Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winding Down the Old Year

May your New Year be filled with just enough tarnish and old lace.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Very Favorite Ornament

The first ornament made by my first child, away from home at kindergarten and brought proudly home to Mama. Knowing it was made of bread dough, he gave one corner a little test bite. I much admire the glue that held the glitter and sequins in place for the last 30 years. The silver string is original, too.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Decorating Done

Let the baking begin!

Dining room end of the room.

Table top - old tablecloths, old silver with a bit of tarnish (including my Oldtimer's baby spoon.)

Buffet - again, old silverplate, aqua and clear glass items.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tree is Up...

...and I think we're finally getting somewhere. I opted for a crazy mixed up tree this year, using old ornaments, things the kids made when little, etc. Nothing matches. It seems rather odd, after the monochromatic, "adult" tree of the last couple years. Here's a peek - but I'm not done with the dining room table yet.

My dear Oldtimer put several strands of LED lights all along the split rail fence out in front, too. I like the look! Pix tomorrow, I promise.

Lawn Toad

Wow. I can't believe I haven't posted in a month. Between work, creative time, and the holidays - I haven't even thought of it, I guess. Naahhh... the real reason is that I feel like the guy in the photo above. I don't get along well with winter - having lots of pity parties. This too shall pass.

PS - This toad used to grace the edge of the koi pond when we lived in NC. Do you suppose he's as disappointed as I am to live in this weather?

Friday, November 19, 2010

R.I.P., Old Roaster

I've fallen prey to roaster lust. I read cooking and recipe blogs, I subscribe to Bon Appetit and Saveur, I watch Chopped and Iron Chef. I want to smile with perfect white teeth beneath my perfectly coiffed hair as I pull the golden turkey from the oven, to the approval of my family. (Yes, I know each of my children lives at least 600 miles from me.)

And so, though the All Clad roaster at Sur La Table sang the song of the siren, I picked up the less expensive Oneida version last night at the local wholesale club. I hesitated not over the price of the All Clad, but casting aside tradition. This old faithful friend has been replaced:

On the way home from the store, shiny new roaster taking the place of honor in the back seat, I thought about the old pan. I've had that old guy for 41 years. I think it was 41 years in July, maybe August. All I remember is tripping down the streets of the small town where I was working for a home builder, the summer after high school graduation, with my then-boyfriend. We made a "statement" of sorts, paying $1 for a roaster, at the sidewalk sale during Crazy Days - an unspoken plan for a future together.

Well, the future together didn't happen, but I kept the roaster. I married a different guy, and through all our years together, I roasted the holiday meats in this pan, and now I'm feeling a little fickle. Cast off the boyfriend, the husband, and now the roaster. Is that pan in the "fond memory" bank of my children?

Oh well - at $1, amortized over 41 years, I guess I've earned shiny and new, and it's about time that my dear Oldtimer gets a meal cooked in a pan without a past. Sure hope that turkey comes out golden.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beautiful Fall

Despite my dread of winter, it's difficult to ignore the beauty of the season that precedes it. After Saturday's bit of snow and slush, I began my annual whining, but if this is what follows that first wintery blast, I really ought to temper the complaining. The clear colors reflected in the pond are always a thrill.

The flocks of birds have been amazing. It seems the trees come alive with their chirping and chortling, and then they land on the lawn, en masse, to hunt for...what? Are they after the last surviving, but slow, bugs? Grass seed? I love to watch them flip over the colorful leaves with their beaks as they seek goodies beneath.

The fragrant roses and lush waterfall petunias may be gone for a few months, but there is beauty of another kind in a clear fall day.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fathoms of the Deep - Done!

In May, I started this terrific e-pattern from Colleen Babcock, called Fathoms of the Deep. The pattern has some wonderful techniques and I really enjoyed making the doll. About a week after I started the doll, I began traveling for grandchildren's birthdays, family vacation, and a few other - less pleasant - interruptions came along. Tonight, I'm calling her complete (though I just realized I need to do something about fingernails). Don't judge the pattern by my slowness - she's really lovely to make.

