Scallop Bunting Garlands


I thought I had posted about these garlands on my blog before but I can’t for the life of me find any trace mention of them.

It all started last summer when Ann from A Beautiful Party and I went to a workshop in Chicago and participated in maker project taught by Esther of Essimar. She taught us how to make these ornaments with scalloped decorated papers we made.

paper ornament

Mine looked like this, above. When I was done making my ornament I still had a bunch of my scalloped papers left and I gathered them all up and took them home with me. I didn’t know what would come of them but I thought they were too pretty to throw away. They sat on a shelf in my studio for months and months, then finally in February I had an idea and made the garland at the top. I sent it to a friend as a gift when she ordered something from my shop.

I really loved how it came out and wanted to make more. I had some craft paper on a roll and some acrylic paint and off I went.

Tonight's project, another scrappy garland.

I just love how I can play with paint, make patterns and a mess and they don’t have to be great or anything special, but cut it all up and voila, something functional and pretty!

I'm on a roll. Today it was a mint, black, gold, white and brown garland.

Each time I’ve started one I’ve been inspired by a color theme.

Robayre garland # 68 bobajillion

And then I started branching out from just acrylic paints but also using pastels, crayons, pencils and pens.


Right now I’ve been making each one with someone in mind, but I still need to actually send them out to each person, but I love making them so much that it might be possible to see some spring up in my etsy shop, so keep an eye out.

When I was taking lots of metalwork classes I thought the instructor should photograph the students' hands at the beginning of the semester and then once again at the end. There'd be so much grime embedded and injury inflicted and yet the hands would be m

#patterns #color #art #wip

Fitbit One Year Anniversary

Hello, fitbit

It is my fitbit one year anniversary!

Some days getting that 10,000 step smiley face is absolute torture!

Some days it is my saving grace.

I will be honest I have had some days I didn’t get my 10,000 steps in. I’m thinking it was probably around 6 days, and over 365 days that’s not bad! At 3 MILLION 967 THOUSAND and 584 steps over a year that averages to 10,870 steps every day, so I more than made up for those few days that I didn’t make 10,000.

I do wish that it had more of a positive effect on my waistline, but it’s something I work on that through my food choices all the time.

In the time I got my fitbit they have EXPLODED in popularity. I went from having 3 contacts on the friend page to having 20, many have told me it was because of my fitbit talk that got them interested in getting their own.

My feet or back used to hurt walking just to our downtown, now walking all over town and back is no longer an issue.

Today is my #OneYearAnniversary of when I got my #fitbit. #10,000 steps every day, still going strong.   8.11 fitbit one year

Here are a couple articles that you might be interested in reading about pedometer/trackers

Time Magazine Kathleen Parker: Count Me Out

New Yorker article David Sedaris Stepping Out, Living the Fitbit Life

My #fitbit said #woot! 15,000+ steps today

10,000 steps is great and I’m so proud of myself, but occasionally I think I really should aim higher. Obviously I have plenty of “over” days as my average is near 11,000 steps, but I am afraid that I won’t stick to it and it will cause the whole thing to fall apart and I don’t want to mess with a good thing. I feel like since “They” says that the average person should get 10,000 steps that’s what I work towards. Maybe I need to do some research and see what is recommended for someone wanting to lose weight.

Provisions of Food 52 Turns ONE!

Happy Birthday Provisions

I’m a proud vendor of Provisions at Food 52. I’m also excited to announce that Provisions is turning one today! To celebrate, we’re offering 10% off, with code ProvisionsPartner  Here’s to many more years together! The coupon is valid 8/5-8/11 and can be used on my Gold and Silver Garlands or many other wonderful products by other wonderful makers!

How do you like the birthday present I wrapped and decorated with the gold and silver garland, pictured above? I had the vision for the picture earlier today while I was at work and was itching to get home and put it together. I’m pretty proud of how it came out!

Now I have to jet off to Food 52 and see what new goodies are speaking to me!


It's all about the HAPPY

It’s the end of July, not even August yet. The autumnal equinox is almost two months away, but I am already starting to get panicky about the end of summer. Last week while I was riding my bike to work in the morning I noticed the sun was that much lower to the horizon each day. Soon enough it will be dark in the am and I won’t be able to ride my bike. Immediately, I started to feel that sinking feeling, similar to the panic one might feel as an insomniac, when you see the clock ticking by later and later and still haven’t slept.


I think this is more of an indication of just how horrible that last winter was. Normally I’m that girl that everyone groans at in the office because I can’t wait for Fall and I love the snow. I’m decidedly NOT a summer person. I hate looking glossy and sweating just sitting outside in the shade. Most summers I get cabin fever from being a shut in, avoiding the heat and oppressive sun. But, we’ve had another one of these MILD summers (enter all the hate from the summer/heat lovers here). It’s been the kind of summer where you can wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt equally comfortably. The best kind of summer.


I have so many things I still want to check off my summer list. Spend more time hanging out on the hammock, go to the Dunes, more little road trips, hiking, etc.

Inherited Gene for Little Book Love

In the days after my father passed my family poured over all of our family pictures looking for images of my dad to use in collages. One of the books I found was an album that was filled with cards for me when I was little, everything from baby gifts to letters from my first best friend that moved to Delaware in elementary school. Where are you Allison Trees?

Little books by my grandma, Sarah Catherine Wiseheart Wells

Inside I found these little books made by my Grandma (Sarah Catherine Wiseheart) Wells.

grandma collegegrandma four years old

She was born in 1910, was passionate about prairie conservation, loons, history and wrote poetry as well as special features in the newspaper. She was my dad’s mother. My sister and I took turns staying with her over spring break and summer vacation. She hugged HARD and would wave to us from the middle of the street as we drove away until we got so far away we couldn’t see her anymore.

Just a few short weeks ago I had shared another little book she made for me and speculated that was where I got the interest in making my own little books. Then I find these books. There’s no question now, it’s her coming out in me. These books are even the same size as the books I often make.

staple books

It got me thinking of an idea that I’ve had swirling in my head for quite some time.

An idea is brewing!

I’ve lost my dad

July 9th my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He just turned 72 in June and my parents would have had their 46th anniversary next week. We have received such a wonderful outpouring of love, prayers and support this week as we said goodbye to him with the visitation and funeral. I’ve been so numb and drained but the fact that my whole family lives here, we’ve been able to hold each other up and it has kept us all sane and functioning.

Posts from Instagram

A picture of my dad when he was a kid. I have just been through the worst 2 days of my life, starting yesterday with the type of phone call that I’d never wish upon anyone. My dad died unexpectedly. I’ve often worried about a phone call just like this, partially because my family has been too lucky, too charmed, too fortunate, no one hurt, no one sick, no one died, and that is unheard of. Who gets this far in life without something wrong happening? And here it is, and now life will never be the same.

The man and his hats, legendary. It’s been very therapeutic going through ages and ages of pictures. Here we are, my brother, dad and little me peeking from behind to get in the shot. He was a big guy and some people have been telling us about how he really scared or intimidated them until they got to know him and realized he was really just a gentle giant. A smart and sarcastic, but gentle giant.

Photo collages

My dad

My dad
This is one of the framed photo collages we put together for the visitation. It was so therapeutic going through all of our family pictures, searching for pictures of him and recalling all of our memories.

Some memories or thoughts on my dad

My dad loved everything surf culture, Endless Summer and Dick Dale, we bought him a surf calendar every single year.

He took me twice to see the Rolling Stones in concert.

I have a memory from when I was really little of him laying on the hammock in my parents’ back yard and me asking him in my kid voice if we could go to “the libary” and him giving me a hard time because he didn’t know what a libary was. I expounded, “where they have books with words and pitchers” and he explained “It’s libRARY, and pitchers are for pouring”

I definitely got my multi-tasking from him. He was known to daily watch tv, with the radio on and read a magazine all at the same time.

I remember missing being held by him after my brother was born (at 4 years old. I was and am very much a middle child), and pretending to fall asleep on the couch just so that he would pick me up and carry me to bed.

He was a collector and hobbyist. Coins, knives, radios, guitars, violins, treadle sewing machines, ham radio, taking pictures of dilapidated barns set against the midwest plains, and on and on and on.

He was the hardest person to buy presents for because whatever he wanted he just bought for himself.

