inspiration from here and there.

my fascination with old things is rapidly expanding. i know this does not make me unique, as it seems like everyone these days is into old things... making jewelry from old metal bits and bobs, "flea market chic," reviving old clothes into new (or just wearing the old)... all of which gets lumped under the umbrella term vintage. so it feels odd and a bit like buying into the mainstream supertrends when i say that i do like old things, but i do. i like the feeling of history behind an object, and like it may have a story to tell. i like flea markets and old portraits where nobody smiles, skeleton keys separated from the things they open, and books whose paper pages darken and flake with age.

so, all that considered, when i saw the aged and floaty effect that a photo taken with a holga camera has, i found the effect that i had been trying to make my black and white pictures have since i began taking photos at about 16 years old (not that that has been all that long ago). i first saw holga pictures from a blog called abbytryagain, which was one of the first craft blogs i ever came across. she had experimented with some shots in black and white, and i really loved the dark edges and aged quality that is apparently characteristic of the holgas. they were actually chinese (i also read russian somewhere) toy cameras that are technically really cheap and junky, but give off a really cool quality, if you're not too much of a perfectionist about that sort of thing. i also like that the shots are usually square.

***(photo borrowed from amazon.com... thank you amazon! please don't sue me)***

well, after reading a really interesting critique that echoed some of my own curiosity, and also happily finding out that this experimentation would only cost me about $25 on amazon, i think i'm going to have to try it out. my head is swimming with all the possibilities for some really cool prints for postcards or notecards!

(ps- i've also loved polaroids as long as i can remember).

on the old things note, i also have been thrifting a little bit back in november. i got a really great bag of amazing stuff all for about $30 at an estate sale, and one unusually good trip to goodwill.
goodwill had this cool cream-colored leafy candlestick holder, a pair of linen pants (to be cut up and used for napkins or a table runner, probably) and my favorite, a big, soft, stretchy pink flat sheet with swirly brown and red flowers to be made into pajama pants via an amy butler pattern. soulemama made the great point that if your pj pants are made of soft old sheets it's like never leaving bed when you wear them!

the real stash came from the estate sale. i went to two in one morning with my mother in law, and saw some really amazing stuff! i think the trick is finding the balance between appreciating someone's really cool old junk without it necessarily having to become your cool old junk... which is definitely hard when the junk is cool and the prices are cheap. i did stock up on some tools and practical sewing tools.

a box of 50's era christmas cards for 50 cents. recipe cards with a matching box for $1. embroidery hoops, also 50 cents each. christmas holly leaf print and plain trims (including mini rick rack!), and the best part... and entire ziplock bag full of teeny tiny for 2 bucks. why is this my favorite? what would you ever do with a whole bag full of microscopically small crochet hooks?

well. make intricately crocheted snowflake ornaments, of course! i also got this set of 5 ornate and beautiful snowflakes, pre-stiffened, glittered, and ready for hanging on the tree or window next year.

obviously, the ladies of these estate sales were both very skilled
crafters and their families have no idea how much time and effort it
must have taken to make something like these. the lady that made these also made the tiny sequined stockings i wrote about yesterday. to be honest, i don't know if i'll ever invest the true time, effort, and patience to crochet something so incredibly intricate, but i do have the hooks to experiment with! for now they'll live safe and snug with my other crochet hooks in a roll up case made from the blue printed martha stewart pillowcases in the stash picture.

ps- don't forget to go enter to win some free goodies... all you have to do is say hello!


getting projects done!

i've been really careful to try not to overuse the cliched phrases that most people use after a loved one passes away such as "mom would have wanted it" or "if there's one thing i've learned from all this." but truthfully, it would be a lie to pretend like i didn't learn quite a bit from the whole situation. i touched on it a little bit when i wrote about the amazing quilt mom had to leave unfinished, but i really have thought quite a bit about finishing projects. it's a tricky thing to leave something unfinished because, with my mom for example, although the things she started can be completed now that she's gone, it's impossible to know how she would have made them or to make them in the same way she would have. in some situations, it's now impossible to know even why she was making certain items or who they were intended for. it's very typical of me to have several (and i mean several. half a dozen to a dozen at any given time) projects in various stages of completion around me all the time. i used to enjoy picking one up and working on it for a little while and then moving on to something else, or getting a brilliant idea for a project and realizing about halfway through the execution that it was not such a brilliant idea at all.

