Monday, June 29, 2009

Latest Obsession: Crochet Cupcakes

Since I can't really indulge in live sweets right now, I've been fixated on crocheting these pretties!
I guess it's the next best thing...and low-carlorie, too.
I've been toying with this cute pattern from Bitter Sweet blog for the last few days. I'm learning to crochet in rounds which is new territory to me. I think I'll finally break down and buy one of those plastic stitch markers...or maybe a safety pin will suffice. As I was working around and around I thought, "These would make such pretty pincushions..." and so I let my fingers do the walking on my keyboard...

and of course, this lovely turned-up at one of my favorite go-to project sites!
But I don't know if I'm up for this just yet. It is bookmarked for future reference.
That cupcake top is so classic.
And then look what I found?

Miko actually combined both of the above patterns to make what I think is the
Ultimate Cupcake Pincusion!
I love the multi-colored sprinkle pins!

I think I've got enough to keep my hands busy the next few days...

Sunday Treats & Inspiration

My friend's beautiful daughter.
Taken after our "Stepping Up" celebration dinner.

I didn't take any photos yesterday...I just wanted to take it all in.

Highlights from a happy Sunday:

-Cub having good old fashioned summer fun with her neighbor friends. Playing "sprinkler" using the hose while the dads washed their cars. Everyone was soaked and laughing!

-A much needed nap on the couch while Mama chrocheted some new "tasty treats".

-We missed the Latin Jazz concert in the park...but that was okay because we had the best late afternoon picnic in my friend, A's beautiful backyard. It borders this amazing place.

-Afterwards, the party moved to the front yard with neighbors, lots of children, guinea pigs being brought outside, dress-up clothes everywhere and several fashion shows. There was wine and beer for the grown-ups! Ice cream and some very special cookies.

UNEXPECTED INSPIRATION-Before meeting Pat, I was in awe of her and her story. A's hubby told me that out of everyone in the neighborhood, she has the most lush garden filled with every kind of produce imagineable. As if that weren't enviable enough, he revealed that she gave up her career as a successful architect and started her own cookie baking business from home. I LOVE this type of story and have always seen something like this for myself. A home-spun business is one of my dreams for the future.

When Pat joined the get together, I was lucky enough to be able to talk to her at length about how she started her business. Funny, how our young children propel us into unexpected creative directions! I asked her so many questions, but she was patient and honest. I mean, I was just fascinated with her! She is an incredibly smart and resourceful woman. Not to mention generous. Her cookies are absolutely delicious and HEALTHY, too. Pure genius.

Stories like Pat's prove if you want it to happen, it can and will be done!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Comfort & Connection

When I started this mini-project, I had every intention of making a cute little purse for Cub.
Then I remembered that she really needed a blanket for her dolls. After finding many of them sleeping under paper towels I finally took the hint!
This was fast and easy and everybody loves it...especially Rosebud.
It's amazing how over the past few days I connected with two women at work who are really skilled at crochet. They saw me working on this or that and immediately wanted to chat and share. Funny how the love of a mutual craft can bond people instantly. I love how that happens. Both women actually sat down and taught me some very valuable tricks of the trade.
And more than that, there was something that just transcended time (the last dragging days of work) and place...and there really was a bit of magic in those minutes...Women teaching women..the passing down of skill and wisdom...a common bond...a pure connection between virtual strangers.
Boy, I sure could use more of these types of connections in my life.
Pure and meaningful.


Yesterday, I bought my first crochet craft book. Yes, I'm on a role here. I'm having a ball , too. So, why stop now? I think it's time to take it to the next level.
That's where the book comes in. I'm thinking doll clothes and kitschy-style projects will start the summer off nicely.

Oh, Summer. So glad you are officially here. I can finally relax and become Me again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


"I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and make a change."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cozy Crochet

Time to share some recently finished projects!
This clutch/checkbook holder/purse catch-all was fun and easy to make.
Stay tuned for a tutorial I've been working on later this week.
I made a couple, including an eyeglass case. But I like this one the best.
That red button is a favorite from my red collection.
Shhhh...don't tell anyone I cheated and later used velcro for the closure.

A lazy start to the week allowed me lots of time to crochet...everywhere!
I finished up my first blanket. Here it is in action. Cub loves it, imperfections and all. I learned so much by just diving in after deciding it was time for me to make a blanket. These two colors together make us very happy. For me, playing with color-combos is one of the best parts of crochet.

There are more projects on deck for the future.
I think its safe to say I'll be trailing yarn behind me all summer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Look What I Made

Just had to stop in and share my very first baby bootie EVER!!!!
I know you will understand.
Seems I have been bitten with a bug that has me aching all over and feeling icky.
Cub's grandparents have taken her to a family dinner. I'm laying on the couch listening to the rain, watching The Music Man, and crocheting a whole bunch.
I'm going to keep practicing, which means Cub's dolls will all have a pair soon.
The first really good set is going to a co-worker who is expecting a baby boy in September.
Ahhhh, babies.

Homemade Father's Day

It's not as easy to whip-up something handmade for the men in our lives as it is for the ladies. Presently, I find myself short on time and motivation for anything that would take a lot of time and patience.
But after some thought and research through my idea folders, I came up with some groovy gifts. Quick and Easy and (mostly) Edible.
In the non-edible category- Handmade Shampoo. I'm going to let Cub decorate the labels. Simple recipe: 1/4 c. Castille Soap, 1/4 c. distilled water, drop of olive oil, and 15 drops of any essential oil or combo of oils. I used tea tree and rosemary.
...For Cub's Baba and Great-Grandpa O.
Can you guess this next gift???

Yup! "Caramel" Corn drizzled with chocolate. I told you I'm short on time and patience, so I'm cheating a bit here. I'll make the popcorn on the stovetop, then spread it out on a cookie sheet. Next, I'll drizzle the melted butterscotch chips over it. Then I'll top it all off with a drizzle of the chocolate. Pop it in the refrigerator to cool. Done. We're going to package it in large cello bags with lots of ribbon.

And if I have time...'cause I really want to do this...There will be
Homemade Soda!!!

Happy Weekend, All!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Catching Up

Hello again! My computer was fixed and ready to come home on Monday. I have to say, I didn't miss him as much as I thought I would. At all. (I finally decided he should come home last night.)
I found I was much more productive without this machine lurking in the corner of my living room and eating up (sometimes) hours of my time, which is way TOO much!
So, after this recent period sans desktop, I had the chance to reevaluate and readjust how I spend my free time. What a great learning experience. As a result, I think I'll be much happier and a lot more creative, which is always a good thing. I did however, miss writing and sharing and I especially missed communicating with everyone.
Here is a little bit of what's been making me happy lately:
Crafting a special accordion-style photo album from a frozen pizza box...

...made for Cub's Nana's birthday. This was so much fun to put together.
I was so happy she loved it!Some more handmade gifts for Nana.
A crochet dishcloth and scrubbie cloth...made all in one night.
Yup, I'm gettin' better and faster!

A new photography series examing the relationship between interiors and exteriors in office buildings...primarily the role of nature inside of office buildings.
I've been in so many lately, I couldn't help but notice the interesting relationship here. I've taken my camera on most of my visits and I'm slowly putting this together.
I'll have a lot more time for this in about a week when our summer vacation officially begins!!!

Thrifting Fun- I promise I won't post any photos of my undies around here, but I did find several cute vintage patterns for things like this...and men's ties...and baby pants suits.
Can't help but want to try my hand at these in the upcoming weeks. One of my goals for summer (I feel a list coming soon!) is to start sewing cute clothes for the both of us.

We don't really need any more vintage artwork, but how could I resist these two?
They came with another ballerina lovely. So pretty and for some reason they look oddly familiar.