He said the movie Animal House was pretty much his exact experience from college and his fraternity years.

I remember visiting my dad’s office one time and seeing that he had posted a picture of me that was printed in the newspaper (when I worked for the paper) and realizing that my dad was proud of me after all.

He was extremely intelligent. I remember him saying how much he enjoyed talking to Mr. Dicky (Dickey?) because he was the only person he knew that was smarter than he himself was. #canyousayhumble?

Despite that intellect, we all found it very humorous then when he would get obsessed with certain tv shows like Clarissa Explains it All or Two and Half Men.

He always carried a handkerchief with him.

He was named after my grandma’s oldest brother, who was a millionaire and owned his own horse ranch.

He went by Dick, so you knew when someone called pretending to be his buddy but called him Rich, chances were it was a telemarketer.

He was an only child and we all remember our mom saying how he couldn’t understand why we (my siblings and I) would always argue and fight. He always figured if you had a sibling it would have been a built in best friend. But my mom, a child with a brother and sister as well, had to explain that’s just how siblings are.

My dad loved hats. We used to go to the Chicago Air and Water show every year. One time we went into the city and he bought two hat at a hat shop. One a regular hat, and one indestructible hat, the salesman demonstrated that you can pull and tug and wring it and nothing would phase the hat. He wore the regular hat out the door and got a box for the indestructible one. We walked out onto the streets of the “windy city” and the hat blew off his head and promptly got run over by a taxi. It ended up being ok, but it was just so funny that of course the indestructible hat was safe in the hat box still.

How I want my summer to be

A month or so ago Instagram user kirstenzuiderbaanillustratie posted the above picture and it showed up in my feed. It made me swoon and I commented that I wanted to buy a print and that it looked exactly like how I wanted my summer to feel. Maybe I love it so much because of the flat plains in the background, or maybe because of the simple prairie type flowers, or maybe because there is pretty much a rainbow of colors present in the picture.

I couldn’t get the picture out of my head, and here we are in the thick of summer finally. Riding my bike to work I was starting to pass all these prairie flowers and I thought that I should re-create my own version of this picture.

7.6.14 flowers and paintbrushes stripes

So, here’s the thing, I thought about how I really want my summer to be and that would be filled with beautiful blue skies with just the right amount of white puffy clouds, lots and lots of green and prairie flowers, but we can’t miss creativity, so I had to add in some paint brushes into my bouquet. Then, if we are being truly robayre, we have to get some black and white stripes in there as well. In kirstenzuiderbaanillustratie‘s photo, one of the things that pops is her bright red nail polish, so I thought it would be appropriate to have black and white striped nails. Unfortunately, I never paint my nails anymore because it destroys them. So, I just quickly photoshopped that in for fun!

Chalkboard Calendars Winter and Spring

It’s exactly halfway through the year so no time like the present to post this.

7.2.14 Chalkboard winter 2014

Last summer I started using the chalkboard I made for our living room to keep track of all the memorable things that have happened. I’ve enjoyed it so much so I’ve kept it going for each season. I can’t be reliable to post regularly to my blog or scrapbook or journal or anything, but writing on a chalkboard is easy enough. I figure, I’ll try to write everything down on the board as it happens, take a picture each season and if I ever feel so inclined I can print those out and put them in scrapbooks. I think there are long slots on some project life pages.

I never got around to sharing Winter’s board when Spring rolled around, so this post is a two-fer.

The list says: Camelot Tree Farm, Cleaning, decorating and hosting Christmas, Fireplace & Fire Wood, Petit Fours and Mittens, Ice Globes, Bunny Sitting Rue, Tomato Sauce from the garden, No Work on Fridays, Too Cold days -17, Sledding, Confetti on New Years, Salon Haircut, Bomb Diggity mail, 36/36 Spoon Art, Gaelic Storm, Heater Broke, Wolves Game, Matt got an iphone, I got an ipad, Katie and Winter buttons, Ipod broke and replaced, Pie Boss

