Monday, December 22, 2008

Giddy with Hope.

This fabulous print is available HERE.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December Kits are here!!!

Amy and I have really gone all out in creating these December kits for Gauche Alchemy! Each kit is so full of vintage goodies and various holiday ephemera, I can barely stand it--

Adorable felt shapes, holiday advertisements from the 40's and 50's, epoxy letters, vintage-inspired fabrics and handmade fabric buttons. It's certainly our largest kit yet, and quite possibly my favorite!

Here is the original post on the Gauche Alchemy site: December Kit

Please note that there are still 3 of the Cosmo Cricket booklets to give away, so go snatch up your kit today!! Visit our SHOP. Through 12/23/08, take 20% off any one kit in stock or free U.S. shipping (international customers will get an $8 shipping credit). To get this discount, please use the code "HOLIDAY10" in the comment/message box and indicate whether you'd like the free ship or 20% off.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Could it Be??

I think I'm in love...

with all things Hambly!
Would it be wrong to make out with a piece of paper...a softly shimmering, hand screenprinted, luscious piece of paper? Maybe I'll just caress it gently for now.
Papercuts, you know.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lessons in enough

The hubs has his second job interview at noon today (it's currently 11:58am). More than an interview, it is an audition of sorts-- he is giving a presentation to a class of sixth graders in hopes of landing a job teaching humanities at a fantastic private school. Quite nervous, he is, and doubting his capabilities and talent.
I sit at my desk and send him a silent message (as I often do)..."I love you; you can do this" I repeat in silent meditation over and over in hopes that he will feel my fervent support. But the message I immediately got back was "love is not enough."
If love is indeed insufficient, then what shall I give? Hubs has, during this (too long) period of unemployment, stated that I have not given him the kind of support he requires. But when I earnestly asked what he needed from me, he could not articulate.
So, every day I give all that I can. I get up in the morning before the sun is up, prepare for the day and commute to work. I spend the daylight hours performing my office duties at a job that I enjoy (but does not begin to fulfill my calling in life). I take care of others, and then drive home to care for MY "others", my family. Dinners are prepared, a munchkin gets a bath (if it's a good day), and we try to enjoy a few hours of family life before the cycle starts all over again. I know that we are blessed, and I am so thankful for all we have.
But carrying this all is kind of starting to hurt my shoulders...
I continue to follow this routine daily as my way of showing support and love for my family. I pay every bill (one task among many) so we can have a cozy home, food in our pantry, and so that TQ can have a happy childhood. I may not be the perfect cheerleader, and my support might not be in the form of fresh flowers on the nightstand, or frosted cupcakes on a platter delivered with a smile (although we do make cupcakes from time to time), but it's what I can give. It's my heart in the form of homemade lasagna, or a game of CandyLand, or clean, cool sheets on the bed.
I think it's enough. I hope it's enough.
At least for today.

Monday, November 24, 2008

See, toddler parties CAN be fun!!

This weekend we attended the birthday party of my dear friend Amy's daughter, Jhaleah. The train park was the name of the game, and we enjoyed the fantastic weather and watched the kids run around. Here are some highlights...
~Stefan, Amy, Yasu and our kiddos on the train~

Here's the birthday cutie taking a ride on the carousel with her mom!

I can't believe how big the girls are getting! TQ will be four in a month (no wonder I'm so tired!)
If you love these photos, please visit Liquid Shutter Photography! Anna and Stephen are an amazing team here in Phoenix. Family photos for the holidays??? We had a family photo session with them a couple years ago, and a few of the pics are featured in the "lifestyle" section of their website. New baby, weddings, family photos...they do a fantastic job!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Accidental Feminist

I know...I know...I am a terrible blogger. Most of you have probably lost hope and moved on to more stylish, fancy blogs with numerous colorful pictures and witty commentary about life and art. Well, I DO have goodies to share--recipes, layouts (gasp!) and some other fun things that I will be sharing in the next few days. In the meantime, read this glaringly honest essay by a woman who is (unfortunately) speaking my language. Well, except we don't have a dog and I certainly don't need extra-small gloves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


