Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fleur Bleu

Thanks to the sick day on friday...
I have taken one small step towards The Glass Menagerie project idea I've had on my mind for the past few months.

I now have a Blue Rose to sigh at. I only need some floral tape and to find my 20 gauge wire to create a bouquet of what can finally be called Blue Roses.
I am only just beginning to dream here.

This little wallet is the result of my first formal sewing class in almost twenty years!!!

I am so happy I was able to carve out some time to indulge another sort of dream.
Today, I took the basic sewing class at Make Workshop NYC and it was AMAZING!
I loved every single second of the day...From the drive alone (no traffic) into the city...listening to my love Shelby Lynne's first album and Erasure's (debut) Wonderland. Pure heaven. I could turn it up as loud as I wanted because there were no tiny ears to injure...No elfin child to remind me, "Mama, TOO LOUD!"
The city was still sleepy at 11am when I arrived. I even found parking downtown. Wow.
I had the chance to walk around my old 'hood, get coffee and get teary about the changes that have taken place in it and in me.
Life goes on. We go on. It's okay.
Then into the class with my machine. Beautiful lofty creative space.
I was a child again. Sitting with excitement and wonder.
Wanting to know everything. Instantly.
I now know my machine a whole lot better.
I was able to take home something pretty that I made with my own two hands.
It's Amy Butler fabric, too.
Today was My Day.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Under the Weather

This is a view from Cub's window. I took this yesterday morning. She gets the side-back view of our house. I love the way our neighborhood breaks all Staten Island stereotypes. In spite of the big New York Times article written about Stapleton a few years ago, many people still aren't aware of just how charming it is. There are big hills, back roads, lots of trees, lots of old churches, parks, and quaint little coffee shops and bookstores. If they could only find a way to widen some of the main roads (most are still one lane) to alleviate some of the traffic, it would almost be perfect.

Last night, was a nightmare. I went to bed at 11 pm. By 11:30 Cub was up with the "I've got a stomach ache," complaint. To make a yucky-story less yucky-we were up until 5am this morning. Someone did catch a bug of the non-crafty type! I wasn't feeling so hot, either. All we've had today is some chicken broth and saltines. We both stayed home, too. I just woke-up from my second nap and finally feel a bit more "normal." So, I'm ready to share!
This is the frame Cub finished to give to my Grandmother for Valentine's Day.

And if you feel like a simple french dessert this evening or whenever, try the recipe below. Super good and easy.
You can make as many apples as you want...even one, it's that easy to adapt. But here's the recipe as it appears in the book.

Tante Marie's Buttered Apples

4-6 medium sized apples
4-6 slices bread (Sounds weird but is so good...Trust Tante!)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons butter

-Core and peel apples.
-Place bread in a buttered baking dish and put an apple on each slice.
-Fill half of each center with some butter and sugar (combined).
-Bake 45-60 minutes in 350 oven.
-Melt remaining butter and combine with remaining sugar.
-Spoon a little of the mixture over the apples from time to time.
-Serve hot with a little juice from bottom of the pan.

***Cyndy's Notes: -There didn't seem to be much juice at the bottom of the pan, so I added a bit of apple juice to the butter and sugar I basted the apples with.
-Also, the bread at the bottom of the dish tastes like a rich, buttery delicious pastry crust. Serve some along with the apple!
-I find Rome apples are best for baking. If you use smaller apples, reduce cooking time.
-To be really decadent, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, or according to Tante Marie, "serve with some currant jelly in the middle."

Enjoy, Friends!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reading and Feeding

...Just in case you didn't know.
When I am looking for a certain something to read or to cook, but I don't know what that "something" is...I tend to go to the school library. Oddly enough, it houses an extensive cookbook collection for a high school. The variety has ranged from African to Macrobiotic cuisine and I have been pleased with them all. I didn't realize until today, however, that three days ago-I unearthed a small treasure.
I was looking for something French to cook or to bake during the next few weeks. It has been so cold and damp here lately. I have been tired too, so I've been opting for easier meals (I'm embarrassed to admit) primarily made in our toaster oven.
Anyway, I was instantly attracted to the size, cover, and all-around vintage look of
The Complete Tante Marie's French Kitchen. I've been studying it the past day or so, and have been quite impressed with its level of accessibility (without sacrificing authenticity). The recipes are straightforward and call for the most basic ingredients. I have a shelf filled with fancy French cookbooks, both used and new in my collection, but this by far would be my "go-to" french cookbook, if only I owned a copy! By the way, I could not find an image of the cover I have, but the one above is close enough!
Tonight, a quick search has revealed that this cookbook may in fact be out of print; and that it was/is a French classic. Also, I am not surprised to learn that Tante Marie, like her American soul sister Betty Crocker, never did exist. No problem, because to me, they are both alive and well in my kitchen where I will enjoy creating their down-to-earth, home-style
recipes. Thank-you, Ladies!
I made Tante Marie's Buttered Apples tonight. They were perfect and very french, all butter and sugar. I'm on my second. It's sooooo good. But it has been a long day and I am tired. I just want to plop down on my couch and read some more recipes and then give the other two novels some serious attention...if I'm still awake.
Until tomorrow, sweet (apple) dreams.

Monday, January 26, 2009

She Has Caught The Bug...

The crafty-bug, that is!!!
Maybe it was the stocking full of crafts and two crafting-kits she received for the holidays.
Or maybe it was all the "let's make wrapping paper and birthday cards for all of the parties coming up." It probably has more to do with being dragged through Michael's on a regular basis since she was born...But my Girl is on a roll! Now when we go to Michael's, it's shopping for two. Hmmm. I'm afraid I may have created a monster!!! But it's so great to have someone to create and play with. She's such a fun crafting partner.
She picked-out the frame. I helped her with the details.
This was a great project. Perfect for a little one. We painted the frame together and then I put all sorts of foamies, glitter, stickers, cut-up ribbon...even candy hearts- into little bowls and she did the rest....Okay, I added a couple here and there. This is in the early stages. It's actually jam- packed with gaudy-loveliness, but my battery went, so a final shot tomorrow.

Sometimes, I catch myself day-dreaming about the future. Our future. I can't help it...Someday, just maybe...We'll work side-by-side making things for our very own little shop.
Mama's girl.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Accept was my word to focus on this year. I am constantly reminding myself to gracefully accept the things in my life I can't change: The fact that I do not have the option of staying home to raise and teach my daughter, the overwhelming and often exhausting life of single-parenting, the odd behavior of others, and on a less serious note, my hair is losing more and more of its color every day! Phooey!
May I learn to accept life's imperfections great and small.

Needed my crafting fix last night, so it was back to the jewelry. This little bead (button) was given to me by my grandmother. It belonged to her mother, who raised five children while working as a seamstress in nyc. This bead has lived in one of my jewelry boxes for the past twenty years or so. It will be nice to finally wear it. If I can replace the missing stone, fine. If not, no big deal. It is still very special to me.

One thing I found so fascinating when I first entered this whole crafty-universe is that people make cozies for practically everything! Hey, why not? I remember buying Cub's Nana an
apple cozy from etsy two years ago. She says it is still one of her all-time favorite gifts!
I thought this was a super idea when I saw it yesterday. So, of course, I had to attempt it at 1am when I couldn't sleep last night! Can you tell? I seem to have gone stitch-happy with the left side. Oops!
Guess this one will be ours. No problem. I'll call it my prototype because I know I'll be making more of these sweeties. I LOVE chocolate. In fact, Cub's daddy recently said, Cub and I are the only two people he knows who often have chocolate on their lips. And that's okay by us! I'm planning on having a lot of fun with different combos and embellishments for these, too. Lots of loved ones will be receiving one in a few weeks.

"Learning to love yourself is the GREATEST love of all..."


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Small Things

No crafting here last night. Instead, I let the sci-fi channel play in the background while I indulged in what I think is one of the most delicious activities...READING! We finally got around to the library to pick up some of the items we reserved. Cub loved her Frog and Toad are Friends video. We both are huge fans of the book series and just discovered there are (claymation) videos. Yay! I relished in Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching. The best part about that book are the free vintage-style patterns she includes. Then I worked my way into Anne Tyler's Celestial Navigation and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. I actually read the first 50 pages of that one and so far, I love it. It's an eerie page-turner. My kind of book. So far, it's reminding me of The Secret History, a favorite of mine.
Today, I've unearthed some small goodies. When I clean and/or re-organize around here, I always find the many unintenional small collections I've been brewing without realizing it. The Golden Books will have to wait. But I did find my "charm" rings. You know, the kind you get in those machines on your way in or out of wherever. I like them a lot!

Pretty, yes?
And this little embellished Altoid tin was originally created last holiday season for gifting. I made a few and found that I wanted them around here just a little bit longer. I keep them on a book shelf and look at them. Here's one of my faves from the small group. To me, they were just too personal to give-away. If that makes any sense. That's a wooden dove ornament with the olive branch in its mouth. The paper was cut from a Monet postcard.
And while I'm on the subject of small things that make me happy. How could I resist this one?
Happy Weekend, All!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fabric Flowers

I usually don't follow-up with more of the same craft right after completing one, but I found another box of fabric under my craft table and couldn't help myself. I found some cute florals that will make some lovely jewelry and hair accessories. When I started cutting tonight, I thought it would be cool to post a little tutorial, but due to dim lighting in this apartment and many of my craft supplies looking less than shiny and happy, I'll offer you this an unofficial "how-to" of sorts.
1. Find a fabric that will work. Try to find a design or shape that can easily be cut from the fabric.
2. Once you have the shape, trim around the edges to cut the stray threads. I find that after a few coats of the Mod Podge, cutting these strays is often easier (because they become stiff).

3. With a paint brush, add a thin coat of Mod Podge to one side of the fabric. Don't forget to use wax paper or parchment underneath! Wait fifteen minutes or so, and then add a coat to the other side. Let dry. Repeat.

**I like the look of the glossy finish for these embellishments. Although, matte may work nicely for a different look. You can have fun and experiment here.

4. Keep adding the finish repeatedly to both sides until the fabric becomes stiff. For the butterfly in the last post, I think I used about five coats on each side, but see what works for you.

5. When it dries, you can trim those strays, if you haven't done so already.

6. Embellish with rhinestones, glitter, sequins, anything you like! I'm thinking about backing some with felt and also using metallic threads here and there.

These can be used to make so many pretty things. All it takes is a few supplies
and your imagination.

Now I should really have another photo here of the completed embellishment, but I don't!
Stay-tuned tomorrow when I reveal the finished product!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Sparkly Set

Here is the necklace that I've been writing about for a while now. I can't even remember when I first started making the fabric embellishment, but it was a while ago. I used this wonderful tutorial and it was super fun and easy. I searched my fabric stash for something vintage, because that's what I really envisioned here, but I couldn't find anything I was willing to cut up or that would work for what I had in mind. I finally found a pretty print, (wish I had photographed it for this post) and clipped the butterfly because I thought it would work out nicely for a first try and a necklace. When it was done, I embellished the embellishment. Ha, ha! Then I hooked it up to jump rings and a chain. Last night, while watching all of the inaugural news, I "assembled" (as Jenn so aptly put it) a pair of earrings to go along with it.
I'm definitely making more fabric embellishments in the future, so I've been on the lookout for vintage floral prints. I'd like to make some (what else?) hair accessories, specifically headbands...or perhaps some retro-style combs to push the hair back on one side...
like the kind I wore in junior high, only cuter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've wanted to share so much since the weekend and was all ready for a super-long post filled with fun. Unfortunately, Cub is sick again. This time with a cough, one of those deep, wet-sounding, rattlers. Ugh. I am afraid that it may be a long night and I'm feeling tired already.
This weekend we had two birthdays. Look at what my friend Eliza found to give the birthday girl?
Look at all of these darling shoes...And they're just for teddy bears. Hmmf.

Stylin' kiddlings. My favorite.
Love the pink dress. Sofie's mom told me she bought it in Albania.

Some more quick crafties from me. Yeah, it seems like I have a thing for flowered brooches. Funny, I don't wear them as much. I just like to make and look at them a lot. Truth be told, in its first life, this was supposed to be a barrette (that I very much wanted to wear), but it put up quite a fight, and I finally let it win.

I made another "Tumbling Card and Button" brooche, but it seems to have been misplaced in a pile of ????

And my first free-formed wire earring (french hook still to
This was completely random for me. I just started playing late one evening and this is what I came up with. I'm going to make its partner and maybe a choker to go along with the set.
I'm just starting to unleash that little bittie "mock-jeweler" that has been lurking way down inside of me for the longest. I've always known she's there...I just haven't know what to do with her. I'm having fun just playing around with different materials and creating by instinct, not instruction. Nothing serious. I finally finished that fabric applique necklace too. But it will have to wait, along with the felt cookies, until tomorrow.

Monday, January 19, 2009


"We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of a dove, a tough mind and a tender heart."
Just thought I'd share a quote from one of the books that made a profound impact on me when I read it for the first time. My college roommate mailed me a copy of Strength to Love after we already graduated and she had moved to Germany. It definitely gave me a lot to think about, touched and empowered me all at the same time. The title just gets me, too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Visions of Yumminess

I've got my little list of Valentine's day crafts all ready to go: pom-pom garland, pretzel drop cookies, glittery-vintage trinket boxes, lollipop holder-valentines for Cubs school buddies, origami candy boxes for handmade caramels...
And then I see these yummy looking felt cookies made by Candy! The fact that they have caught the eye of more than one crafty-blogger over the weekend is not surprising at all. They are just too adorable to not attempt (a half dozen)for our household. I've already cut the cookie "dough" to be sewn and stuffed tomorrow. The beads are a really nice touch, too. I hope mine come out as lovely as these beauties.
And while I was obsessing over all the felty treats at Sewn Sweets(check out those m&m fave!) I found the perfect Valentine's Day gift for Cub. My girl loves her doughnuts...even more than chocolate pudding, and that's saying a lot right there. Her favorite doughnut just happens to be vanilla frosted with sprinkles, too. She's going to do back-flips when she sees these. I can't wait to give them to her. Best of all, no cavities and they'll last a lot longer than the real thing.
We have had a crazy-busy weekend, but I'm going to slow-down and show-and-tell tomorrow. I've made some cute brooches out of playing cards and a wee necklace I'd like to share, too.
I Love Felt Sweets.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happiness is...(Part II)

Unique, affordable, fashion.
1. I think these colorful yarn bracelets made by easternsky are the perfect complement for wintery sweaters.

2. Finding and falling in love with the aesthetic of Kim White late last night, when I really should have been sleeping. I have a hard time with handbags in general, but I'm loving her originalilty and designs. Get this...she uses vintage automotive fabrics. Cool.