And just a quick commentary on a couple things: We hosted Christmas at our house. We used our fireplace for the first time since we moved in and let me tell ya, this winter called for it. When we were house hunting we weren’t looking for a fireplace but I am so glad to have it. I got my hair cut at a real salon for the first time in over a decade. I LOVED IT. I was SOOO Happy with my hair until I got the next cut. The next cut was meh. I just got it cut again with another kinda disheartening experience so now, even though I know that salon and stylist are capable of giving me an AMAZING hair cut, I’ve been getting schlock instead. And after literally a couple of years of Matt making due with this ancient, cracked screen, slider phone, he upgraded to an iphone. It pretty much updated our household into the current millennium. Now it feels like that was forever ago and that he’s had an iphone forever. Meanwhile, the home button on my ipod touch broke so I had to take it into the apple store. Fortunately I always get the apple care plan and they swapped it out with a new one. And then for Christmas I got an ipad which is great for using on the treadmill, which I still do regularly, getting in my 10,000 steps every day.

And now for more current happenings:

Monthly chalkboard spring 2014

The list: Maple Syrup collection and all day cook, Pie Boss, Walk to Oasis, Blumen Gardens, Animal Crossing, Walk to China House, Tchotchke Mantle, Steel Drum Band, Rex Manning Day, 2048, Iphone!!!, Easter breakfast/syrup waffles, Kane County Flea Market with Ann and Courtney, MS Walk in Chicago, geocaching, 5 weeks of Hell at work, Butterfly release, Bowling, Vino & Vangogh, Union, IL, Black 47, Deer on path, photobooth convention, Gorey Exhibit, Rockford City Market, Matt lost wallet for 2 months, 20,000 fitbit steps, treasure maps/hunt.

Quick commentary: wow! This spring, I tell ya! After the absolute coldest and dreariest and longest lasting winter, we were amped to get out, get some fresh air and be productive as soon as possible. Some pretty epic things happened this season. Attending the maple syrup fest and then making my very own maple syrup from sap collected in my own yard will be one of the most memorable things from the year, let alone that season. I attended the International Photobooth Convention, showed at the Rockford City Market, and FINALLY updated my phone to an iphone as well (only after talking about it for probably 2 years first). Most recently, my sister created a treasure map in my parents’ yard with a treasure at the end for my nephew to find. This is exactly my kind of project and I’m very excited about the possibilities. Overall this Spring I kept very busy and stayed happy and productive.

Chalkboard related – When I originally made this board I painted it with many layers (a whole can) of magnetic paint and then chalkboard paint. Because of all the layers it caused the top layer to be very rough and uneven. Before Spring I finally sanded the board down and gave it a fresh coat of chalkboard paint and now it writes so much smoother. Also, since I’ve been using the chalkboard strictly to keep track of events each season I was a bit sad that I lost drawing space for my niece and nephew, so I bought another board. We used it for the Rockford City Market, pictured here on A Beautiful Party’s post.

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

edit to share this post I just read:

I love this! Natalie and her husband create a list on a chalkboard each season as well, only they are making a checklist of things they need to do! What a great idea. Read this post to see some of the items on their list for this summer.


Little Books

Earlier this year my friend Joon (instagram and etsy) sent me this little book that she made for me, and I treasure it so much.

Book by Joon Wilkinson, music by Grandaddy – Am180

I finally got around to making the above video to share with you. I don’t know if Joon really knows how much she was speaking my language. We both really love making treasures from what might otherwise be scrap papers.

I immediately had to make another little video of a book that was given to me as a child.

Book made by my grandma, music Detektivbyran – Rymden i en lada

They’re almost the exact same size! The pages move quickly so you may not have been able to read, but it was made by my grandma for me in the spring of 1980. I would have been 2 years old at the time.

It’s just one of the many things that probably helped form my aesthetics and I’m sure contributed to my love of little stapled books.

I remember when I first realized how much I loved making little stapled books. I was working at the local weekly newspaper and as offices often do, we used old scrap paper, quartered up, as note paper. I started stapling the edges like a binding and doodling on the pages, writing notes to coworkers and making lists, etc. on pages.


They kind of resembled this. I actually made an animated gif of this complete book which can be seen here.

staple books

Or this. Over the years I’ve made plenty of staple books and variations on them. Here are some more books I’ve made below.