No, I'm not the personal bestower of these lovely vintage-inspired goodies, but they ARE beautiful nonetheless... click HERE to read all the juicy details of this collection from Webster's Pages and have your chance to win the entire collection!
Go on the link...just don't drool on your keyboard.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Every day has seemingly run into the next, and I hate it when people apologize for being "away" from their blog, because if you're doing it right, most of life happens while your away from your computer. And, believe you me, life is happening...every moment. Children are growing, relationships are evolving and changing (for better and for worse), and I find myself floating in a sea of financial concerns, still-hot afternoons (98 degrees in October!), and muttled personal relationships. But paired with these things are great support of friends and family, the excitement (and work) of a budding new business, and the satisfaction of making a way for myself and remembering that I am an artist EVERDAY, regardless of how many (or few) canvases I may touch on any given day.

Today I take a moment to observe myself, and realize what my subconsious already knows: I am completely capable of rising above the endless run-on sentence that is my life right now and find my way.

And, dare I say, be happy.

Don't leave me now, friends, because great things are afoot.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Come see the amazing SLURRY!

Gauche Alchemy is pleased as punch to introduce our newest product, the Slurry! Slurries will be full of bits...of this and that. Vintage postcards, labels, buttons, scraps of paper, you name it! Our premier Slurry is called "Fun and Games," and is comprised of 99% vintage game pieces, score cards, play money and various ephemera. We've found board games from the 30's and 40's and now you get to add those fab pieces to your layouts or collage projects. And at $9.95, you really can't pass it up!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

October Guest Design Team Search!

This is a repost from our Gauche Alchemy blog:

We are looking for you!!!! Amy and I are so excited to get some “new blood” here at Casa Gauche Alchemy!
We are searching for an OCTOBER Guest Design Team member to help us shake things up. Applicants must have a sense of humor, an artistic eye and know how to color outside of the lines!

To be considered, please submit your most fabulous recent layout or project to: with DESIGN TEAM in the subject header by Friday, September 26.

Please include your name, contact information, blog or gallery link (if applicable), and a paragraph or two telling us about why you love paper arts.

*Deadline for submission is September 26, and we will announce our winner on our blog no later than September 29.
*Winner will receive the complete October kit (and some extra goodies!), and will be required to complete projects as directed. Promotion on your blog is also encouraged.
*International applicants are welcome!

Don’t be shy—all applicants are welcome, regardless of level of experience! Come play with us!
{image courtesy of the amazing Helen Dardik. See more of her creations HERE}

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fall Bedroom

Doesn't this bedroom look cozy? I know, it's the whole "dark colours make rooms look smaller" blah blah blah, but I can't help but be drawn to this warm, chocolaty brown tone. I just want to snuggle up with a good book on that bed.

The punches of fuschia, yellow and peacock really liven the space as well.

Visit the lovely Design Sponge blog to see more!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

To all the Pups I've loved before

TQ has loved animals from the time that she was very small. Today she would like to introduce you to a few of her favorites.
This shaggy pup is named D'Bella. TQ names all her pets herself, without our input. She is one of her rotating favorite pups.

These are some of her more diminutive friends. Daddy lets her buy them out of the little machine at the grocery store (way better then bubble gum, right?). They're great for when you're walking across the carpet barefoot, especially late at night!

This pink kitty has several aliases, including Sarah and Pinky. A constant playmate who can often be found sleeping in an empty tissue box or Lego container. Precious.

TQ is growing weary of all this animal talk. Show and tell is over (for now...).

NEXT time, she will introduce to the infamous golden pooch that we all love, PUDDING!!!
{yes, that really is her dog's name, no foolin'}

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sewing...who knew?