3. Thanks to the beautiful Katie, I am on my way to stitching-up my very own pair of shoes!!!!! Simple. And very exciting. So elf-like and cute, too.
Off to a day that started out way too early for me...a day filled with two birthday parties, last minute shopping for two birthday gifts, and hopefully lots of coffee and fun!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dreaming of Warmer Days

I have been slowly making my way throught the Top 100 Tutorials of 2008 over at The Long Thread. Oh, how I love just slowly taking in all of these great projects! I think I bookmarked half of 'em already. Then I just dream, dream, dream, of all the goodies I will make someday. Ah...
Funny, how in 7 degree weather, all I can think about is making my girl Cub a pillow case dress using this very do-able tutorial by the multi-talented Maya Made.( Above Photo courtesy of Maya Made...Thank you.)
If I'm going to make the above dress, then I need just the right vintage pillow case. I'll most likely go over to Sally's Boutique or another thrift shop to find a bargain, but when I need to look NOW, what better place than ebay for instant gratification? And I'm only dreaming at this point!
Whenever I'm on ebay, I can't help but type in "vintage retro percale," because vintage percales are the cat's pajamas to me!!! They are a BIG (ebay) weakness of mine, so I try not to indulge myself too, too much. But just look at these pretties!!!!!
(All photos from ebay, of course...)
This one below is called, "Blue Roses." I love it soooo much. I remember many of these patterns from childhood. Also, we just finished reading The Glass Menagerie in class, and I've been brewing a Glass Menagerie-themed craft project for a while, too.
I flipped for this one when I saw it because I have a thing for Pennsylvania Dutch, as well. I've never seen percales with this design before and I WANT THIS!!! Wahhhhhhh! But shipping is $9.00. Sorry, can't justify that one! But it would be so perfect for Cub's bed...Hmmmmm.

I fell in love with this one, too. It would make the cutest little pillowcase dress, especially with that adorable little ruffle. But after the gazing at all of this percale eye-candy...I think I just want one of those simple, white, vintagey, numbers that will just flow gently on a warm summer's day.

So, I'll just have to be on the lookout....
for the next five months or so!
Hope everyone is staying cozy and warm tonight!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Here's Mine...

I'm feeling very proud of myself right now. I actually completed my handmade "snail mail" valentine for ff's crafty benefit! I'm always into participating in events such as this one, but somehow I either space it entirely or freeze-up at the last minute. I started out with a couple of ideas. One even involved vintage Archie comics and hot pink boa trim...But once I saw these flocked babies from Friendly Forest, it all fell into place...Add one doilie and rick-rack and voila!
After this photo was taken in my dark kitchen, I added the slightest dusting of glitter. I must say, I am happy with this. The biggest challenge was deciding which color card I should use. It was a tough call between the chocolate brown or the carnation pink...But there are more stickers, doilies, and cards to be decorated for my loves. I didn't want to stamp or use my printer, so I let some ribbon do the talking.

I kept the envelope simple. I just trimmed the edge of the (flap of the) envelope with the red rick-rack. This was extra fun to make. It feels good to know that I am part of a greater good. The money from card sales is going to Elder Craftsmen, a NYC-based organization that brings craft workshops to senior citizens. How cool is that? I had no idea an organization like this even existed until recently. This just touches my heart to its depths. I am now considering volunteering at this organization one day a week during my summer vacation. I've been thinking about volunteer work for a while and how important it is to me. What a blessing to be able to share one's time, heart, and creativity with others!

Next, I thinking about entering this one, just for fun. There's no way I'd ever win any of those prizes. I know how many super talented seamsters there are out there, and I'm just getting back in my game and all...But it's all about playing, right?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


My girl finally got the chance to make those snow angels she has wanted to make since last winter! On Sunday morning, just as we were settling into breakfast, we heard our neighbors and good buddies F and A outside helping their papi shovel the driveway...We dropped everything, threw our jeans over our pj's and joined in the fun. It was a great way to start our day. Later, we joined some other pals for lunch and a movie. The theatre that was playing Tale of Despereaux didn't have any heat, so we saw Bolt in 3D, instead. It was cute, but pretty long (I got to take a nap, yay!), and to my surprise, I cried twice. Of course, I thought the female lead looked like my sweet girl, even though she was an animated character!

