Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Inspiration Boards

Here are the inspiration boards I made to get me going with my art. I gathered things from here, there and everywhere it seems. I just started selecting things that really spoke to me. That was my only criteria when I was creating them. So far they have been serving their purpose.
They really were alot of fun to create. It really helped to clarify again what I am really drawn to. I leave them up where I can see them during the day so ideas may take hold.

Monday, December 28, 2009

If you celebrated I hope your Christmas was great. Ours was. We indulged in lots of food and play. We enjoyed our time with family so much. They were all so generous and they are really appreciated!

My parents did the nicest thing for me. They took my piece that was published in Somerset Studio magazine last year and had it framed. It was so sweet. My mom even crocheted a beautiful granny square blanket for me too!

My husband gave me two new sketch books and a great book by SARK (among other things). There were many other wonderful and thoughtful gifts and I feel so thankful.

The new toys are being loved by all and we are slowly easing back into a normal routine. My son is off for holiday break so we are hoping to go sledding.

Just before Christmas I read this post started in the Etsy message boards by Etsy seller soapdeli. I just read the first few comments (need to go and read the rest) but I learned that you can purchase a domain name and have it directed to your blog. I love when people are so open and share useful info. I am really still in the upside of the learning curve with blogging, marketing, etc. so when I come across a nugget of useful info it makes be so happy. So now the address for this blog is www.danabarbieri.com. It still works with the blogspot address as well.

I will be back soon to show you what I have been working on.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I am just popping in today to wish all peace and love this holiday season. We are enjoying these last few days before Christmas. Our house if fragrant with the lovely smell of the paper whites.
We are all lit up with holiday lights.
Yesterday I enjoyed some time with my son painting. He is so sweet and gives me tons of encouragement just when I need it most.
Working with my inspiration boards. I will share them soon.

So wherever you are and whatever you may do this season may it be merry and bright.
See you soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I hope you are having a great weekend so far. We are having a nice and cold one here. We are expecting a big snowstorm here in NY so tomorrow may look like this
I LOVED this book as a child (still do). Also, Peter's Chair by the same author. The illustrations always sucked me in. The colors are great and so is the story.

Along with many others, I don't plan on being too plugged in over the next week. We are winding down to the big day. I am not the type to get too crazed at this time of the year. We don't go overboard with the gift giving and we focus on doing many fun things as a family. Which brings me to traditions. The things my husband and I did as a couple at this time of the year have certainly changed since we had children. We are still developing our traditions since our kids are still quite young but some of the things we do to celebrate are:

-Cut the Christmas tree down at the Christmas tree farm. Sip hot chocolate afterward.

-Watch holiday movies. The Polar Express (my son is loving this one this year), Rudolph and Frosty ( my daughter asks to watch these nearly every day ), Elf (lots of laughs for my husband and me) and I love It's a Wonderful Life. I have to watch that one every year.

-Drive around with the kids in their jammies to look at Christmas lights.

-Make cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

-Have breakfast with Santa.

-Making lots of gifts to give to family and friends

What are your holiday traditions?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All I want for Christmas

O.K. this isn't all I want for Christmas but don't you just love these Happy Tapes? They have great colors and patterns and are made with Japanese washi paper. Lots of possibilities for using them.. collage, packages, cards, tags. Just to name a few.

I hope everyone is having a great week so far. Today I left to bring my son to school only to discover that they had a two hour delay due to ice. I should of known after I almost fell on my way to the car. So instead we did our grocery shopping. Then we danced to Christmas music and played pin the nose on the Santa. I found a couple of great sites with Christmas games for the kids. Christmas Party Games for Little Kids and Kaboose. The countdown continues.