{supplies used: from Gauche Alchemy premier kit- Bazzill bling cardstock, vintage magazine ad, pattern tissue, vintage seam binding and button, regal paperclips, basic grey patterned paper}

Well, I was making a card for our design team examples at Gauche Alchemy headquarters (Amy's house), and I decided to try out her sewing machine. I think I'm in love! I spent some time poking around Craigslist today looking for a used sewing machine, but didn't find one that I was completely excited about. I would love to get one that is easy to manipulate if I wanted to do some freestyle stitching on a scrapbook layout. Oh yeah, and one that is very user friendly and doesn't take up too much space. Any advice? Or maybe you have a fabulous sewing machine collecting dust in your guest room that you would like to give a good home?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You keep me spinning

Every now and again I get completely agitated with the incomplete, disheveled state of our home. I'm not talking about the inevitable clutter of toys, books and junk mail--in a small home with a preschooler, a packrat, and a (sometimes) lazy housekeeper, I've resigned myself to their constant existance. We have lived in our house for just over a year, and there are some pretty significant things that we have yet to accomplish. Time and lack of finances have held us back, but that doesn't stop me from pouring over home design magazines and blogs searching for perfect paint color combos and my dream master bath complete with soaking tub.

First, there's the fence. Even when we purchased the house, it was in a state of disrepair. Rickety, wooden fence, falling down in places. How about this instead?

I love the look of the horizontal slats...much more sophisticated than the block fences in most Arizona yards.

Then there's the master bedroom {big project}. I'm longing for one of these:

...and am inspired by these peacock colours...

Wondering if the saturated color would be too much for the bedroom, but I just think it's so beautiful! Maybe an accent wall, combined with a more subtle neutral. I just can't help myself...good thing the hubs is mostly color blind, right? That little fact gives me much creative freedom (I also have a pink office!).

So, I will continue to sit here at my desk until 5pm and return to the charming house of much clutter. But at least it's all mine (ours).

Monday, September 1, 2008


Sorry I have been so absent these past couple weeks; every spare moment not at work or home has been used to prepare for Gauche Alchemy's big launch September 1! It's here, finally, and to see the freshly posted kits in our humble Etsy shop is more gratifying than I could have imagined.

Here is a layout I completed last night using the products from the "Lush" kit featuring the fabulous and tarty Renee. As the title indicates, she is one high class broad (and one of my very favorite people in the world):

All I ask of you is this... visit our blog, and stop by our store and let us know what you think. Even if you don't have a scrapbookin' art-makin' bone in your body, any feedback that you have would be appreciated.

Thanks for your support--wish us luck and SPREAD THE WORD!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sneak Peeks- oh my!

Quick! Clickie here to catch a glimpse of the premier Gauche Alchemy kits! Available for sale in only ONE WEEK!!! Yipee! Drop me a line of you want to reserve a kit of your very own-- we are releasing a limited set of 11 of each theme for the initial launch, so don't miss out!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Every now and again...

we need to know that we're not our struggles, in our successes, in our everyday activities. This is a post from a fabulous design blog, Decor8, that I read regularly. It is beautifully written and very inspirational-- please take a moment to read it. This particular post really struck a chord with me, as it speaks to exactly where I'm at in finding
my creative "place"
in the world. I find myself getting resentful towards the unfavorable circumstances before me, every obstacle small or large, and discouraged in general because of the amount of responsibilities pulling me in all directions. But **hello**, that's life! Life is full of hurdles, responsibilities and obligations that must be attended to. But it is also full of joy, magical moments, and blissful contentment if we choose to see those things. I think that if we could spend more time being thankful for all those wonderful things we have in our lives right now and less time wishing things were somehow different, perhaps that peace can wash over the chaos. I need to let go and focus on fostering creative activities in my daily life, and creating an environment that will allow my artistic career to develop, as opposed to trying to control every detail and getting completely overwhelmed in the process. My careerIS moving forward, and I truly believe that things will fall into place, but in the meantime, there are 3-year-old princesses to play dress-up with and a hubs that could use an extra smooch (or two).
~artwork: "we all flock to ruby" by Marisa at Creative Thursday~

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stay Tuned...