4.30.11 Mailart little books


Day Two- mini books

Robayre Patterned Books

scratchpad unfinished thing-a-day, day 2 scratchpad

Moleskin fun

5.20 Mailart books backs

Day Two- mini books

And then of course I often have little books in my etsy shop, but eeep, when I just went to go get the link I saw a frightening low quantity of little books. I have plenty made, so perhaps that should be a project for Friday, photograph and list little books to my shop.

Project Life

Let me just preface this by saying I am not, nor am I bound to become a Project Lifer anytime soon. This is just the story of my one and only (so far) Project Life page.

When I first heard about and started seeing Project Life examples online I got REALLY EXCITED. I saw people using it in more of a creative art sense, rather than just regular photo album/scrapbooking style. I saw the divided panes as a opportunity to create quick and small individual compositions, and that it would make the act of filling pages much more loose and whimsical. I went crazy and bought all sorts of PL stuff and just as quickly realized it wasn’t at all like I had imagined. The small panes require pre thought out plans and ideas, printed photos have to be sized and printed ahead of time. I pretty much froze. I created two frames on the first 11 frame page. The end… for a while at least.

Fast forward to earlier this year. Kristi Prokopiak created a PDF “course” to raise funds for her dog Chloe’s surgery. The course is not for project life, but rather her own take on scrapbooking that she refers to as scrapling. Kristi has skillz and I could use some inspiration and instruction, plus I love animals and have enjoyed watching Chloe over the years, so I supported the cause.

It helped because I finally finished a whole page. I’m kind of embarrassed of it, but I have to remember it’s only my first page ever. It’s also kind of embarrassing because it is about our cat that we got last year. Yeah, I don’t want to be one of those types of people, but I do love cats and want to hug them all, soooooo….

Project Life Fionna

This picture is the better result after taking other pictures, and then deciding maybe I should google to see how other people do it properly. I still got reflective areas from the page divider, but this is still world’s better than my first pictures.

So, a breakdown of the page. I tried to be cohesive with colors and themes (stripes, chevron, sticks, washi tape, and my handlettering and colors black, gold and gray).

The top row: the first two boxes were what I started when I first attempted Project Life in 2013. I just added the washi tape element and the photograph of a stick across the top of the first box. The second box is the account of how we adopted her. The third picture is of her in the carrier when we were bringing her home.

The middle row: I cut out the letters of her name from gold paper in the final box (3rd row) and liked the discard paper from which I cut it enough to also incorporate it. It says “we thought Bishop had a tiny meow” because people would always comment on how his meow is so cute and tiny but Fionna’s is even smaller and higher pitched, it’s almost inaudible. In the center I used a gold gel pen to share some of her unique characteristics, or at least unique compared to Bishop.

The bottom row: When we first brought her home our biggest concern was how Bishop can be such a jerk. We kept them separate for a few days, only feeding them on opposite sides of the door. This way they had to be right next to each other while they ate. It worked perfectly. And then the final pictures and frames, by accident we discovered that she loves sticks, she plays fetch with them and runs around the house with them in her mouth. The stick theme is shown in 3 places.

Some of the pictures were printed on my desktop printer (HP Photosmart 8150 that I bought like 6 or more years ago) and others were printed from my Polaroid Pogo.  I thought the pogo would be a great option for printing pictures for Project Life, but as it turns out the Pogo does not connect to the iphone, which is what I take most of my pictures on nowadays. Plus, my pogo is funky now and printing with stripes, so annoying.

Canon Selphy

Through the facebook group for Kristi’s PDF course I found someone that wanted to sell their Canon Selphy. A compact printer that allows you to print from the iphone! Imagine that! And using an app, I can print multiple pictures on one 4×6, perfect for printing pictures for Project Life. Granted, I got this after I created this page and then I haven’t really done any more PL since, but I think it will help with being able to print quicker in the future.

In the future I’d really would like to play around more with just doing art type stuff, collage, patterns and colors, sketchbook and art journaling in the project life pages. But for now I have one page under my belt. I think I might be putting too much pressure on myself with Project Life whole page layouts and maybe what I need to do is actually experiment more with just focusing here and there on single panels  and not worrying about the whole. A whole page would become cohesive naturally because each panel would be done by me.