Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Store-fave Marian Ballog's new book, Mini-Boxes: Make it in Minutes, is up on for pre-ordering. Marian is so very talented (you may have seen her participating in all three of Teresa McFayden's workshops this past weekend) that it's fated for us to book her on the teaching schedule at the shop this spring. I had the pleasure of sitting across from her at the "Kindred Spirits" dinner party last Sunday night; she is so warm and delightful that I can't say enough good things about her. Just lovely.

As soon as we get a firm date set, I'll be posting on the Sweetpeas and Snapshots blog (and most likely here too!) so keep your eyes open!

Grandma Glo turns 80!

Harm's grandma Glo Walton is turning 80 tomorrow, so daddy Bruce asked me to make her into a pin-up girl.

Here's the result...

The quality of the image sent to me was not the best; I am a big photoshop enthusiast, and can turn any image into whatever one has in mind.
Want something done up for yourself? Give me a call at the shop:

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Teresa in Action
So I was having so much fun during the Monday night Teresa Collins event, that I was a little lax in the photography department (having gone straight to the shop for the night-time event from a full CHA day...) I did, however, get a shot or two of the girls in action. Teresa, Stacey, Sue and Kelly, were so real and refreshing. No pretenses there! You know we totally ordered up the new stuff last night, and Teresa'll be back in the store on May 18th and 19th for some major projects just for you.

Helle, Michelle, Holly, Oh Welle,
I love these girls (and Norman!) What a treat I had to find Helle Greer and Michelle M. White at the Creative Imaginations booth. Tah-reeet!
Helle made me a darling book using Teresa McFayden's papers; you know photos will be taken asap. You can also be sure that I will be booking these ladies to teach very soon!
By the way, Holly Dye (next to Normie)will be presenting a Chinese New Year Book ($10. including everything) on Friday evening, February 9th (7pm) me at the shop for details!

Fun find
Found Vanna White (was this out of her element?) at a knitting booth showing off her fashions. I once had lunch with her (back in 1985) when I was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune (yes, I was the winner!) She is as lovely now as she was back then!

How close?

So close that I can personally tell you that her breath was fresh and clean. Can you see her smiling at me? Martha gave an amusing-at-times speech that had us all smiling from ear-to-ear.

While at the dinner party, we got a little preview of some of the actual crowns from Kerri Judd's upcoming book, "Crowns & Tiaras". The intricate detail put into each crown is just amazing; I can't wait to get this book!

Kerri has done some fantastic designs for FG & Co, and manages Paris to the Moon in Costa Mesa. Check her out!

Dinner extraordinaire:
Sunday night we were invited to a very special dinner party at Eileen Paulin's home. This was not a CHA schmaltz-fest for "elite" customers (elite=money spent) but a money-can't-buy-this-invitation gathering of artists and respected industry insiders. Eileen set a single long, magnificent table in tones of rich brown's and gold.
Each place setting had a lovely scalloped place card bearing
the guest's name, with a small, hand decorated notepad set above
the forks so the guests could exchange contact information. Brilliant!
Invited Guest list:
Anna Ball
Anna is an angel of the arts and collector extraordinaire.
Anna Lee

Really sweet; had fun meeting her!
Anwesha Basu
Anwesha is a marketing manager for Sterling Publishing.

Ele Sampson
Ele was a producer for The Christopher Lowell Show on the Discovery Channel.
Jo Packham
Jo is one of the most creative and prolific visionaries of our time.
Joan Bunte
Joan owns Stamp Your Heart Out in Claremont, California.
Jocelyn Foye
Jocelyn is a designer extraordinaire.

Judy Watkins
Judy is in the middle of shifting gears to concentrate on interior decorating for her private clients and forming a fabulous traveling salon for the many gifted Kindred Spirits she knows.
Kate Rados
Kate is publicity and online marketing manager for Sterling Publishing.
Kerri Judd
Kerri is a talented ephemera artist, designer and merchandiser.

Lauren Powell
Lauren is the Director of Public Relations for Plaid Enterprises.
Leigh Ann Ambrosi
Leigh Ann is director of marketing and publicity for Sterling Publishing.
Linda Messner
Linda makes sure she sets aside time to craft, create and enrich her life with the friendship of others.
Marian Ballog
Marian is a totally gifted designer. She is the creative spirit of Vintage Pop-up cards and Make it in Minutes: Mini-Boxes both forthcoming from Lark Books.
Mary Smilove
Meghan Farrington
Meghan has been a designer for Red Hat Society during its rapid ascent into the public eye.
Nicole Steiman
Nicole is the author of Make it in Minutes: Quick & Clever Gift Wraps.
Paige Gilchrist
Paige is the Empress of Editorial for Lark Books.

