Thursday, December 15, 2011

Visiting Los Angeles This Weekend?

Just in case you happen to find yourself in Los Angeles this weekend and are looking for a bit of crafty holiday inspiration - why not join us for our Gilded French Holiday Workshop on Saturday, December 17th from 4-9! Join Shea Fragoso, Debbie Murray and myself as we each teach three festive workshops - an ornament, a tree and a bracelet! We'll have plenty of holiday cheer, as well as some of our favorite students in the house, for an evening of fun! Sign up at or give us a call at (323)668-0488.

Shea Fragoso's Sparkle Ornament

Debbie Murray's Lace Tree

Kaari Meng's Ruby Bracelet

Monday, December 12, 2011

Paper Arts and Crafts

After years of thinking about it, mapping it out in our heads and dreaming up all sorts of creative inspiration...we have finally designed our first paper arts line!

Filled with all of the old bits and pieces from another time, our first collection, with EK Success for Jolee's Boutique, will be available in all the best craft stores, including Michael's, in the Spring of 2012.

Although this line is perfect for people who love to scrapbook, I hope that it translates to all other sorts of paper crafts - packaging, collaging and decorating your favorite inspiration boards.

All of our favorite old textiles and patterns have been reproduced onto beautiful card stock as well as textured adhesive backed paper.

And of course there are lots of tags, notions and old French paper bits - with twine, ribbon and lace included to make sure everything feels authentic and very French General.

We've worked hard on this collection to make sure everything layers and mixes well - and hopefully you will enjoy crafting with it, as much as we enjoyed designing it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Bundle of Winners

As always, I am amazed at all the wonderful comments and inspired by everyone's holiday inspiration - thank you for playing along in the Moda Blog Hop! To make it easy on myself I randomly picked four names to receive a bundle of our red, green and winter white fabric - hopefully to be used for your holiday sewing! Michelle Olsen in Washington, Rachel in Canada, Jenny in Indiana and Judy in North Carolina are the four lucky winners chosen - please write me at and send me your mailing address and we will send out a bundle of colorful fabric to you.
Warm holiday wishes to all!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Moda Holiday Blog Hop

It's that time of the year - lot's of red (my favorite!), holiday cheer and some fun from Moda! Today is the third day of the Moda Holiday Blog Hop and it's our day - as well as a few other friends! We've got one of our favorite holiday recipes, a block pattern and a wonderful holiday give-away on this exciting day!
I usually get all uncreative at this time of the year. I think I've worked with so many beads, buttons, fabric swatches and paper embellishments...that I burn out. I used to really dread it - but now I kinda like it - it feels like my August. Everyone has an August - that time of the year when you get to relax before it all starts up again. But the funny, is that it's the busiest time of the year - so I am trying to relax while all this energy in me knows there is so much to much to get done...the holidays are here!

Some of my favorite holiday inspirations....

Fresh Herbs Tied up with Ribbon
(photo from Homestead Gardens)

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
(photo from Erza Pound Cake)

Creatively Wrapped Packages
(photo from Style Me Pretty)

Homemade Anything
(photo from Food Network)

Speaking about food...cause really...isn't that what we all love about the holidays?! Here is one of my favorite holiday recipes - the classic French Crepe! Crepes can be filled with anything from fruit or simple powdered sugar and lemon - and served for breakfast or dessert.
Inspired by the crepes, Moda has helped us design a block to go along with our recipe:

French General Crepes

How about a holiday giveaway - just to keep things fun! Leave us a message about your favorite holiday inspiration....and we'll choose a couple of lucky winners to receive a box of holiday fabric from French General and Moda - a bundle of our classic reds, a bundle of old greens and a bundle of winter whites - just in time to start another holiday quilt or a stocking or two!