I have been chugging along with my inspiration boards which are fun but I feel like I "need" to make something. I think I am inspiring myself. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I came across this this a.m. as I opened a book I hadn't read in a long time. I really love it! I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I am going into a bit of a quiet mode. I am preparing for Christmas and making inspiration boards and sketches, which I hope to share soon.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Last night snow fell... about 5 inches and as I write this more snow mixed with ice is coming down. It is a winter wonderland out there. Very pretty. So we may have a white Christmas :) We haven't put the tree up yet ( this weekend). We have been decorating a bit. I made a wreath for our door....
we made mixed media snowmen....
and Santa. The snowmen and Santa were activities from the countdown to Christmas calendar. Tonight we were going to attend a Winter Wonderland at school but it has been postponed due to the snow. My son doesn't mind. He is outside shoveling with his dad now.
I have begun to paint/collage. I have been unhappy with the attempts so far. So I am doing it anyway. I feel like there is so much to try and explore but I feel like I have been here before. Afraid. Afraid of not being good enough. Afraid of this and that. So I am just going to feel it and do it anyway. So what if it isn't the result I want yet. That is o.k. So I have been sketching ideas, gathering images for inspiration boards and just going for it. I may wind up with tons of not so good, but maybe a few will be good. I know I am not the only one who has felt this way. So I just want to say if you are here too that it is o.k. You will get through it. We will get through it. Inner critic take a hike!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Holiday How To: Scrap Paper Gift Tags

I used some of my scrap paper again. This time to make some gift tags. I love the way the one tag turned into a house, I just cut the door out.

-Lots of scrap paper, cut into small pieces
-Glue ( I used Modge Podge, I think)
-Plastic bag ( or you could use a plastic container of some sort)
-Blank tags
-Wax paper to let your scrap paper dry
How to:
-Throw all of your scraps into the plastic bag and pour in enough glue to cover the paper.
-Make sure it is all covered. I used my hands to squish it around.
-Lay your scrap paper (all covered in glue) out on the wax paper. Make sure all the pieces are touching. There can be spaces, makes a nice lacey effect.
-Now let it dry. Overnight is best
-Once it is dry you can cut out into shapes. Glue onto your tag. Attach a ribbon through the hole at the top of the tag. Leave a space for writing or write on the back.

Desiderata-Words for life

I was given this book as a gift years ago and it is still so great to go back and re-read. I have given it as gifts and it has been received well. It was photo illustrated by Marc Tauss. The pictures are beautiful!! It seems it is only offered on Amazon in Spanish. But the link takes you to Ebay. It has many used copies. I am sure there are many more beautifully illustrated versions as well.


Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


It snowed here yesterday, not alot but enough to make this...
My kids were so excited for the first snow that they had me outside at 8:30 a.m. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. What is the weather like where you are?

I am playing around with the layout of the blog so if something seems wonky here and there you know why.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Anthropologie Inspiration

These images are from the recent Anthropologie catalog. There were lots of inspiring pics.

These images are from the recent Anthropologie catalog. There were lots of inspiring pics. I love this purse!
Cool print on the dress.
Lovely ribbon work don't you think?

Friday, December 04, 2009

A page from my sketchbook

I spent about an hour last night working fast in my sketchbook. A great to unwind from a busy day.

I am really feeling the need (it really is a need) to paint and collage. Ideas are floating around in my head and I love to be able to play with them in my sketchbook. It feels safe and free and I enjoy being able to share some of the pages with you.

I am going to be focusing more on painting and collage in the new year. I am going to learn more about blogging and websites and shops amongst many other things. I also want to sign up for
A Year of Color after reading about it in Artful Blogging. Not sure if it is happening for 2010. Does anyone know more? What are you going to be working on in the new year?

Just wanted to mention that on the Bella Wish blog she is giving away 3 copies of Kelly Rae's book Taking Flight. Isn't that sweet? You have until Monday to stop by and comment for a chance to win.

Stop by Regina's blog, Creative Kismet by tonight (Friday) for a chance to win a great giveaway.

Also, I read about UK handmade mag on Lupin's blog. She has an awesome tutorial on her blog and in the online mag. It is also filled with lots of other great goodies. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sneak Peek

A new all white wreath. Available here tomorrow.


* I really want a print of this new painting by Kelly Rae. Something about this one really speaks to me. I love the title "What is calling you?". I love the layers and I always love butterflies. They hold a special meaning for me.
* I found Cori Dantini's work (Above). Love it!! She had a post on her blog about Squeak Carnwath.
The link takes to her you tube video about her art and process. So great! Here is a link to her website.

*Gorgeous paper cuts by Skinny Laminx
*I bought myself a copy of Artful Blogging the other day. This was a big splurge for me. It was money well spent. I am only about a third of the way through and I can't wait to read more. I usually read this in the bookstore but it was great to take it home and take my time with it. I already follow tons of blogs but I can't wait to go check out all of these. Love the photos and articles. Check it out if you don't already.

*I love that my daughter is so into Frosty ( she calls him Christmas) and Rudolph ( she calls him reindeer) this year. She went down for her nap singing Frosty. She carries the plushies around with her all of the time. She gets so excited when she sees Santa. It is the cutest thing.

* I also love that she calls her brother my Ryan and her pajamas cajamas. I love this age.

I hope your week is a great one!

Monday, November 30, 2009

How to Holiday: Advent Christmas Countdown

So Tuesday starts the countdown to Christmas. I completely ran out of time to make the little stockings that I intended to use for the countdown. So the other day when I was in the craft store I decided to pick up a piece of foam core board and stickers. I already had the little pegs, the envelopes, and the ribbon. Originally I was going to glue the pegs on but then I thought I would be better off using ribbon and clipping them on. I again got my kids involved. They colored and applied tons of stickers. They loved it. I was going to paint or stamp the numbers on but in the end I just wrote them on with a Sharpie marker. You could do so many fun things with this. Lots of possibilities.


-1- 20"x30" foam core board
-1 spool of ribbon
-24 assorted envelopes
- stickers, crayons, paint, etc. go crazy here
-24 small wood pegs
- decorative scissors, regular scissors, marker, tape
-An awl or some other tool to poke a hole through the foam core board

How to:

1. Take all of your envelopes and lick them shut, fold, then cut in half vertically. You can use decorative scissors or regular ones. Your choice.

2. Decorate in whatever way you choose. Have fun with it!

3. Eyeball or measure 2 inches down from the top and two inches in from the sides and poke a hole with your awl on both sides. Attach a length of ribbon to one side and leave enough room for hanging and attach to the other. I just tied a knot.

4. Lay out the envelopes on your board. I did 3 across by 8 down. I then got out my ribbon and attached with tape on the back while the envelopes were still laying on the board. Just so I made sure they were in the right spot. Repeat up the board.

5. Attach envelopes with the pegs and hang your countdown.

Here are some of the things I am doing for the countdown:

-make cookies
-cut down the tree
-make gingerbread
-make xmas cards
-cut out and decorate snowmen
-go out to dinner
-go out and look at xmas lights
-eat ice cream after dinner
-watch a xmas movie before bed
-make a xmas garland
-decorate the tree
-go to the library and borrow 2 Christmas books/movies
-sing xmas carols
-attend a holiday event at the school

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cornstarch Clay

We began making some ornaments this weekend to give to teachers, friends and family. I try to have my kids get involved with as many acts of giving as I can. I also love for them to make things. My kids had a blast using the cookie cutters to cut out holiday shapes. I just poked a hole at the top and we let them dry. You could leave them white which I think is pretty and simple or paint them. My kids painted them. They loved that too!
I found this recipe and the instructions via familyfun.go. com. I first read it the magazine while I waited for a drs. appt. and then looked it up when I got home. This clay is easy peasy to make and it hardens up nice to make ornaments or whatever you like. We made 2 batches!

From the site....

Little fingers with limited modeling experience will appreciate this dense, easy-to-shape dough. The mixture's high salt content gives it a grainy texture and a sparkly white color, ideal for dyeing with food coloring or decorating with tempera paints.


1 cup salt
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Food coloring or tempera paints (optional)

Heat the salt and 1/3 cup of water over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. (An adult should prepare this mixture, which gets quite hot and bubbly.) Remove from heat and add the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. The mixture should now look like thick mashed potatoes; stir until it thickens, then let cool for a few minutes before kneading. If the dough feels too sticky at first, your child can work in some extra cornstarch as she kneads. Add food coloring, if desired.


When dry, this dough is heavy and durable, which makes it excellent for larger items, such as candlesticks, small bowls, trivets or a lasting impression of your child's hand. Cornstarch Clay's sticky consistency is also a plus when sculpting figures: A tail or head easily attaches to a body with a gentle push. One batch of dough is enough to make a slew of snowmen ornaments, Noah's ark figures or dollhouse characters.


1 to 4 days


Cornstarch Clay will keep unrefrigerated for up to 2 weeks when stored with a small bit of wet sponge in a plastic bag or sealed container.
My son painting them.
My daughter painting the freezer paper I put down to protect the table.
Finished painted ornaments ready for giving. I am going to attach them to a potted paper white.
This was really fun and it kept the kids busy for quite awhile.