Rebecca Ittner
Rebecca ventured out recently to oversee the launch of Somerset Life and to edit Legacy for Stampington.
Sandi Genovese
Sandi DIY Scrapbooking host Sandi Genovese is a multitalented author, artist and educator who travels around the country demonstrating the latest in scrapbooking and paper crafting.
Sandra Evertson
Sandra is a designer and artist who translates her love of antiques in a unique line of "Posh Little Follies".

Sunday Hendrickson
Sunday’s business card says Art Director Extraordinaire and that is an understatement.
Susan Branch
Susan’s collection of handwritten, water colored Heart of the Home books have sold more than one million copies.
Susan Rios
Susan is a nationally renowned artist.
Kaari Meng
Kaari is the creator and amazing talent behind French General. Based in Hollywood.

Tanja Maduzia
Tanja is a talented young artist on staff at our shop.

The desserts were plentiful and delicious; it was hard to cut into them (they were each a work of art!) Many thanks to Eileen for a delightful evening!

Monday, January 29, 2007

What happens when Mommy goes away for the night?
I just got home from CHA, and found this "chair" in my son's room.
I'm too tired to say anything else right now. More tomorrow.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The whirlwind begins.

Mary totally did up the store for the T.McF. classes/holiday.
The nostalgic Valentine's juxtaposed with the Chinese New Year decorations really whimsify the whole place. The L*O*V*E banner at left is the last one left in stock; they proved to be very popular this year.

Teresa was really surprised with the new Cadillac that Mary borrowed for her for the weekend. Her daughter Allie (not to be confused with my daughter, Allie) is as sweet as can be. I would totally trust her to babysit, and hope she gets her wish to attend college here in Los Angeles.
I Missed Helle Greer & Michelle! I'll see them at CHA!
Although Mary and I were not in the shop during the workshops, the official report from the girls: A Success for all Involved!

We were at CHA Anaheim, where the seminar,
Five Keys to Successful Scrapbook Retailing
was in full swing. My slot to speak came up around 4:00, and I feel very good about my performance. I did my best to make eye-contact, to speak naturally and honestly, and shared my trade "secrets" (like I keep anything inside...) with the audience. The crowds warm response made me feel like a superstar. I think I came away from there with more than a few new friends!
I know I have a true friend in Teresa McFayden, who I feel like I've known for, like, five years. Oh yeah, I have (just not in person!) You can see my over sized noggin' (Teresa says that all Movie Stars have big heads!) I'm just glad that I get to see her again tomorrow, as she teaches her "Very Fine House" workshop while the Mary Engelbriet's Home Companion people check out the shop.
Mary, Tanja and I will be back at CHA in time for Martha's talk, then we're off to the special Kindred Spirits dinner party.
Note to my publisher: Got the contract signed; it's in the mail!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's Official.

My book proposal has "gotten the big green light", and will be published in Fall, 2008.



Tomorrow is a dedicated primping day. Getting ready for my upcoming whirlwind of a weekend:

Saturday, January 27th: Greet fave inspirator Teresa McFayden at Sweetpeas and Snapshots in the morning. Leave the store by 10:29am in order to get to the Anaheim Convention Center to speak at the Scrapbook Retailer Seminar at noon. Leave Anaheim at 5pm, heading back to the shop to wind up the Vintage Almanac workshop.

Sunday, January 28th: Meet up at Sweetpeas and Snapshots for Teresa McFayden's A Very Fine House workshop. Smile pretty for the major home/lifestyle magazine people who just love Mary Smilove, the queen of all paper, as they shoot and interview. Leave for Anaheim to attend the Martha Stewart seminar. Party the night away at Mary's publisher's place.

Monday, January 29th: Do CHA. Get back to the store in time for the Teresa Collins/Stacy Pandissi event at Sweetpeas.

Whew! I'm not even tired yet. Good thing that I thrive on shows. I can't wait to see all my friends again!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm a proud mama!

My 14 year old son Ben went on his first real audition a couple of weeks ago for the upcoming MTG production of Kurt Weill's musical: Street Scene. Last night he was cast as the understudy for the boys roles.

"The Musical Theatre Guild, a non profit membership company of theatrical professionals, produces and performs a variety of new and rediscovered musical theatre works for the entertainment, education and enrichment of the community."

ALEX THEATRE: Monday, February 12 at 7:30 PM

SCHERR FORUM: Sunday, February 18 at 3:00 PM

I am so impressed with my boy's natural gift...that he was selected to begin his Broadway journey with this prestigious group is such an honor.

Tomorrow night: The Beverly Vista School Talent Show at Beverly Hills High School, featuring "A Couple of Swells" with Ben & Allie Finer!

Really nice...
That's Heidi Androl. She's on the Los Angeles version of The Apprentice, and is an avid scrapbooker (since grade-school!) She is going to make an album of her experiences on the show when it's all over (no details) and could not have been more open and friendly. To top it off, she is supermodel stunning! She was able to take advantage of the My Mind's Eye Wild Asparagus & Bohemia collection clearance (making room for the CHA purchases.) There's just a smattering of it remaining. I hope Heidi wins The Apprentice competition and rubs some of her kindness off on Mr. Trump!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I was playing with some of the gizmos on my new camera, and made Ben into a cartoon with just the press of a button. I'm having a lot of fun with this puppy!

Not Mad Cow

Thank goodness! One of the worst suspected viral possibilities from Rand's brain biopsy has been ruled out. The process of elimination is quite maddening. We'll know more when Donna takes him to the neurologist this Thursday (it's hard to be patient.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

(Harmony is on the left)

Tonight was a comedy of errors.
I had arranged for Hollywood Mike (my handyman) to pass on the old furniture to those that needed it, and to assemble and move the new stuff around here. Getting the stuff out was easy, putting the new bed together, also easy. Bringing in the very tall armoire; difficult to the max (but he did it.) Then, when he put on the new mattress, it was too small. I was told it was a double, but it is a queen! Fortunately, I know the mattress store owner (like a neighbor!) and she's going to switch it out for me tomorrow.
During all this rigmarole, Harm was waiting patiently to join me and Ben in a Target run to get his new bedding. Going? Not going? Yes? No? No. Too late. Sorry. (She was very understanding.)
The men left on their deliveries, and Harm called me back. She was going to the market (my Pavilion.) I had to ask her, "could you pick up something for me?"
"What...geez, you cancelled three times on me and now you want something?"
"Yes, could you get me some toilet bowel cleaner; Lysol?" (Maria is coming back from vacation tomorrow and we are out.)
"Yeah, right, do you want some Tampons and Midol too?" (she was annoyed.)
"I'd do it for you, I'd even buy you condoms!" (and I would too...not that there's anything wrong with that.)
"Yeah, I think you would, okay, whatever you want."
So Harm dutifully dropped off the Lysol (and my kids watched in awe as their mother actually cleaned the toilet bowls.) Everyone got their furniture delivered, and tomorrow night, Ben can sleep in his new bed!

This is the prize!
I have to wait until the morning to get this pic up on the store blog, but I couldn't resist putting it up here first.
One of the lucky students attending one of Teresa McFayden's Sweetpeas and Snapshots workshops is going to win this special "Studio Pink" Crop in Style tote filled with all of these Autumn Leaves/Westrim products in a very special raffle!!! There is so much stuff crammed (but not damaged at all) in this beauty that it will make your head spin! Papers, rub-ons, acrylic stamps & block, stickers, rhinestone brads, albums, buttons, etc...unbelievable! There are still a few seats left in each session, so call if you'd like to save one of the few spots for yourself: 310-479-2444

Following Teresa's Lead...
After hearing from my friend Teresa about her menu-tweaking success, I'm going to give this reverse idea a try. Breakfast for dinner, dinner for breakfast. Lunch for lunch. This will be the first day of my experiment. Jenny Craig Macaroni & Cheese with green beans & carrots was just my first foray into this twisted world. Goal: 4lbs before Saturday.
I think I'm going to like this new world!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


This huge papaya that I bought at the Liborio Market yesterday was so delicious. Allie and I ate half of it (doused in lime juice) saving the rest for tomorrow. The fruit colors juxtaposed with the blue of our juicer totally reminded me of the colors Teresa McFayden used in her samples for the upcoming workshops this weekend!

Helpful Tip:

I was reading the Real Estate section of the Los Angeles Times this evening and came upon this highly useful tip:

All Los Angeles residential construction work cannot begin before 7am on weekdays, and before 8am on Saturdays. If you hear offending construction noise before these legal hours, you can dial 311 on your telephone, and the city will pinpoint who the offenders are and make sure they are taken care of!

The air here has been so dry that my scalp has become the epicenter of sere. Besides the annoyance of static electricity, I can feel the dryness of my skin to a point of alarm. I asked my doctor (Dr. Alejandro Gil) if he knew of a solution. He suggested the oil of the Zapote fruit; Zapotol shampoo, conditioner and oil treatment. I was able to find it at the Liborio Market; the shampoo came with a free bottle of the oil, which should be applied to the scalp, left on for 30 minutes, then massaged in before shampooing out. It smells like marzipan (a personal favorite.) I used it tonight for the first time, and my scalp feels more hydrated already. Allie highly approves of the product as well.


Besides hitting the Gift Show today, Donna went with me to Target (again.) This time around, I found a dozen acrylic drinking glasses to replace the ones we've been using for (gulp!) fourteen years. I am amazed that I haven't replaced them sooner...after all this time the acrylic has become crackled and ugly as sin. I love these; this particular green is my signature color.

Another fabulous find...

I fell in love with this wheeled bag. It is waterproof black with a pink strap and large white crystal accents, complete with a matching smaller bag and iPod case. The smaller bag makes for a great lunch box or accessory case, and the lined larger bag holds 12x12's, or even a lap-top computer! They'll be available in other patterns as well...if you'd like more information, email me, or call Sweetpeas and Snapshots at 310.479.2444
I'll have mine with me at CHA...believe me, there won't be any other totes nearly as special as these (very high end.) They are not made by a craft company, and though the owner of the company is an avid scrapbook enthusiast, she hasn't ever marketed to the craft industry. We will be the first industry purveyors to have this fab line!


I thought Halloween was behind us, then we found this horror-ible booth. If you look closely, you'll see little Donna among the monsters.

I've been a busy girl.
Just how much can a girl do in a day? More than I ever imagined. I did not think that I would be able to get over to the California Gift Show this time around. I had tried to get into the Mart on Friday morning, but the lots were all full and we weren't in the mood to shuttle. I couldn't get it out of my head, however, and convinced Donna and Harmony to go to the Convention Center today (like I really had to twist their arms!)
I have to say, the offerings were pretty bleak; it took a lot of ferreting to find these few exceptional items.
First, there were these shadow boxes made from weathered windows, backed in a gloriously textured
fabric. The very best thing about these babies are that the included pins are not the usual pearl-tippers, rather they are pins that LOOK LIKE TINY BIRD EGGS!!! I didn't have a tape measure with me, but each pane is pretty darn close to a 12x12 space. The piece will hang from a regular hook or nail by way of a chain at the top. I can't wait for them to get in; knowing this company, it will probably be 4-6 weeks (you know I'll post when they arrive at the shop!)

The same booth provided more of the shadow box frames that we had received last fall. We had wanted to get more in for the holidays, but the distressed white ones were all gone. Thank goodness they will be getting another boatload full in again. The last time I went to Anthropologie, I saw the exact same shadow box frames on twice what we were selling them for!

Next up, altered-style mannequins with birds (such a dominant theme everywhere it seems...) and delightful glass bell-topped display pieces.

I hope all of these items make it through the booth's ordering system. Sometimes they don't get large enough orders on some selections for them to justify production. I am pretty confident that these stand-outs should make the cut!


My friend Tiffany (the one who had fallen down the elevator shaft in 2005 and miraculously survived) is getting remarried to her ex-husband. I'm so happy for this girl, who spent five months in a coma, had 1/2 of one lung and 3/4 of the other removed, had to change her lifetime career dreams (she was the Executive Director at Sunrise Assisted Living) and has had her brilliant lifestyle drastically shattered by this horrible experience. She remains a steadfast friend and is filled with the love of god and life, now spending her days spreading her affirmation: "I Love Life!"
She just purchased a 4,000 square foot home on the golf course in Lake Havasu and is moving there this week (and planning her wedding!)
Tiffany called me last week, offering to give Ben her bedroom suite of furniture; she was only taking her Tempur-Pedic mattress with her for her new guest room (wanting to decorate it in a different style.) He is so excited to get a bigger bed (at 14, a twin gets a

tad tiny,) and a new look. I've arranged to give my friend Alisa all of the white furniture that is currently in there for her girl's room.
I also picked up from Tiffany her lifetime's worth of photographs, which I'll put together in most of the 12 empty albums she handed me. One of the things she lost in her fall was her enthusiasm for scrapbooking. She loves to look through them, but can't bear to work on them. I'll make sure they get done for her (g_d knows I have enough materials for this!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Shout out to Minnie Helvey:
You've played one of the instrumental parts in making this January, 2007, the best month of my life. Check out daughter Ashley Rose Helvey's blog for some more uplifting art ideas; this family is always opening new idea-windows for this here Suzi Finer. Minnie told me all about "Moo" will change all of our lives.(Did I tell you that Minnie drives a Mini!?!)