And be sure to follow the Moda Holiday Blog Hop the rest of the week:

Bonnie Olvason of Cotton Way
Liesl Gibson of Oliver+S
Karla Eisenach of Sweetwater
Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread

Camille Roskelley of Thimbleblossoms
Kathy Schmitz' of Kathy Scghmitz Studios
Edtya Sitar of Laundry Baskets Quilts
Kate Spain
Lisa Bonegan of Primitive Gatherings

Jen Williamson of Basic Grey
Jan Patek of Brannock & Patek
Sandy Klop of American Jane
Sandy Gervais of Pieces From My heart

Monday, November 28, 2011

Art of Craft Workshop 2012

Our third annual Art of Craft Workshop has been planned for January 27th-29th, 2012. Coinciding with the CHA show in Anaheim, we will also be hosting out Sunday Soiree with Jo Packham on Sunday, January 29th from 6-9. This year we have some fabulous new teachers coming into town, as well as a couple of our old favorites returning - Molly Meng, Anna Corba, Michelle Jorgensen, Charlotte Lyons and Pam Garrison are all coming to teach their craft and share a few hours inspiring us all.

Sailor's Valentine
Pam Garrison and Charlotte Lyons

12 Month Pocket Memory Book
Molly Meng

Valentine Chocolate Truffle Box
Michelle Jorgensen

Beeswax Journal
Anna Corba

Old Button Bracelets
Kaari Meng

Sign-ups begin today and seating is limited to 30 students per class.
Come for the craft - stay for the day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Creative Work and a Video Workshop

I have been asked to join in on Christy Tomilson's new holiday video workshop, The 12 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas. I don't know if Christy realized this before asking me, but I have never done a video workshop - and wasn't even really sure what one was. After much digging around on the internet, and asking a couple of friends, I learned that a video workshop is a short demonstration of a technique or craft. Easy - I can do that!
Not so easy - a week later and I was still figuring out a holiday ornament - let alone understanding how to film and edit a short video! The project was the first obstacle - the ornament had to be pretty, and have some new technique, not too religious, but universal, and are red and green too predictable?? I wasn't even sure if I had ever made a holiday ornament before!
Then, just when I needed it, I read this quote, from American Life host, Ira Glass:

Click on image to read the small print - it's important!

And I realized, I couldn't quit - I had to push through the uncomfortable phase, the worrying about the technique - was it too simple? Was it too complicated? And the part where everything was falling apart in front of the camera and JZ and I were arguing about why I couldn't act more serious and just say the opening line without a smirk on my face.
I pushed through - thanks Ira. So it's finished, done, we did it - our first ever on-line video's a whole new world! I guess we all need to be reminded: DO NOT QUIT!

The 12 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas
A Five Day Mini Workshop

You will receive your welcome email withing 2-3 business days. The class will officially start on December 5th and you will receive your log-in and official welcome email with class info on the morning of December 5th. You will receive your supply lists in the classroom.

More details:

Each Artist/Teacher will show you how to make a creative handmade ornament or holiday decor using fabric, metal, paint, glass and more - all in fully detailed we will have a some suprise bonus projects as well!
It's a 5 day workshop starting December 5th! Each day for 4 days, 3 new ornaments will be posted by 3 new teachers.. and on day 5...we will feature some bonus projects and downloads, exclusive to the workshop from the different teachers. This workshop will actually be availble for 6 you will have plenty of time to go back and watch videos.
Artists included in the workshop: Donna Downey, Margie Romney Aslette, Jeanne Oliver, Chrissy Gardner, Shea Fragoso & Debbie Murray From the Gilded LIfe, Kaari Meng, Junelle Jacabson, Alisa Burke, Danielle Donaldson and Kelly Barton.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Unexpected Treasure and an Estate Sale

I am at heart, a digger.  I get my biggest thrill when I am out digging through the past and uncovering some hidden gem, secret or inspiration.  Estate sale signs send me into a tail spin and when I can afford to stop and do a deep dig, I am satisfied for months - maybe even years.  And although I have been to many sales over the years, I have never actually gone through a home of someone I knew well.  Needless to say, it is a very different experience and everything is looked at through different lenses.
A year ago a friend of mine, who was an artist, collector,  and mentor to many, passed away - leaving a house stuffed full of collected art, craft supplies and history.  This past summer, her daughters asked if I would be interested in coming over and taking a look at the collection as well as packing up anything that I might find useful and or inspirational - in lieu of a trade.  I knew it was going to be a deep dig, going through years of collecting and dare I even say hoarding - but I had no idea what I was in for - and how layered and deep one woman's collection could be.  I spent a couple of days going through room after room - the bedroom alone took me five hours.  I made piles of anything and everything that I might find useful or inspirational and then I waited.  I waited for the daughters to look through it and decide if they were also ready to let go of the history.  Weeks later, I received the call.  They had gone through the boxes and were ready for me to pick up what I wanted.   I went over and filled up the truck - packed up old photograph books, spools of ribbon, boxes of hand written letters, and an endless amount of craft supplies.
I walked through the whole house and snapped pictures of all of the art that hung on the wall - many pieces that had been given to my friend from various artists as a thank you over the years.  I wanted to pack up each and every piece and hold on to it - keep it safe from falling into oblivion.  The reality is the girls need to let go of the collection and have decided to have an estate sale.  They have hired a company to come in and price everything in the house that is worth more than $5.  

If you live in the Los Angeles area, and want to peek into this house of treasures, the sale continues tomorrow, Sunday, November 13th from 9-3 at 5029 Westpark Drive, North Hollywood, 91601. See you there!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Holiday Crafting at French General

Our first ever Gilded French Holiday Workshop is shaping up quite nicely! Join French General and Debbie and Shea of A Gilded Life as we celebrate all things festive! We've got three fun projects that will be taught over a period of five hours on Saturday, December 17th from 4-9. We'll have plenty of holiday cheer and bubbly for an evening of creative inspiration! To grab a seat for this workshop, sign up at French General.

A Gilded Life

French General

A Gilded Life

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

First Dance

There's not much I can say about this picture - except, I think Sofia was happy to wear her very first corsage. Sean and Sofia went to the homecoming dance as friends, but that didn't mean there weren't nervous laughs all around...and certain people feeling quite a bit OLDER!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Open Saturdays

French General will be open Saturdays in addition Mondays from 11-4 during the months of November and December. Come by for your holiday crafts, a glass of cheer or just for a bit of inspiration.
See you soon!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Field Trip with the Girls

The other day I had a day out with Pam Garrison and Amy Hanna. I met Pam and Amy a few years back and every time we see each other we say "When are we going on a field trip together?!"....and then time slips away and we never get around to it! Finally, after a handful of e-mails back and forth, we planned to meet down in Orange for an afternoon of hunting for treasures.

I found all sorts of beautiful patterns and colors - lots of good inspiration for textile and paper designs.

After a full day of hunting with Amy and Pam at Country Roads, I wandered over to my favorite shop Down Home, and finally found my one and only purchase - an old hand-sewn, cadet blue and white quilt - with a grand price of $11.95. A day well spent when the quilt costs less than lunch!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Teen Angels

First there was the search for the had to be silver and somewhat celestial.
Then came the paint smattering and glitter throwing - covering the dresses with a galaxy of tiny stars.
A tub of Rit Dye to color the sneakers midnight blue and then a spray of sparkles.
The driveway after a day or creating.
And finally, the costumes were donned - glittery dresses, cut short at the last minute, silver garland as headbands, and the eyes. Yes, the eyes.... which took the majority of time! Every last star had to be placed perfectly to complete the perfect teen angel or galaxy girl or celestial goddess....take your pick!
Happy Halloween...hope you had fun creating a costume or two!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Gilded French Holiday Workshop

We are busy planning our Gilded French Holiday workshop here at French General! On Saturday, December 17th, please join The Gilded Life and French General to celebrate the holidays and make some pretty things! A five hour event filled with three workshops, inspiration, holiday treats and champagne - think of it as a holiday treat for yourself!
To save your seat, please sign up at French General
Seating is limited.