I promise to get things updated in the next day or so, but in the meantime, here's a cute child! In this photo, she has layered two (2!) pairs of pajama pants, her favorite bling cross necklace and a smile. She's a ham for sure! A very cute ham, but a ham nonetheless. Maybe she could be Mr. T or MC Hammer for Halloween this year...

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Unveiling

I'm soooo thrilled with our new logo for Gauche!! We discovered Kim Carter at Paper Heart Press on Etsy and immediately fell in love with her whimsical style. She really listened to our concept ideas and ran with it, creating something that is all at once girly, vintage-esque and a little off (in the best possible way). She incorporated a delightfully delicate cockroach which I think is pure genius! Thanks, Kim, for all your hard work. We love it! Our logo, blog and Etsy banners and avatar are just THE BEST.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Your Opinion, Please.

I, in typical Heather fashion, am having a little trouble making a decision. So, I need you help...
Do you prefer:
1.) MonkeyMine Creations
2.) MonkeyMine Originals
3.) Monkeymine Studio

I am leaning towards one of these, but would really like to hear your opinion, so please leave a comment! This would be the name for my website and personal business of custom scrapbooking, hip kids decor, portraiture and whatever else floats my creative boat that particular month.

Thanks, all! Hope your week is a good one so far!

Friday, August 8, 2008

New tush!

Here's a cutie baby tush for your viewing enjoyment! This one is going to be hanging in the fabulous consignment boutique HISSYFITS!
I promise some scrappy pics this weekend, but until then...
happy, happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008



I, along with my (other) business partner, Amy Wing, are tickled pink to announce the upcoming launch of our kit club, Gauche Alchemy. These darling scrapbook and collage kits will be full to the brim with vintage goodies of all sorts-- ribbons, children's books, buttons, sheet music, advertisements--as well as a selection of complimentary crafty supplies and scrapbook papers. Each kit will have a theme; something catchy, perhaps something slightly innapropriate, dark and always humerous.
We officially launch in the beginning of September [so soon!], but in the mean time, take a look at our blog to get a sneak peek. Make sure you leave a comment on the latest Gauche blog entry to be entered in a fabulous drawing!!!
Amy and I have had so much fun hand-picking all the amazing finds to include in these premier kits. We have spent months scheming (I mean planning) this business concept and doing all the legwork to get it ready. It hardly seems like work because it's just so darn fun! I can not wait to open our Etsy shop so we can share our treasures with all of you!
So, stay tuned for updates (and maybe some prizes!) If you would like to reserve a kit, drop me a line. We are planning on keeping the prices around $30+shipping. We will also have "grab bags" full of trims, fabric and smaller items for $10-$15.
Hooray! I'm so excited, I think I could tinkle!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What a Wirlwind!

Well, I have just returned to the office after spending the morning at the beautiful Tropical Mist Day Spa being interviewed for the Awhatukee Foothills news. I was joined by Jessica, the co-owner of Three Purple Pigs, Michelle, with Precious Wee Piggies, and of course Gloria of Maternity Keepsakes and Save My Tush. I can't even begin to describe how inspirational it was to meet and be surrounded by these mothers-- entrepreneurs, really-- who have created successful businesses AND are raising amazing families. I am SOO not even in the same league as them! After spending some time with them, and listening to parts of their interviews, I feel like I am suddenly a part of an incredible support system. We all have an artistic longing to create something, and to share it with other women (and their munchkins, too). I am feeling thouroughly encouraged to jump in and start my own business!

Thank you so much, Gloria, for believing in my artictic abilities sight unseen and encouraging me to follow my dream. Slowly, but surely, things are coming together; opportunities are being placed in front of me, and I know that I am on the right path.