I'm breathing better today.
My facial was fabulous (love the little massage whilst the masks were setting) my lashes are blackened, and the wax pretty painless. My head is clearer, and the kids are rehearsing at Yada.

I've referred a couple of bride friends to The Bridal Bar for their Los Angeles weddings, and they both selected some vendors from Harm's special stable of artisans. I'm having dinner at uncle Leon's tonight (Lucy is making chicken) and tomorrow evening he's taking us to the Beverly Hills Tennis Club for Lobster Night.
Happiness and joy to you's a great day!

I'm getting all Foofed up.
I've been a big fan of Foofala ever since they started. Jeannine Stein had given me the head's-up on Foof back in the day; I think I ordered just about everything they had back then. I was so happy to reconnect with Teresa McFayden now that I'm at Sweetpeas; this will be her first, second and third workshops for the shop (1/27 & 1/28.)
We had received a substantial shipment of the red, black & cream line in time for her visit; it sold so quickly that I'm going to pop over to Westrim on Monday morning to refresh our inventory. Good thing they're only 20 minutes away. My old friend there (Ileanna) was kind enough to add to our raffle booty for Monday's drawing, gifting us a deluxe travel piece that will blow everybody away. I want it for myself, but that'll never happen, as I can't help not keeping anything. I accumulate, then give, accumulate, then give. It's a vicious cycle.

Here, Mary did up the antique green stove with Teresa's class samples and other goodies. I did the Teresa banner and threw together the 12x12 page for good measure. You can see where I added some vintage Foofala Attic Pixies, courtesy of a 2004 venture. We have a number of these impossible-to-find collage babies in the store. There are four different sheets (I think we have them all...) and are totally rare.

We still have room in her classes...check out the sweetpeas and snapshots blog for all the details.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Today is a big pill day.

Not in an addictive, needy-jones kind of way, but in a stuffy nose post-nasal drip kind of way. I'm none too happy about that either. I've done the Dayquil, but it's worn off now (I'm still at the shop for a big crop night, and have no medication here...) and I have a facial scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Lucky for me, it feels like only a couple-day kind of cold; I don't think I'm going to need to crack open that Z-Pack that I have stashed for an emergency. I'm also happy that I have this thing far enough in advance of the CHA show that it'll be gone by then. The last thing I'd need while speaking in front of all those people on Saturday is a runny nose and a wadded up Kleenex!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Allie got in on the act tonight as well, as a member of the All-District Honor Choir. There was a big audition weeks ago and she was one of the children who got in. I can't say that I was surprised (I call her "little Ben".) She is the shortest one in the entire group (but not the youngest,) and like Ben, you could totally hear her (in a good way.) I'm so proud!

Mr. Soloist
I am full of nachas. No, I didn't go out to a big Mexican dinner, I said nachas (not nachos.) Tonight was the All-District Choir Festival at Beverly Hills High School, where Ben was the featured soloist. His perfect tenor rang out loud and clear (and the applause was thunderous!) Harmony said he looked "Rico Suave"...I think so too!

Alright, so I know we have it good over here, but man, is it cold! It actually snowed in Westwood (the picture here is from around the Federal Building) and in Malibu (this photo is from the tunnels in Malibu Canyon.) Enough for people to play in it! We're just not equipped for this!
I went to four stores yesterday to get a couple of extra heaters for the shop (Office Depot, Smart & Final, Best Buy and Osh)...all were sold out! Osh actually had one model in stock, but it was the scary-big-radiator-looking heater and I just couldn't go there.

The news said it had snowed here seventeen years ago, but I really can't ever remember ever having snow here in my lifetime. The shop was so cold that we all had to bundle up (but it does validate my theory that people shop when it is cold...that's why I always pumped up the the a/c at every opportunity.) Fortunately, the Wednesday croppers (a great group who book the back house every Wednesday to work on their pages) had it pretty cozy; our existing space heaters really did the trick! I went back there a few times to warm up (and yip yap, of course!)'s cold in here! (that's for you, Beau Peep!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This is the crew from my Subway restaurant. I just wanted to take a moment to thank then for always saying hello in such a warm manner, for always getting my order right (and that is a feat in itself!) and for just being a great crew. It's a special thing to know that an avocado has been put aside just for you!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sunday Night
We're all hoping Rand is mobile for this Sunday night; it is Lobster Night at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, and uncle Leon has invited Donna, Rand, Gary and me to join him in honor of Rand's grueling operation. Rand is optimistically insisting that there is no way that he would ever miss this special night (he just loves Lobster!) It will be so sweet to be able to all sit together so soon after such a traumatic week. I have faith that everything will be just "finer."