Last night, Cub announced that we were having Smores for dessert. We topped grahams with mini-marshies and chips and warmed them up in the toaster oven. The best part was mushing the two pieces together with all the melties inside!
The smores inspired me to finally make the Velvet Five Minute Fudge I've been thinking about making for the past few days. I happily ran into a case of this wonderful brand of evaporated milk in a dollar store of all places! It may sound strange, but I've always been "enthusiastic" about evaporated and condensed milk...I store a lot of my craft supplies in the cans that I save. They are (usually) sweet and pretty. They kinda remind me of another time and place...probably my childhood. Recipe soon to come. After all that chocolate, I was ready for some mindless craft...I grabbed two little perler bead kits that I bought over the holidays for $1.00 at Michael's...but to my surprise, Cub's daddy reeeeally got into them...and that was just fine with me. I dipped into a button stash box and made some button bookmarks. Fun. Easy. Useful. That's what I'm about these days.
And I finally cut out the pattern and fabric pieces for The Black Apple dollie. I'll share my progress shortly.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Zee French Znowman Zays Bonsoir!

Isn't he cute? When Cub brought home this snowman from school, he was sans la bouche, so I made him a little one...Then, I just had to give him la moustache. I couldn't help myself. I do love facial hair in a big way! That brought out a good belly laugh from Cub's daddy (who sports a beard and moustache)...And that's how "Vrostey" the french snowman came to life on our window!
Okay, enough silliness. Today was a whopper of a day. Started early and seemed to go on forever. I feel like all I did was cook and clean dishes all day long...Probably, 'cause that's what I did! Bleck.
But we did get out to Target when most sane people (or those without kids) are still cozy in their beds. We made the trip just to get some board games that came reccomended by this amazing lady. Hopefully, Cub will get more into actually playing a game one of these days and not just playing with the pieces!
Then we finally returned two library books that had gone MIA a few months ago!
But look at the goodies I found on the sale cart! Happiness, to me, is the library book sale cart!
I love Maus and read half of this today while Cub played "pizza delivery man" with Daddy. The American history book will go to Cub's "Bah-bah." The other one, you know is mine.

I don't think more than two weeks can go by without me breaking out my crockpot...Lately, I've been more adventurous. For example, today I made these artichokes with white wine and lemon.
I think artichokes are in the top three of my "Top five favorite things to devour" list. I've loved them since I was a babe, my mom loved 'em, and today, Cub kept stealing leaves from mine and chewing on them, before spitting them into the garbage...She couldn't quite get the whole scraping thing. But I know she'll catch on. She's my daughter!
For some reason, I love this photo...distorted color and all.
I think there is some symbolism in here, too.
And what would a weekend be without making at least one barrette! I promise I'm moving on to those fabric headbands shortly. As soon as I get over my sewing machine trauma, that was unfinished holiday fabric napkins for Nana and rick-rack coasters for Aunt Mary!
However, I think this I like this style best of all.

I used one of those double bar metallic barrettes you buy at Duane Read or CVS. This one was my favorite, but it needed something and I was bored so....
I used some brown crossgrain ribbon I had on hand and glued it to the barrette with hot glue.
After it dried a bit, I grabbed whatever buttons I had laying around on the kitchen table and stuck 'em on with hot glue, too! (These are pink and white.) They look like little candies.

Yes, I'm still very attached to my new arm warmers.
Tonight, after my lovely friend and I had to cancel our craft date over here because of
the weather, I ended-up baking anyway. The reason being, there are no goodies in this house!
The box of chocolates is long gone. I have to say, we are spoiled from my holiday baking, candy-making craze. Even Daddy asked the other day, "So, do you have any homemade treats anywhere?" I guess I can't be too mad at that. He gets to eat the benefits when he's here to see Cub, so I can't blame him.
When I'm tired and too lazy to go completely homemade I always go to the Cake Mix Doctor for an idea. Brilliant. Easy. Yummy.
Tonight, I went with this recipe. They are delicious!!! I'm just waiting for some chai tea to finish brewing, then I'm off to the couch for reading and maybe some crafting in front of a good movie.

Hope everyone is having a restful weekend. Tomorrow, we are off to see this film with some of our favorite friends. It looks so cute, don't you think?
I'm excited.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sometimes I forget...

"Cheshire Cat" Colored pencil drawing by Skyestasia
I'm all over the place tonight. While driving to pick-up Cub this evening I noticed that the moon looked almost full. So, I'll blame it on the moon! I wanted to share something I made for dinner, a Morroccan spice blend. It was nirvana on my tongue...Just like the above drawing was nirvana to my eyes when I first spotted it this evening. I found it while searching for an image to accompany the spice blend recipe. Funny how things work sometimes. I was searching for an image of Cheshire cat from Alice and this is what I came up with. I tried to find out more about this artist, but there is not much on the website. I love the drawing. I love the colors, the mosaic-like quality, the whole feel of it. I love the fact that it was made with colored pencil, such a modest medium.
And I don't know why, but it reminds me of....Me.
The me I used to be before I was anyone, really.
Just plain old me.
And it makes me happy because in the middle of my hectic life...In the middle of being a mommy and a teacher and many things in between...I sometimes forget.
Morroccan Spice Blend - Inspiration from here.
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
pinch of cloves
Just mix all together in a bowl or small jar. I sprinkled it on before roasting red peppers and chickpeas. Then I served the dish over couscous with a dallop of plain yogurt on the side.
This would be a nice addition to any vegetable dish, especially squash.
I'm going to try it on roasted chicken and lamb, too.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On Tattooed Soap, Tantrums, and Stuff.

Last year, I ordered an over-abundance of vintage-style waterslide decals. They are so much fun to use. I ended up putting many of them on the soap I was making at the time. I even sold a couple on my pretty-much-now-defunct-etsy site (RIP).
I came across the tattoo soap idea here, while I was flitting through the blogosphere, searching for inspiration...I fell in love with the idea a whole lot more this way. Maybe it's the pirate thing...or the tattoo thing...Either way, I had to compulsively try to recreate the cuteness.
Just so happens that last night, while browsing around in my favorite (undershopped) dollar store, I found packages of the coolest temporary tattoos!
Unfortunately, they don't stick to the soap so well. I don't know if this is the case for all temp tattoos, or if it was this batch...or if it's the soap...Couldn't be me, right??? But I lost patience after a while. I get really "cranky" when my crafty projects go awry! So, I unearthed some cherub stickers from last year and slapped 'em on two of the cakes of soap. Looks pretty.
I positioned the tattoo soaps towards the back, but you can see the potential, right? I got to throw some of my magic fairy soap glitter into one batch, too. I scented some of the soap with (one of my all-time favorite scents) Rose Bud fragrance oil from Brambleberry, a favorite supplier. If you stop over there, I want to make both of those soaps on their front page...especially the honey bee bars!!! Yes, I think I'm going back to soapmaking in 2009! For the other batch, I added tumeric for color, and pure jasmine essential oil. Both smell heavenly. I packaged them up in cello bags and rick-rack. Gifties for V-day, I suppose...along with the homemade marshmallows I plan to make and the flourless chocolate cupcakes I WILL bake...Now, if only I had a valentine, I'd be all set!
Speaking of dollar store the same store last night, I found a pair of arm warmers! Yay! I've had arm-warmer envy all winter. Lots of hip crafty girls who knit made beauties and I wanted them sooooo badly...But somehow couldn't justify the $40-ish price tags over on etsy...Sockdreams was very reasonable, but always sold out. So, now I have my own, Pippy Longstocking version. You can't tell by my awful photo, but they are pink, navy, and black striped with some sweet wooden buttons up top. I'm usually not that badly matched, but I threw them on when we came home tonight and the house was freezing!
And Kristin, this one's for you...Remember the idea about taking photos of our children mid-tantrum? Well, guess who knocked the camera out of my hand right after I snapped this one? Hee, hee!

She really didn't want to go to bed.
Can you tell?
And a great big....T. G. I. F!!!!
Going back this week was rough.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Making Something

Remember that box of Godiva I received over the holidays?
One of the two layers is history already. I love the foil box. In the past, I've saved them to store photos and such. They are actually pretty sturdy and well, just plain pretty.
This time around, I came up with another idea:

Jewelry storage! After the second layer is finished, I'll use the whole box to keep those random pieces from floating around the bottom of my dresser drawer. I like this.

I'm pretty much good for only three days of sleep deprivation. Tonight, I'm tired and cranky. I made quiche for dinner and it feels like I ate nothing. So I'm enjoying my old standby...instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal with (added) chopped walnuts. I'm a bit happier now. Cub didn't eat much, either. The house is ugly messy and I don't see that changing any time soon. I have nothing to make Cub for lunch, either. Did I mention I'm tired and cranky?

After work, I made some tattoo soaps. I guess they're in anticipation of Valentine's Day?
Nah. I just needed to make something.
Now, I'm heading off to the couch. Lights out. To finish watching a movie I forgot I loved so much.
Ghost World.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Make Something Monday

Does dinner count?
Well, it's going to have to today. The way I feel right now, I don't know if I'll ever make anything else until the end of the month (during Regents week)! Let's just say, it was a looooong day. I still have to put Cub to sleep, pay bills, write thank-you cards, lesson plan, and read the next four chapters of Genesis! And I wanted to be asleep by 11! Never gonna happen.
This winter, we have been all about soups and beef stew. As many times as I've tried to be vegetarian, and God knows, I have tried...over and over...I guess I'm just a plain 'old carnivore! Boo to me! I love simmering my stews in red wine. Tonight, I finally got to try a recipe I first saw in a Jamie Oliver cookbook Julie gave me years ago...His recipe was a baked Guinness beef pot pie. Mine is the simple stew version.

Mama's Guinness Beef Stew:
1 lb beef stew meat
1 bottle Guinness stout
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
carrots and potatoes, optional
salt and pepper
Canola, Olive, Safflower, or whatever kind of oil you have on hand.
1. Put a couple of tablespoons of flour in a plastic bag with a dash of salt, pepper, and cumin.
2.Place all the meat inside the bag and shake, shake, coat all pieces.
3. Slice the onion into rings and saute along with the garlic (crushed or sliced) in a few tablespoons veg. oil until carmelized.
4. In a 2 quart dutch oven (or soup-style pot) brown the meat in some veg. oil.
5. When browned on both sides add the onions and garlic, giving a few turns to combine.
6. Now the fun part...Add your bottle of Guinness. Don't forget to take a few sips, "to make sure it's not poison," as Cub's Nana would say!
7. Make sure to scrape those brown bits from the bottom of the pot...They are vital for a rich flavor and texture.
8. Bring it up to a boil, then lower the flame to a simmer. Cover. Check periodically and stir, from the bottom, making sure the bottom of your pot (and its ingredients) don't burn.
9. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until tender.
10. At this point, I add quartered red-skin potatoes and uncut baby carrots.
11. When the veggies are tender...It's done!
This stew is hearty and delicious. The malt flavor of the Guinness is strong, too. Sounds strange, but I like to add a big lump of butter on top and mix it all up before eating. We tend to eat this with those biscuits that are packaged in what looks like a foil-covered toilet paper tube. You know the ones! So much fun to open after a long day at work! Ha, ha...
I'll close with what I think has been the biggest bargain I've found in a long time...
I bought this t-shirt at Target yesterday for $1.50! Yup. I had to do a double and triple take, because this doesn't really seem like the kind of t-shirt you'd find at the red bulls-eye (for various reasons that will go unexplained), but it it's true. It's not very "me," but I'll find a way to make it work.

Happy Monday, All!