Sunday, November 30, 2008

To Do List

I've been wanting to get all my duckies lined up in terms of what I am making for whom, etc...
This morning, after reading Jenn's post, I am now completely inspired to do so. It was hard to separate what I really NEED to make from what I WANT to make, but I think this is pretty much it, realistically speaking. My fantasy list is much longer, of course. I've been compiling links like crazy for many different types of tutorials. All the usual suspects and many others are exceptional. But WhipUp is colossal with their compilations and categories. I mean, they post an all out list like this a few times a week. Really!
1)Aunt Kathy's Silk Scarf- My aunt has extravagant taste, which has made it difficult in the past for me to actually make her something. But I think she'll love this scarf!
I love it, too...And I LUV this photo. For some reason, since I first saw it, I keep coming back to it and looking at it. I think I love the colors and the girl's style.
The tutorial looks basic enough. I can't wait to go pick out the fabric!

2)Photo Journals for extended family members- I'll finally get to print out many of the photos I store on my camera and computer to make some lovely little books. I'm going to bundle them in little sets along with these pens I'm so fond of.

3) For packaging baked goods - There's this wacky gift...Record Bowls! Such a throw-back from the 70's but I love 'em. I have a ton of old records and I think these will be perfect for gifting baked goods for several family members who appreciate kitsch.

That is pretty much most of what I NEED to do to finish my gift list. Not too bad, right?
Then of course, there are so many things I want to make just because!

Oh, I almost forgot these clever little bookmarks. These would be great for a stocking stuffer or gifting along with a good read for your favorite bookworm!

Last night I basically crafted all night while watching The Empire Strikes Back. Each time I see that movie, I love it more and more! I finished up some ornaments and completed a

swatch portrait topped with a vintage button for Cub's Nana. Also, for Nana and Baba, I'm in the process of making a Victorian Silhouette of Girl Cub. I'll share everything soon. Promise!

Also, I've got a vintage ornament collection post and a gift-wrapping ideas post coming soon.

Yay for holiday preliminaries!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday at the Movies

My obsession with sewing felt holiday ornaments is back with a vengeance. Funny, 'cuz I just told my brother at Thanksgiving dinner that I wasn't going to make them this year.
Go figure! That is a true testimony for how my brain works sometimes. Yes, so I stayed-up way too late last night half-sewing several different designs out of this awesome new felt I've discovered at JoAnn's. It's made out of recycled plastic bottles and the colors are so vivid and practically "technicolor." Toooooo beautiful. After all this gabbing about the felt you think I'd take a photo? Maybe when I actually complete one of the ten that are lying half finished on my kitchen table, I'll share.
I also made this cutie using Kristin's wood beads with the painted cherries and one that I bought from Michael's a while back. I'm very happy with it. Cub tried to hijack it this morning, too! I'm planning on making her one, but this is just "me," so I think I'll keep it. Thank you.
Just take a look at the color of that REAL pumpkin. Gorgeous. And never let anyone tell you there isn't a difference between the real and the canned stuff. There totally is!
This is one of my favorite pies...Pumpkin with Walnut Streusel topping. I usually go with pecans, but three supermarkets were out of them. What the??
The real pumpkin bakes almost like a creamy flan, only with more body. Sublime.

Here is a little scene from Cub's room that caught my eye tonight.

...And now, for the highlight of our day...Tah-Dah!
Yup, we went to see HSM3!!
Cub now thinks she's all that and a bag of chips because she went to see a "big kid" movie!

I have to say, I was not looking forward to it. I kept thinking to myself on the way there, "I haven't been to the theatre to see a film in two years, and now I'm going to see this?"
But you know what? It was actually good. I know people will think I've lost my mind for saying that, but it's true. I do love a good musical, so maybe that has something to do with it.
I don't know, I was totally engaged as were the other three mom's and kidletts. I guess that's the magic of Disney!! It was colorful, bright, and upbeat. Our kids all sat in the row in front of us. So adorable to watch them all sitting on the edge of their seats enjoying the show! Afterwards, we all went out for pizza.
Good times.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I always get a little anxious before a family get
together. But it was all around sweet. The two hours traffic each way was a bit of a drag, but even that didn't take away from the goodness.
My Aunt Kathy spent a lot of time decorating the table at Grandma's, so I took some pictures because it was so pretty.

