted to keep them too. Clicking on the pics will make them larger and easier to see.

So, I am wearing 5 French ID bracelets. Just call me Josette Nathalie Juliette Daniele Valerie.

Au Revoir,
Normal Girl

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Art in the Park

I found these in the little park near the boat launch where we caught our boat on the Rhine River. That is it in the background. I thought they were cute and clever, the girls are playing musical instruments. It is hard to see that until you are up close inspecting them.

I could not tell of which material they are made. At first I thought cement, but no. They felt like paper mache, but that would not hold up in weather. No final consensus.

I guess this is true about most art in some way...I thought they were cute and interesting. Nobody else cared.

Normal Girl