And the highlight of my week....My little girl graduated from Pre-K!
More on this later...Now, it's time to get ready for work.
One more week!!!!
Yes, I still count down. We're just like our students.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just Another Reason Why...

This morning as we were making our way down the driveway toward our car...
Mama: Oh, no...Look, Honey- rain again!
Cub: (Singing to the tune) "You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy
when skies are grey..."
Just thought I'd stop in to bring this little bit of sunshine to everyone today.
My computer caught a nasty virus last week. As I was attempting to download photos last night, it completely pooped out on me. Today, I'll be dropping him off at the doctor. They say they'll need a few days to put humpty back together again.
Sadly, I won't be around until he's all better.
I have to admit, the past few nights I've had a lot more time on my hands...Back to reading the compelling and creepy House Rules...and I've even made significant headway on my very first baby blanket! Can't wait to share.
Have a wonderful upcoming few days, Everyone.
I hope to be back soon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Strawberry Fields Forever

Had to snap this one. Early this evening, I threw on my new apron to cook up some homemade chicken soup, pierogies, potato pancakes, and organic turkey dogs...a real smorgasbord- our usual for Monday night chow.
I realized that Cub, who had been playing dress-up since returning home from school, found the bag of "new" play clothes I scored down the block for a dollar a bag. How I love that little strawberry dress with the red and white gingham!
She looks like my very own life-sized doll in it.
Mama plus Cub = Strawberry Girls

Sunday, June 7, 2009

All The Pretty Flowers

These are the flowers Grandma gave Cub to take home this evening. They were snipped from her beautiful birthday flowers. My grandmother, a flower aficionado, has always given her a little bud, blossom or flower to take home with her. I love that. It means a whole lot to Cub, too.

I love this oversized "Ragtime (the film) meets Aloha" style headband. We bought it the other night while we were in the city. My girl fell in love with it. Seriously, we can't enter this store without each leaving with something outrageously lovely. After studying it for a while on the ferry home, I think I'm ready to make some real soon. Love flowers and feathers.

Here is one section of the enormous birthday bouquet we brought over to Grandma's today. She really loved it, which made both of us happy. She even put them all in a beautiful crystal vase and placed them in the middle of her dressing table.
We made some really large white ones when we arrived at the house...and she loved them, too. Ya know, tissue paper flowers just make people happy.

I have about a week to finish all the little ones for Cub's classmates.
Their "stepping up" celebration is on June 17th.
I've already shed a few tears about saying goodbye...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Things Are Looking Up!

1. Unexpected early am visit from Daddy today. Lots of cuddles for Cub.
2. The beautiful Elizabeth arrives at 10am for her once every three week visit to make the house beautiful. (Too bad I can't afford more.)
3. Shopping for the perfect birthday gifts for my dearest grandmother who turned 94 yesterday. (God bless her!) ...A Chaus sweater in one of her best Plus saltwater taffy and other candy faves.
4. A new pair of stylin' sandals for Cub and the coolest, kitschiest, apron for me. Yellow with red strawberries, pink rick-rack trim...Pure deliciousness and totally unexpected.
Can't forget the Laura Ashley nightie, either. Sweet summer dreams...
5. Movie date with our pal Diane to see Up. Since I'm not great with movie reviews, I'll keep it short and simple. We loved it. It was one of the sweetest films I've seen in a long time.
In my opinion, the first 15 minutes are pure heart magic. I cried and so did the little girls. What a great reminder to never forget the spirit of adventure.
6. One heckuva bbq in Mary's adorable backyard. It's like a wonderland back there; complete with veggie, flower, and herb gardens, swing set and slide, little shed dubbed, "Margharitaville," but the kids have claimed it as their own mini playhouse. And best of all, the tallest, most amazing maple tree I've ever seen that forms a canopy above 3/4 of the yard and makes it so cozy and comfortable on warm nights. We could stay back there all summer and we often do!
7. Best of all, I was able to eat Mary's amazing macaroni salad (yup!) and even had half a glass of sangria as only she can make it...and boy, was it good!
I think between the hypoallergenic probiotics and the epsom/hydrogen peroxide/baking soda detox soaks I've been doing, I'm slowly getting back on track. Last night I did some yoga and tomorrow I'm planing on pilates before a visit to Grandma's. Lots of reading, praying, and studying have also helped immensely. Thank you, heavenly Spirit for the blessings of joy and renewal you bestow upon me each day!
Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sugar Scrub

As you can see, I'm having a lot of fun making collages for the new book.
I leave the box of paper images in the middle of my table and usually right before bed, I'll put one together. Yesterday, I taped a poem that I wrote in the morning into the book instead.
It's my creative "catch all" and its been quite therapeutic.
I thought this image would compliment my new favorite facial scrub recipe, which is totally easy.
Simple Sugar Scrub
1 teaspoon sugar
small drop glycerine (my skin is oily), otherwise use a drop of olive oil
Mix in the palm of your hand and use after you wash your face. I add a squirt of my cleanser (cetaphil liquid), too and then wash.
Sugar is an excellent and economical exfoliant!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Lifestyle, New Stuff

Here is one of Cub's new washcloths. I have made a bunch for the two of us. They are so relaxing to make. I love just sitting on my couch, turning on the tunes or a movie and letting my fingers do all the work. I barely notice anymore. I love seeing the progress, too. This is as easy as could be...half double crochet stitch as long and wide as you please. That's it.
Cub's nana is having a birthday next week and I'm still waiting for the organic cotton yarn to arrive. I've been really good about sticking to the Handmade Pledge. I sure hope it gets here soon!
On the beauty front, I've been loving my mineral make-up for a couple of years now and have gone through a few brands. After doing my homework and lots more research on what is really in some of the best of 'em...(Just because they are mineral based does not mean they are pure!)
I sent away for the $5.00 sample pack from Fairie Organic and I am sooooo happy I did. Seriously, there are like four ingredients in them! And boy, do they make your skin glow and look pretty.
Safe, non-toxic beauty is where its at.

Monday, June 1, 2009

V is for Visual

Once upon a time, in a life far, far, from this one...I was going to be a photographer.
I've had a camera since I was six and my grandmother bought me my first Mickey Mouse camera. After that, it was a camera every couple of years. I fell in love with polaroids, of course. Who didn't in the 70's? In college I lived vicarously through an artist lover who at the time, was also getting into photography. He inspired me to take photography more seriously. That summer, in my grandparents closet, I found an unused Brownie camera (never been opened) in its box. In that same closet I found a vintage Fujica, also never been used. Beautiful camera. I fell in love with it and started experimenting with what has come to be my typical use for the of shape and color. Sadly, one of my employers dropped that camera and broke it...But there have been a few more beauties...I still love my toy Holga camera, which I really need to dig out of the boxes in my closet.
(I realize the backstory to this post is quite long...Therefore, to be continued, because it needs to be.) Anyway, I've had a homecoming of sorts...My visual self is back, even though she frightens me a she gets super carried away by images and colors and wanting to devour film.
She runs way too fast for me, camera in hand, ideas sparking spontaneously through her lens...wanting to greedily devour everything and everyone she fancies!
Young, wild, and carefree girl...I've missed you!
Welcome home.
In attempt to tame this wild child, I've started a modest little book of whatever...ideas, colors, things I like. It's really just a collection of images, thought, and random bits.
I guess you could call it a diary, kinda. I have collected so many images that I love, I figured why not put them all in one meaningful place. It's very meditative, soothing, and is really helping me focus. I love gluing paper into this classically simple notebook. I do have plans to embellish it some, though.

Cub on the left and some forky inspiration on right. I've been saving those forks forever and I will do something with them...I'm thinking pen and ink sketches.
Thinking of two men in particular who hide in my dreams. Why?

Sorry for the white out of this photo. It does take away from the page.
Still love this font and photo.

Keeping myself inspired more and more...Feeling a bit stronger and more like myself each day.