We had the typical Italian Thanksgiving. That means we had a huge platter of homemade lasagna and salad before the traditional turkey dinner. Ugh. Yes, it is a lot of food, I know...But so good. This year my cousin Michael took over making the lasagna. He's only 22 and he made my Grandma so proud!
After dinner, Cub entertained us with some tunes!
Today, all of the driving and eating caught up with me. We took it easy, only leaving the house
for lunch at the local diner on the park and then some thrifting next door.
The rest of the day, Cub played with her daddy while I napped off and on...Oh, what
a luxury that is! Thanks, Joe -those naps were a rare treat, indeed.
In between naps, I did some crafting.
These are the first of the little WIPs I started today. I plan on finishing them this evening. I also started experimenting with some felt houses later on in the day.
If all goes as planned, I'll post with some finish products tomorrow.
But maybe I'll just end up watching a movie and going to bed early.
...Still tired. Wish I had something more exciting to say!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


(Taken in Bill & Richie's backyard-Staten Island, 2007)
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Soundtrack for Cooking & Cleaning...

On the top of my playlist tonight!
I'll always love this one.
Interestingly, I just found out Rick Ocasek of The Cars produced this album.
No wonder.

All of the music talk I've been privy to lately (in conversation and in blogland) makes me think of those lyrics by fellow Long Islander Billy Joel:
"Everybody's talking 'bout the new sound funny but it's still rock and roll to me."
Anyway, here's what I'm listening to tonight as the cranberries are bursting in their
Cointreau-spice bath...It smells and tastes very good so far. I just found another recipe for cranberry sauce this evening. The secret ingredient of that recipe is Cabernet wine. Yum yum. Forgot to buy the sweetened condensed milk, so the pie is going to have to wait until early tomorrow morning.
I'm doing holiday cleaning and dancing around the apartment.
Yes, my musical tastes are ecclectic! I'm also enjoying this one-
I love my circus music, it's right up there with this!
Ah, pure soul music.
And this one is classic for me. Love.
Okay, that was a nice break-now back to cleaning-up around here.

Here's wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Ready...

To me, Thanksgiving has always been a more "inward" holiday. It doesn't have all the "bells and whistles" of Christmas and I wouldn't want it to. I deeply appeciate the holiday for what it means to me: family, sharing, blessings, gratitude, love, peace.

I have always felt there is something special about sitting around a table to share a meal together.

So, in preparation for the dinner my family will share (at my 93-year old Grandparents' house), I am preparing two of my favorites--cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Tomorrow night, I will set the cranberry sauce up to simmer in the crockpot using Stephanie's recipe. It couldn't get any easier than this. Tonight, a friend at work shared his recipe for cranberry sauce. It's almost identical to this one, only he adds Grand Marinier, too. Oh, yeah...Brilliant. I just happen to have a little bottle in up in my liquor cabinet. Yes!

I love the way Stephanie lays out all of her ingredients like this for each recipe. My brain reads this clearly. (I'm a visual learner, yes.)

While the cranberry sauce is bubbling away, I'll start on my favorite version of pumpkin with a streusel topping. I have a family recipe that was given to me by (get this) Cub's daddy's stepfather's Southern step-mama! Woah! It's very similar to this one. I'm going to use the REAL pumpkin I pureed last week. I can't wait to see if there is a real taste difference or if it's just hype.

And last but not least...If I have any energy after all of that, I'd really like to make these Corn Poppers for when we are all gathered around the table and we're just about to eat. I think this is a very cute idea and a nice way to get a family that's not big on saying grace (Why?) to remember what it's all about! ends my Thanksgiving planning. We have the sparkling Cranberry-Apple Cider and just have to pick-up a bottle of wine and some flowers for the table.
I can't wait.

Any plans or recipes to share? I'd love to hear 'em!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nut Cups and Other Goodies