Next on the calendar... a Women's Expo, a Children's Fair at the end of the month, my OTHER business venture, Gauche Alchemy {to be explained in detail soon, I promise}, a website (what do we think about MonkeyMine as a business name????? Or MonkeyMine studios?), a logo, business cards and a couple TV spots. Oh yeah, and there are several art projects in the pipeline, too. Does anyone have any brilliant ideas as to how to get more hours in a day?? I'm not sure how to fit this all in. Oh yeah, I've gotta quit my day job. (: Good luck with that, right? If anyone has any fantastic part-time opportunities, let me know!

Friday, August 1, 2008

I guess so

I just found out that Gloria and I will be featured in an article in the Awhatukee Foothills News. We will be interviewed next Tuesday. How crazy is that?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My first commission

It seems that the tush tag business is off and running, so to speak. Thanks to Gloria's hard work, I am already receiving orders for these dainty darlings. Here is a detail of my first completed tag commission for little Miss Amie Addison.

I'm pretty proud of how this first endeavor turned out. I have learned that it takes a completely different set of skills to work on something that is only 1"x3" with such detail, but overall it is quite gratifying. I think I spent at least 2 hours getting this one just right, but hopefully as I do more of them, I will become more efficient. I used Bazzill cardstock as the base; patterned paper is My Mind's Eye. This is all hand-stamped with distressed edges using Ranger inks. Heidi Swapp tiny jewels, vintage button and paper flowers (which I inked as well) are from Target (gotta love that dollar section!).

I will try to post a pic of the tag once it is adhered to the tiny tush so you can get the complete picture.

I'm delighted to say that I have a quickly growing list of scrapbook and collage projects that need to be completed-- artwork for a little independent film (or two...), more tush tags, and a couple design team calls that I am VEERRY excited to put in for.
[Looks like I have some late nights ahead of me; good thing about that recent coffee epiphany, eh?]

For those of you who are not giant scrap geeks like myself, let me explain. Most scrapbook manufacturers and even scrap retailers have a design team to help with the promotion of their products. Some design team positions are paid, but most just offer gratis, which you can then use to create your monthly assignments. It's really fantastic, because if you have any idea how much money can be so easily spent on supplies, you would gasp in horror!! {it's an addiction almost more compelling than the scrapbooking itself} So, for this month, my very favorite local scrapbook store, Mystic Paper, is looking for new design team members. I have been shopping there with my friend Amy for quite a while now, and from the moment you walk into the shop, owners Jennifer and Kim make you feel right at home. Their selection is so fabulous and enticing-- I DARE you to leave without an bagful of goodies! I would be so honored to be a part of their creative team, and am so excited to put together my projects for their call.
**wish me luck-- hopefully I will dazzle them with my eclectic style**

PS It's almost Friday...weeeee!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Coffee, my true love

Readers, it is true. Caffeine, specifically in espressinated coffee form, is my not-so-secret lover. We have a very special relationship, the big C and I. We take long rides in the car, and sit in bookstores together reading silently. I steal the occasional appreciative glance, knowing that he really is the perfect reading companion.
But only the very best will do. That's not to say that in a moment of headache-induced desperation, I won't make a visit to the local QT or Denny's. But, over the years, my experiences working as a barista have made me a bit of a coffee snob. Which is why when I read this article, I was a bit skeptical of its simplicity. I've ordered cold brew coffee at my neighborhood coffee shop (Xtreme Bean in Tempe makes a decent cup), and have toyed with the idea of purchasing a cold brew contraption specifically for this purpose. But after reading this, I decided to follow the VEEERY simple recipe using my handy dandy french press. I combined 1 cup of coarse grind beans (for this experiment, I used one of my fave organic Trader Joe's blends) and 2 1/2 cups of room temperature water in my press, stirred gently, placed the lid on top and let it rest on my counter overnight. In the morning, I strained the resulting liquid into a small pitcher-- it resembled strong coffee {quelle suprise!!}. I sniffed (smelled like coffee), I took a tiny sip (tasted like coffee). I poured two fingers worth into a glass and mixed in some cream and a handful of ice. The beverage that I then tasted was, without doubt, the most flavorful coffee drink I have ever tasted! Full of depth and character without the acidic aftertaste!

Could it be? All these years of spending $5 on my morning soy latte, and this whole time the makings of my perfect iced beverage companion were in my own kitchen all along! I was embarassed and pleasantly surprised all at once.

This morning I was able to make my coffee drink at home in about 3 seconds AND I got to keep my $5 bill in my wallet. And my tastebuds were none the wiser. How great is that?

Saturday, July 26, 2008


{I couldn't resist these beautiful of my favorite flowers!}
Well, I've finally created a fun header for my blog. I went to my good friend and business partner Amy's house for a late night scrap-n-gab session which was therapeutic on so many levels. Gotta love some serious girltalk! I think I'm fairly happy with how the new look turned the grey too drab? Your feedback is always welcome.

Have a fantastic weekend, kids!!
xox, H

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You like me, you REALLY like me!!

Over the past week, I have gotten several blog comments from a lovely assortment of people who have stumbled into my little corner of the blog universe from other craft inspired and scrapbooking blogs. To all you friends and readers, I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! I've received lots of encouraging words and sweet comments and that is so thrilling to me!
Stay tuned, because there will be BIG NEWS coming up very soon! {NO, I'm not pregnant}
Something fun, something to make your little crafty heart content...filled with vintage, kitschy goodness and possibly pink sprinkles.
More details very soon...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Scrappin'

I've had this layout waiting for it's final embellishments for about a week now, and I finally got to finish it this afternoon. I adore the bright colors and, of course, TQ's facial expressions!

Here's to a new week! Hope it's a great one!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just a regular Summer afternoon

In the summertime here in Phoenix, this is what we live for. It was probably still near 100 degrees, but it felt amazing. Stefan took these snaps last Sunday during a really heavy monsoon. Some of the homes in our neighborhood were even flooded. The freeway that runs a block from our home was closed for several hours due to clogged, flooded drains. But us in our cozy shack just enjoyed a good soak.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday Finds

This week so far has been a whirlwind of day job, family time and creative inspiration! Several artistic endeavors and projects are in the development process [including the tushy tags]. I can't wait to share details, but for now let's just say that I am making baby steps toward launching a more creatively fulfilling career! ** EEK- so excited!**

Part of the fun of this journey is becoming familiar with the work of so many amazing artists! The internet is such a fantastic tool for this-- hundreds of artists at your fingertips. Technology is a beautiful thing. One artist that has absolutely blown my mind is Jennifer Khoshbin. Her work feeds my current obsession with patterned papers, vintage books and botanical imagery all in one delicious package. It is at once whimsical and poignant, contemporary and completely timeless.

The decoupaged insects were my initial discovery of Jennifer's, as I was searching for "painted bugs" (research for a TOP SECRET art project!). As I continued my navigation through her exhibitions, I was dazzled by her paper cutouts and detail in each piece. Her artistic statement for the first book series was something that really struck me-- "In these experiments I am trying to delve into the books, into facts and knowledge, as a way to understand my world. Using the surface space to express what I 'dig-up', I seek some resolution between the organic and the inorganic, hoping for the authentic. " Amazing.

[all photos from Jennifer Khoshbin's site]

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tushy Tags!

{Sorry for the poor quality photos, but I just couldn't wait to show you my new goodies!}
I have a little sneak peek for you...they're called tushy tags, and they're the very latest in baby bum fashion. My dear friend, Gloria, who is amazing in too many ways to elaborate on here, is the owner of Maternity Keepsake. She does belly casts for pregnant mothers and turns them into works of art to be cherished forever. Her latest endeavor involves casting newborn tushies, and I am so very honored to say that she has asked me to be a part of her business by creating customized tags for the completed works. These are a few of the creations that I came up with over the weekend- I would love some feedback, so please leave me comments! I'm trying to create a variety of styles as examples. Each tag will be customized to the mother's specifications, or she can choose from a selection of tags that I have already created.

Please visit Gloria's site to get a closer look at her remarkable work. It really is a labor of love, and she is a huge inspiration to me.