Full doll:
Upper detail:
Fin detail:
Waist detail:
I love her fishy shawl, the handmade starfish at her waist and fin, everything. Fun, fun doll. Thanks Colleen!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Key to My Heart Doll

The doll club I belong to, Cloth Souls, recently used Sherry Goshon's pattern to create cloth hearts and swap them amongst members. The hearts are then used to create a triangular skirt base for a doll. Here's the doll I made with the three I got in the swap.
Her sleeves are made from a piece of embroidered sari fabric; her bodice is decoupaged with pieces of a pink napkin printed with red chili peppers!
The overskirt is venise lace.

The gold and fuchsia base cover is another piece of beautiful Indian fabric, given to me by my friend Rekha.
The wood base is decoupaged with pieces of napkin.

Sherry's online doll group also did a swap of three hearts. The three I received are more pastel than this, and I haven't made that doll yet. I really loved working with this pattern.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soap & Fragrance

A nice long talk with my friend Margie (of Hill Country Haiku fame) Friday evening got my soapmaking batteries re-charged. I love talking with Margie; she gets me thinking about fragrances and soap formulas, and beautiful colorations in soap. I needed some oomph so badly.

Before I talked to her Friday, I made a batch of Lavender Coriander soap, and it smells so good. She sent me a photo of the batch she and her assistant made Friday - White Tea and Ginger, with a triple swirl. Margie's swirls are amazing, and I know I'll never achieve anything near her swirl perfection. Of course, she seems to admire my nose for scents, so we have a pretty good mutual admiration society going.

Between that and the trip Thursday afternoon to Oils by Nature, I'm all fired up and ready to start making lots and lots of soap before the holidays. I, of course, have all the old favorite stand-bys to make, but I also love to play - try new scents, make new blends, etc.

Right now, I'm off to make the Pumpkin Pie and Lavender blend that Margie mentioned. I don't know what proportions to use, but I do trust my nose, and I'm going to see if I can concoct that man-luring scent. However, I'd love, love, love to know what your noses are telling you these days.

Leave me a comment please? Tell me your favorites for any season, tell me what you've sniffed lately that you can't get out of your mind, tell me what you've been seeking for years and can't find. And fellow soapers - what trends are you seeing? Let's talk fragrance - I miss it so.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book Giveaway

I have some books to clear out of here - anyone interested?

Here's a listing - drop me a line if I can send them along...

3 CD’s of Dolls United with instructions and interviews – The Elements issue, The Celestial issue, and the Mystical Issue

Booklet – Crochet Native American Baskets

Booklet – Crochet Chenille Purses


Bags with Style, Stephanie Kimura (all patterns intact and unused)

The Magic of Free-Machine Embroidery, by Doreen Curran

A Charming Exchange, by Kelly Snelling & Ruth Rae

Living the Creative Life, by Rice Freeman-Zachery

Drawing as a Scared Activity, by Heather C. Williams

Saturday Night Hat, by Eugenia Kim

Transforming Fabric, by Carolyn Dahl

New Techniques for Wearable Art, by Rice Freeman-Zachery

Prevention – Women’s Choices in Natural Healing

(Herbs in Pots, Rob Proctor and David Macke) claimed

Health Essential Aromatherapy Massage with Essential Oils

Seasons of Aromatherapy, Judith Fitzsimmons & Paula M. Bousquet

(Eyewitness Handbooks Herbs, Lesley Bremness) claimed

Gifts for Herb Lovers, Storey Publishing

(50 Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself, Stephanie Tourles) claimed

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just a Little More Beadwork

My "dangerous" mermaid (Fathoms of the Deep pattern, by Colleen Babcock)) is almost done at last. I just have to bead a bit more on her fish shawl, and we'll be all set. Poor thing got set aside a couple times, in favor of other, more pressing projects.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

One Rose...