I promised a little while ago, that I would not blab too much about the goodies I find
along my holiday fair travels. But this was a very "unglamorous" rummage sale and I earned my booty, I really did. My sweet girl, one day over her sickies, was a champ. She sat in a corner and woofed down three mini-muffins, while her silly mama power shopped through the chaos. She made out pretty well, as always with some books that bring out the best of her giggles, classic disney films in mint condition, and an adorable snowglobe that she dropped numerous times, so now it looks more like murky snow soup! Oh, well.
Do you remember these nut cups? Wow. These take me back. I used to love going to those girlie parties where everything was coordinated, just to get my little nut cup made of crepe-paper and filled with m&m's. What a nerd I was and apparently still am because I think these
are the coolest. Even though they are kinda smooshed. No bother. They will fluff out in no time, someday when I decide there is something worth using them for. I'm thinking a very distant crafts fair, when Cub is a teenager. Because I figure, maybe at that point, I'll have enough time to devote to proper craft production and attention to detail. Something I am not about right now in our lives. At least I try, though!
These just make me smile.
I took this photo to display the latest object of my holiday-crafting affection...
mini-pincushions. I really don't know too many ladies who handsew, but dang!
I would love one of these babies if someone made me one. I guess I just love mini
everything. I figure I'll make a bunch of things that I enjoy making-with a vague notion of
who gets what. These were a lot of fun to make. I finished this one off with
a little vintage yellow button on the side, 'cause everything is better with a button!
The strawberry canister is from Japan and I took it because, although it doesn't excite me
all that much, it will make for cute storage in that future craft room I'll have someday, too!
...It was another rummage sale find.

And I just had to share this. Since I don't have an official crafting/storage space, I try to find creative ways to store different items, so they kinda blend in with our apartment. I collect tin cans with what I think are appealing or nostalgic labels. I've lined them up along the kitchen windowsill above the sink, and they store markers, pencils, paintbrushes, and a vast collection of scissors.
I saw this can and knew it had to come live on the shelf...But first we have to eat the fancy lentils!
Isn't that a beautiful can?
At closer examination, she actually looks pretty sinister.
What is she doing? Karate?

***Make Something Monday - Well, I suppose the pin cushions don't count because they were made on Sunday.
However, I'm about to make Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars for tomorrow's Thanksgiving celebration at work. So, that's what I'm making. Yay.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Storyteller's Creed

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
That dreams are more important than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.
-Robert Fulghum
I found this quote at the beginning of the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten. I happen to aks the librarian at my school if she had a copy for me to share with my students and she found an old copy and officially stamped it "Withdrawn," and gave it
to me. I am reading it little by little. It is so sweet, honest, real, and funy.
I've been wanting to pass on Robert's Storyteller's Creed since I read it, so there it is.
I hope it touches your heart, too.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Day

Cub was sick all night long. It was like having a direct flashback when she was an infant with insane colic. She woke-up (literally) every hour on the half last night to throw-up. My heart was breaking for her, but I was just so exhausted. Ugh. It was a nightmare, to say the least. She woke much earlier than usual, of course, and was just so unhappy. The day progressively got better, with a very early morning visit from her
Daddy before work. I ran out in pj's under a long down coat to go get Gatorade, ginger-ale, and bread for toasting.
I don't know how I got into this, but at some point, I think due to exhaustion overload, and
just trying to keep myself balanced, I reached for that lovely Harry and David
holiday catologue and began cutting all kinds of holiday looking yumminess.

It was fun! I love my teeny pair of super sharp scissors. They are my favorite crafty tool! Am I the only person who finds cutting up paper meditative, or am I just odd?
I then glued them all to the back of some of my cardboard box collection. I used cake mix boxes because I thought they "matched" nicely with the holiday theme. I used Tacky Glue which I have been loving these days, but glue stick was a neater, more effective adhesive. I always forget how great glue stick is. They are all over our house, too. (Cub's a fan!)
I should have taken a photo of the backs, too. They came out cute, no? Here are just a few. I have a ton now, as I did this for hours today, barely noticing the time. Cub lazed in front of the tv and dozed off and on, so this was easy for me to do.
This little batch received a dusting of glitter. Next, I will insert grommets and tie a pretty ribbon through some. They will make for some simple ornaments for our tree. I will also mail some inside holiday cards for friends and family.
Most of them, I will thread with rustic twine-to become tags for pretty packages.
I bought a fancy metallic pens to write each person's name.
This was the perfect little craft project for this kind of day. Thanks, Harry and David! I think now that I used their catalogue for my own selfish purposes, it's only fair to order this as a gift for my dear Grandparents.

And since we spent all day indoors, I figured I'd whip up a little something for her to enjoy when she is feeling better in the near future... Homemade Applesauce, her favorite, made in the slow-cooker.
The aroma was so pleasant and comforting.
I used this lovely lady's recipe. Boy, where has she been all of my life?
I sent her an email today telling her she was my hero!
I have a personal attachment to my crock-pot, which came into my life right after I had my daughter-- out of necessity as well as novelty. I grew-up in the '70's and my Aunt Dorothy was a crockpot queen.
She made a killer potroast that I still crave in the colder months.
Anyway, I appreciate Stephanie's approach to this style of cooking. Her recipes are practical without being boring, and are straightforward and easy to follow. And there is evey kind of dish you could imagine cooking up in a crockpot. There is even a great recipe for making holiday candles, which I think I have to make soon.

We didn't get out to say goodbye to the farmer's. Today was the last day of the market until spring. Boo,hoo! We didn't get to attend the local cultural holiday fair, either.
But all in all, it was the first stay at home we've had in a long time.
It was a blessing and it was a good day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Turkey Trot

Today was the Thanksgiving show at Cub's preschool. Both her daddy and I went and were lucky enough to score front row seats. As usual, it was adorable. After four years, I am still as wide-eyed as ever, watching the children sit in their chairs, formed in a semi-circle and singing so sweetly. We even participated in the "Turkey Trot," which was a holiday version of the Hokey Pokey. What you do for your kids, I tell ya!
Before becoming a high school English teacher, I taught pre-k for eight years. Two of them in Portland, the rest in Upstate NY. I loved it and sometimes wonder if I should go back, but then it's back to reality and the fact that I now have to support the two of us. Also, I live and breathe to read and write. And it may sound crazy, but I do thoroughly enjoy the age group I teach very much. They keep me on my toes, entertained, and inspired...all at the same time!
Well...I'm back again. In the middle of this post Cub had horrible projectile vomiting! Oh, how I hate the vomits. Give me anything BUT that. She soaked through all three of her blankets, sheets, and her mattress. Not to mention the walls and floor. Eww. Sorry to be so graphic with it. It's now after 9pm. Just what I needed after this super long day. I'm so tired.
My poor Girl. I hope this is the end of it all. She's finally sleeping peacefully.

On the crafty front, plastic bags are another thing I store in the hundreds underneath my kitchen sink. I wish I knew how to crochet with them, because I think that is just the
coolest thing ever...But take a look at the pom-pom topping this sweet package. Right on, Target bags. Got 'em by the truckloads. You can find out how to make one right here.

I've been trying to come up with cute and creative ideas for holiday giftwrap using only what I have. So, this might be a fresh touch.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bubblegum Cake

This awesome illustration was made by artist Veronika Nagy.
While trauling for an image of bubblegum I had the pleasure of meeting her artwork via etsy via flickr. Like her A LOT. There is a new trendy-looking art that I've noticed out and about these days. I'm not saying I don't like it exactly. It's just getting a tad overdone.
Well, she's got all the talent and style, without all of the pretense. So, she is
a good one, in my book. Her "Childhood Series," left me whirling. One after the other, I want them all. They are just meant for our world, there is no other way to put it. I have already picked-out this one for Cub and I will narrow down several of my choices to put one under the tree for me. I seriously want this one, and this one, and this ONE!!!!
Okay, down to business. My friend Jenn blogged about OCD (Obsessive Crafting Disorder) a while ago. I had to chuckle to myself when I read that because I, too, suffer from my own brand of OCD--that is, "Obsessive Cooking Disorder."
I knew that I had crossed a line of sorts, when last night at 11pm I got a bug for homemade cake. Thank you very much, Tyler Florence! Why the heck did your homemade southern four-layered coconut cake have to look so yummy?
I used a Pineapple Duncan Hines mix I was saving to make a cheater's version of Upside Down Cake (love that one) and so I mixed it according to the directions on the box.
I substituted banana yogurt for the oil, added a little vanilla extract and a lot of rum, and a big handful of coconut.
I poured it sloppily into my grandma's old bundt pan--which always makes for a sticky, messy, frustrating experience of cake "excavation," but it was late, so who cared anyway?
When finished, I iced it with my homemade buttercream which I now keep stocked in the fridge!
The cake should have been good. Really it should have.
The first bite did bring something to mind, but after midnight, my brain shut down. After taking a few bites this evening, Cub said, "Mama, this cake tastes like Cherry!"
And I had just finally realized at that exact moment that this cake tastes exactly like...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Creative Meal Solving. Huh?

Doesn't she look smart in her glasses?
Very post-modern Germany, right?
Anyway, after cleaning a zillion dishes last night, tidying up the house as I tend to do midweek, then settling in with the usual mug of tea and some unlikely television, I was finished. Done. No beaded bracelets. I did glue a button on Cub's pin. Does that count?
Tonight, as I was making our vegetarian supper, I had to give myself a psychic pat on the back.
Sometimes, I just have to do that.
I'm setting goals, however mudane, and actually reaching some of them.
Turns out I had been spending insane amounts of money on groceries for us.
Granted, we are both "good eaters," and the fact that I've kinda become creeped-out by restaurants means that almost all of our meals are made at home...But still, $150 a week for
two gals is over the top. Three weeks ago, I set a budget of $80.00 and so far, so good. Okay, I did go over with the REAL maple syrup and flaxseed waffles, but some things I just can't skimp on.
Point is, I've actually been "meal planning." That phrase and concept have always terrified me. I don't know what I'm going to do from one minute to the next, how am I going to plan entire meals? But, I've made a little list before I go shopping of the types of meals I'd like to eat during the week, and I buy only those ingredients. No more trips to the market every day after work. We're not in Europe, after all. (Sigh.)
On nights like tonight, when the obvious things (planned)to make are totally unappealing...I sat for a minute and remembered those tasty vegetable pancakes and that photo of Honey Roasted Squash Joy posted a few days ago. We had a delicious meal.
And she ate all of her veggies.
Other money saving tips that I'm proud of...Making my own shampoo and deoderant and using the minimal amount of "products." Dr. Bronner's is great for so many things around the house. I even use if for fine washables and as an all purpose spray cleaner.
I am also a big fan of cloth napkins and have been for years. Not only are they cute and elegant at the same time, they are lots of fun to make.
Any one else creatively cutting some corners? Please share!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Pumpinks and Pens...

I had what I consider to be a deliciously decadent after(work)noon.
Around holiday time, I set aside one day a week to take care of "Elfin activities" all by myself. It is so much fun to go off alone, to wander here and there in search of fabulous goodies for everyone...myself included! This afternoon, I went and had a mug of hot cider in celebration of the crispy cold air. It was a successful outing, mainly because I scored several copies of this AMAZING book to give as gifts to my adorably bratty female cousins (and a copy for me, too!).
After returning home, I was immediately inspired by this girl (as usual). I have wanted to make my own pumpkin to use in pies and soups and all the other autumnal goodies for much too long! What's been holding me back? Who knows. But tonight, me and my faithful sous-chef
are transforming that tired Halloween pumpkin into:

Pumpkin puree and these roasted pumpkin seeds. Just like her Mama, Cub loves any and all roasted seeds. I told ya she has my tastebuds! The pumpkin is still roasting at 450 degrees as I write. When it is done, according to directions, I will puree it and it will be good to go! Hopefully, it will make enough for the pumpkin pie I will bake and bring to Grandma's next week for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.
Last night, I stayed up way past my usual 11pm bedtime researching more crafty ideas for holiday gifts. I found this clever and easy tutorial and I have already started searching for all of those old Bics so I can make these ASAP. I think they will go perfectly with the photo journal gifts I am planning.
Check out One Pearl Button's Paper-Covered Pen tutorial
right here!
Tonight, I'm working on finishing a felt flower pin for Cub and colorful bracelets using Kristin's paper-mache beads. I'll have a show-and-tell tomorrow. Promise.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm Baaaaaack with Eggnog!

The problem of being cut off from the world has been solved. Cable man disconnected wrong neighbors services! Oops. Oh, well. I'm happy now.
While out grocery shopping last night I discovered that Eggnog is back!!! Yay! Oh, how I love it! I can still remember being so tickled as a child when my dad would bring home the first green and white carton of the season. Hard to explain the appeal of the flavor for me at the time. Now as a grown-up, I am just downright ga-ga for it. You can just imagine how I felt when I saw that Hood has come out with SUPER DUPER Limited Editions: Sugar Cookie, Gingerbread, and Pumpkin Eggnog. Oh, yes...Cub and I went back and forth before finally choosing Sugar Cookie.
But we are definitely test driving all the others.
Not only are the flavors genius, there are incredibly yummy recipes on the carton..."Sugar Cookie Creme Brulee," and "Gingerbread Pancakes," just to name a few. Ohhhhhhhh!
After drinking a glass of the straight stuff (tastes just like a sugar cookie in a glass, that good? Yup!) I set to work to make Easy Eggnog Pudding.
I don't know about you, but I think My*T*Fine kicks Jell-O's butt! Besides, that box is classic and makes for adorable tree ornaments and holiday cards. (Tutorial coming soon.)
All ya do is follow the recipe on the box for pudding, only substitute the eggnog for the milk. See? Easy. This made one delicious Sugar Cookie tastin' pudding! However, I think I'm going to make my next batch with plain old 'nog. As per my usual, I generously sprinkled my pudding with freshly ground nutmeg before I dove in. Now that I'm on the subject, there is nothing like freshly ground nutmeg. On the spice aisle, Badilla brand is a less expensive choice and is fresh and fragrant. Just grab yourself a microplane and you'll never go back to the other stuff.
I use fresh nutmeg on all of my roasted squash, dark greens (Thanks, Rachael Ray!), and most recipes that call for a mild, white, melted cheese. So, so, good.

My love of nutmeg has me thinking about those handmade holiday crafts again. For my second Christmas with Cub, I used the tons of babyfood jars we had lying around the house, to make small batches of baths and soaks for my loved ones. I think I even made some pretty bath oils, too. But the milk baths were a big hit. They were labelled, "Holiday Eggnog Milk Soak," and guess what the (not so) secret ingredient was? Yes, nutmeg!

I'm going that route again, only this season, I will use these
for the bottles. How perfect are they? I make a pretty label and then cut a circle of vintage fabric to cover the bottle top and secure it with a pretty ribbon. Charming.

Here's the recipe for Easy Milk Bath:
2 cups dry milk powder
1 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. fragrance oil of your choice

Blend all ingredients using a whisk. I use vanilla oil and then add fresh nutmeg for my Eggnog version. You can play around with this however you'd like. Sometimes, I add epsom salt
for soothing sore muscles, depending on who I'm giving it to!

I add a little sticker with directions: Add 1/2 cup scoop to one bath and RELAX.
PS: Kristin, I want to play Make Something Monday!
...And I tag this lovely lady to play along, too.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Plans of Mice and Men...

My Sweet Friends,

It is Sunday afternoon. I am writing from the far reaches of the local "hippie internet cafe," as my friends call it. I feel like it has been ages since I last touched hand to computer key...But it's only been three days. Oh, yes...I am truly addicted. Now I know for sure.

Anyway, I returned home from work on Friday night to find my "triple play," (internet, cable tv, phone...all digi) had become a "triple threat," and died on on us sometime earlier that afternoon.
My knee-jerk reaction was to flip-out, lose it on the innocent customer service rep over at Time Warner...But, I took a deep breath and realized that there may be something to this business of being unplugged for a few days. The earliest they can send someone is Monday evening...Breathe...Lots of late-night reading and movie watching. Always nice.'s been a good weekend,though not exactly as I had originally planned. That's what I get for planning ahead!! Friends, lots of shopping, cooking, chores, a dinner party at the neighbors--all filed our weekend with loveliness...When we return home I have some baking planned- Peanut-Butter Jelly Bars, Eggnog Pudding, and possibly a "fake" Pineapple Upsidedown Cake. Mmm. And I am just loving this overcast, chilly weather.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


photo courtesy of

The rain and cold have left me feeling groggy tonight, not much like posting. But I'm in for the long haul that is NaBloPoMo. I said I would and so I am!

While browsing around on tastespotting this evening, the above photo caught my eye. Deliciousdays had the inspiration I'd been looking for...these delicious frosted cookies and a "To Do Before Christmas List." Funny, I've been thinking about frosted cookies for the holidays since last year. Pink frosting makes everything look so tasty, too.

1. Make these cloth napkins for Cub's Nana and Auntie. I absolutely ADORE this fabric. I think Nana will appreciate it, too. I'll order extra yardage for some throw pillow covers for moi!

2. Make the Vanilla Sugar and Hot Chai Tea Mix. These are going to be my Edible gifts this year for extended family on Cub's Daddy's side. There are so many of them and I think this will make things nice and easy for me.

3. Buy some cute little jars for the above gifts. Dollar stores, Baby!

4. Start planning and gathering supplies for the embroidery hoop portraits with vintage buttons...a la Whimsy Love! They are adorable and I have some killer buttons I can't wait to use.

5. Make some handmade journals using those old album covers I've been collecting.

The list could go on for a bit more, but I think I'm done with links for now!

It may seem early, but now is the time to start planning. The holidays will be here before we know it. Also, I didn't really forget about the postcard swap idea. I had lofty dreams for the fall, but if I can get my act together to make about ten winter-themed cards...We may have a postcard swap happening here after all!

Off to read The Monsters of Templeton. I started it last night and it is soooooooo good.

And since I'm thinking ahead...My Weekend Plans: A long walk in the park with Cub to take photos of all the gorgeous leaves as they fall, a long overdue hair cut at the Paul Mitchell Academy (excellent btw for all of you SI people!), Holiday Fair/Grandma's Attic, Farmer's Market, evening mass and Caramel Apples...Finally!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Can Dream...

I'd like to share a little fantasy. It was spurred on by reading The Food Section, (a long time obsession) this evening. For me, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a little piece of paradise.
I haven't been there yet, but I've fallen in love with it a million times already-since first hearing about it from Cub's daddy. You just have to go here to find out why I'm so enthralled with the whole idea of a "...Center for Food and Agriculture." If you are even remotely interested in food, you will be intrigued, at least. I have to get there soon. Until then-
Back to the fantasy...On my dream date, he (NOT Cub's daddy) picks me up and we drive here:

Blue Hill, NY
...for the final installment of this dinner series, which features the sense of "Taste."
They have a restaurant in the city, too. But it just wouldn't be the same.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gentle Day

No other way to describe it. We woke-up at our leisure and cuddled for a while in my bed.
I think that's my favorite thing in the whole world. Cub crawls in and just snuggles against me gently, to wake me.
Then we were off to my parent-teacher conference. Yup. She's aces, but I already knew that! Hee, hee.
We celebrated afterwards with a trip to Michael's and out for Chinese food.
Then home for Mama and Cub playtime. Crafting for me and dramatic play for my girl.

The second best part of the day had to be snuggling on the couch for a late afternoon viewing of The Secret Garden. This was one of my favorite books growing up. I love the movie, too. She fell asleep wrapped in a bundle of blankets next to me as the sun settled down through the windows of our apartment.
I sipped big mugs of organic black tea with lots of honey and lemon.
Feeling a bit under the weather.
I thought of my brother today and two of my uncles that served our country.
I keep a photo of my Uncle Richard on my dresser even though I never had the chance to meet him. He was my grandpa's youngest brother (out of six kids).
My grandpa didn't come from the happiest of homes. Not such a nice family life, unfortunately.
My grandfather told us that Richard ran away from home to join the navy. He lied about his age because he was too young. But he did it because he was extremely patriotic and he used to tell my grandfather, "I just feel something when I see that flag waving."
He died serving the country that he loved in Pearl Harbor.
Love and Blessings to all who have sacrificed for our beautiful home.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beautiful Birdies

Drinks after work followed by an enormous Indian meal with Cub and her daddy have left me too tired tonight for a long post. Yay! So I just thought I'd pass on some lovely
bird-themed talent this evening. I love both of these artists so much. Enjoy~
This collage belongs to the talented Paula Swisher. You can find lots more of her birdies here.
This birdie brooch was crafted by the lovely Lupin. I found her last year when she was a featured etsy seller. I love felt and she is a "master" (mistress?) of this material; not to mention her handsewing skills take my breath away. Just look at those stitches. Ahhhhh.

I'm now going to get up from this computer chair, put on the kettle for a big cup of tea and
do something I rarely do...Lay down on the couch for some bad TV!
Tomorrow I have the day off. Whoo-Hoo!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


To make a long story short, so much about me changed after my daughter was born.
Actually, the change started while I was pregnant. One of the most interesting
changes that I noticed had to do with my personal color palette.
Maybe it had to do with being a teen in the eighties, but I was always partial to black. Lots of black. Up until Cub's conception, most of my clothes were black. I was not really a "color" person. I noticed when I was a few months pregnant, I went sneaker shopping and ended up with a pair of bright blue Saucony sneakers with light pink trim. What?
I did think it was a little odd at the time.
I finally chalked it up to "the baby," when I left Macy's later that spring with a bright pastel colored Le Sportsac! Uh...very strange.
And so now I live for colors; just one of the many gifts
she has given me.
On that note, today was a colorful day!
Our sweet neighbor came up to play in the morning. After Cub had enough of him and retired to her room for reading time with Grandpa, F. and I sat down and colored together. He always goes for the art supplies when he comes over. He likes to talk about how Cub's daddy is an artist. Very cute.
Daddy brought this book back for from his camping trip in Acadia National Park recently.

Before our joint coloring session, I was sitting at the table, drinking coffee and working on a felt flower brooch from this lovely little tutorial. He was pretty interested in what I was doing, too.
He asked questions while watching and even made some suggestions.
I topped this off with another little vintage button. These are really sweet and fun to make. So many different combos and looks are possible. I can't wait to pin this one on to that blah-blue cardigan I almost gave away last year.
Next, I'm going to make a mini flower brooch for her sweaters.

And to top off our day in color...Ta-Dah! My Naked Funfetti Layer Cake!
Yes, it's of the boxed variety, but I'm gonna totally make up for it with
a REAL old-fashioned buttercream.

We just couldn't wait that long.
Now off I go to frost this cake.

Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Super Scrumptious Day and Super Long Post!

You know when you just have one of those unplanned perfect days...totally unorchestrated, but one activity just segues into the next in the most harmonious of ways? What you have is
a beautiful symphony of a day, one that you never want to end. I think the weather has a lot to do with it, for me. I just love dark, damp, days in autumn. They are the epitome of "romantic" to me. (That was just one of the many reasons I loved living in pdx.)
Yeah. So Cub had her very first dentist appointment early this morning.
Tell me this photo isn't a complete hoot. Who's she tryin' to kid? "Yeah, I'm Joe Cool. I'm not worried or anxious at all...Nah, not me." (Yeah, right.)

She was a champ in that chair. Not at all like her mama! But we found out she has two cavities. Blah. The dentist looked at me like I had three heads when I refused the flouride treatments. We debated a little bit back and forth before she gave up. Ah, whatever. I no longer let the medical profession get to me. Yeah, I'm a freak. Deal with it.
Today was the first day of the official holiday fair season. Yup. This is my thing. Poor Cub gets dragged around to at least two per weekend until all the hooplah is over and Mama has all her shopping completed. Today was the first and BEST one. I do so well at the St. Nicholas Fair and it's right here in my 'hood, too. This is our third year in a row. I clean up there. Seriously. And we have a blast.
Looking up!
Best part there is the most awesome craft table for the kids. So smart, really. While parents shop, kids get to create and play. This year they had a gazillion yummy supplies. It was all I could do to keep from jumping in there myself. But I had serious work to do.
Here is just some of what my girl crafted while I went into a frenzy over in "Grandma's Attic."
No, kidding aside...I was so proud of my little one. She made about six things. One after the other and she was so focused and into all of it.
She is a natural born crafter. That's my Girl!

Okay, I really wanted to take all these pretty little photos of the booty. I wanted to organize it all into little sections 'cause I'm just so proud! Hee,hee...I pretty much tackled all of those people who are so hard to shop for, which was nice. Here is some of the hall:

Those cigar boxes are from Cuba. Yes. The tray up front from Paris. Two tin heart pans, those mugs are very cool, both from Japan, tons of handmade ornaments but you can't see 'em properly cuz I'm too impatient to do it right, a morroccan style ashtray of sorts, two stain glass decorations - one is a unicorn, an apple tree trivet from the 70's, lots of vintage jewelry and pins, a yogurt recipe book from the 80's, Beatrix Potter collectable ornaments, two vintage double frames, and a mini nativity set for us, because I've always wanted one. All this for less than $20.00!!!

Then, the show-stopper. I saw these glasses and I swear everything started moving in slow motion as I discovered there were three. How cool are these?

That's Tom Sawyer on the far right in red. The woman told me these are seriously collectible and practically gave them to me for free. I'm sorry I'm gloating. But I'm just so excited about all of this and I know most of you understand. My friends and family do not get this at all. I promise I won't do this again for the rest of the season!
And the best part of the day...We finally made it back to this lovely place for 5:00 service.

Since I was a child I have always loved evening mass. To me, it is more low-key and peaceful; more meditative. Cub protested tonight. She was exhausted. It was embarrassing, she slept curled up on a chapel chair during most of mass. Her heavy breathing was heard by all.
Turns out after the service there was a spaghetti dinner. Yay! So much for my split-pea soup simmering away at home in the slow-cooker! We went down into the beautifully haunting and cavernous lower level for the most delicious supper. It smelled just like my grandma's and tasted (almost) as good. Great food and great company.
Cub was too tired to stay for the live music, but we still had such a nice time.
I enjoyed the drive out of St. George, down Richmond Terrace along the waterfront, and back into our neighborhood tonight.
The lights shining out of the houses and reflecting from the dark water
made me feel like we were home.