since christmas two years ago, i've wanted to make an advent garland of little mini stockings that could hold a little piece of candy or a toy or a verse to read to count down to christmas. i had seen lots of inspiring ideas of what i had in mind, and now that i keep somehow not getting it done, i've come to a shocking realization. they don't all have to be handmade... i will most likely get the garland done and able to enjoy it much more quickly if i loosen my grip a little bit on my obsession and perfectionism.

shocking, i know.

so, in that vein, i started collecting a few non-handmade cute mini-stockings that i found super cheap on the after-christmas clearance at target and added them to two that actually are handmade, but not by me (i bought them at an estate sale a few months ago).

left to right: 1 is a gift card holder from target, 2 and 3 are red and cream handmade and hand-sequined felt found in a bag of random ornaments (all for $1) from an estate sale, 4 is a crocheted ornament from target, and 5 is a "mini stocking" i think meant to hold a small gift, also from target (yay target).

so, twenty more and i'll be good to go. i've yet to decide how or if i will add the days of the month to them or not. i really love the navy blue one with the felt snowflakes appliqued and stitched on here and there. spend a little while clicking through the incredibly cute ideas on flickr, and i promise you'll want to attempt one of some sort, even if you don't consider yourself particularly "crafty." hopefully i'll get mine finished and ready to use this coming christmas.


i almost missed it!

lovely friends and readers, please join me as i celebrate my first full year of blogging... my blogiversary! with all the unwelcome excitement of the past two months, i almost missed it. what fun to read back over my first post and think of how long ago that felt and how quickly this year has passed! one year ago i began writing, with no expectation that anyone would necessarily ever read, intending to use this space as an outlet for new ideas and a scrapbook of projects in their various stages of progress. along the way there's been a launch party, a craft-in, lots of inspiration, and more than a few big dreams.

thank you so much, those of you who have joined me! as a thank you to all of you, i'd like to open a little drawing... everyone that leaves a comment on this post from now until february 28th will be entered to win a fun thank you package of ellebee studio goodies! this is a great time for anybody out there who may be lurking to come say hello... and hey, we all love free stuff. so leave a little hello for me if you've been meaning to introduce yourself. i'd love to meet you! (ps- it's super easy. just click "comments" at the very bottom of my writing here and leave your name and email so i can let you know if i draw your name). i'll extend it to february 28th (my mom's birthday) because if you're anything like me, it helps to have a little extra time to accomplish all the i've-been-meaning-to-do-thats. plus, i'll be looking forward to sending out that cheerful package!


baby photo.

ok, i know, it doesn't count as a real post, but i went through tons of pictures to make a photo slideshow for my mom's memorial service this past thursday, and i had to share this one. this is me and my mom (with my big brother in the background) in my great aunt and uncle's backyard pool in florida, circa 1984.


i love this picture, it makes me so happy.

needless to say, the loss of my mom, my crafting mentor and sounding board, has thrown my creative world for a total loop. it's hard to enjoy any of my usual take-my-mind-off-of-it activities like crafting or shopping, because they all just make me think of her even more. i know this will be a long process of getting back into some semblance of "normal." i'm having lots of carpe diem thoughts of how to really try my hardest at making something of ellebee studio, and at the same time i'm also thinking it might be a good idea to filter these ideas with a bit of grace and understanding towards myself because of the crazy ups and downs mourning a loved one can bring. the past week has been like one giant mood swing. it's so weird how one (albeit major) event in life brings the struggle between feeling a frantic need for productiveness and an apathetic "all there is is time" attitude.

i'm not sure how all this fits into the crafting i will inevitably do from here, but there it is... my thoughts for what they are. sometimes all you can do is put them out of your head and into existence and wait to see what they really become. i think a little sleep may help bring a bit of clarity too, and so that is where i'm headed...


my perfect mom.

my mom nancy
february 28, 1955- january 5, 2008

"a wife of noble character who can find?
she is worth far more than rubies.
she selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
she sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
she makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
she makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
she is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
she speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
'many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.'
charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

-proverbs 31

more crafting soon, i promise.


a new year.


a mixture of thoughts for a difficult year:

"a long december, and there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last... the smell of hospitals in winter, and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters but no pearls" -counting crows

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our
pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." -c.s. lewis, the problem of pain

"peace i leave with you; my peace i give you. i do not give to you as the world gives. do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." -john 14:27


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