...five ways. Playing with photo apps on my iPhone. Such easy fun!

Unedited, straight from the camera.

Two processes - Pic Grunger and Lo-Mob

One process - Lo Mob

One process - Pic Grunger

One process - Color Splash

This is just so impressive to me. I continue to marvel at all the things I can do with my "phone"!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Friday Shopping

Friday was an "all about me" day. I stayed in my robe, late, shopped in places I love, and got a couple things I've been wanting.

The nearest Trader Joe's is in a lovely shopping complex which has a far too crowded (and frustrating) parking lot - as well as the street that approaches it being jammed and slow-going. It takes a special mental state for me to head over there - but once I actually get there, and find a parking spot, I'm always glad to have made the effort. The special plantings alone are worth the effort.
My plan was to shop Trader Joe's and take a look around Penzey Spices. Well, not only did I shop both places, I also shopped at Sur La Table, and bought something that's been on my wish list for quite some time. Meet the newest addition to our family!

You probably don't care much about the jars of spices, or the groceries I bought, but how about this bouquet of my favorite flowers - Stargazer Lilies? (In the pitcher on the left, below.) They scent not only the entire living room, but the kitchen, bedroom, and hall, as well.

Lovely day. Should hold me for a while. So why do I have this urge to drive to the antique mall today?

Friday, October 08, 2010

New Bed

We've finally graduated to a larger (queen size) bed. It was time - we've not gotten any smaller, but we've both developed joints that ache and parts that fall asleep that shouldn't. Besides, we have most of the rest of the bedroom re-do done, so why not figure out the bed now, and then put on the finishing touches?

One view of the bed; will share more when we hang artwork, paint woodwork, buy rugs...

Doll Bookmark

Last night at the monthly meeting of Cloth Souls, we made little doll bookmarks. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but it's a simple body shape cut from tag board, and then a dress shape cut from paper or fabric. Some of the gals used wallpaper, some used beautiful fabrics, I used a napkin. Then the body shape is laminated and cut out with about 1/8" of lamination remaining around the edge. The face is done on a covered button, hair added, and thar you have it. I couldn't find the right size button cover, so mine's a little large, but this one isn't going anywhere, so I'm not too concerned.

I really like meeting with this group. We learn some little thing every meeting, but there's no pressure, no shows to put on, it's like getting together with a group of friends for sewing circle once a month.

The only "danger" - for me - is that it meets at Joann's in Mentor (OH) where I always find something extra to purchase. Last night I found a LOT of trims I couldn't leave behind - so I left the store $33 poorer with just a little bag of goodies!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beautiful Sky!

Tonight's sunset was gorgeous. I've tried to capture bits of the glorious color to share with you - saving what I consider the best for last!

I wanted a shot of the Dr. Seuss Brugmansia, but it had gotten too dark. I used the flash, and it really stands out against the glorious sky!

A Few Beach Photos

The long-awaited trip to Emerald Isle took place at last in mid September. What a shock to realize that it had been 4 1/2 years since we were all together. There were cousins who'd never met, for heaven's sake! We were so lucky to get four families from four different states, all together in a fifth state to enjoy a beautiful beach house.

The weather was perfect, the house was phenomenal, and - as my friend Diane said - what's not to love? Ocean breezes, seashell collecting, and men who cook!

We've agreed to not post photos of the children on blogs or Facebook, but I can certainly post the adult children and some of the vistas!

Lovely sunrise:

We got some waves (and rip tides) due to Igor:

Here's one shot of the whole family on the beach - not very crowded! What a lovely way to spend a day.

This is the view from the doorway of Oldtimer & my bedroom:

And here I am with my three babies. My dear son managed to point out that the combined age of my three children is now 97 years! Way to make your old mom feel better, Chris!
My Oldtimer, going for the big one:

The carefree old folks: