Saturday, January 31, 2009

Life Is (Almost) Good

Oy! What a week! And i don't say that in a nice way. I've been sick since last Friday, so not a whole heck of a lot has gotten accomplished. This morning, i feel like the antibiotics are finally kicking in, however i am taking it easy.

Woke up to an unusually wonderful Western WA *sunny* winter day--frost on the grass, but the sunshine so warm and not a cloud in the sky. Decided to get bundled up and head out to the yard with The Ladies who were only too pleased to be out of their run, scouring the grass and veggie plot for any bugs, slug eggs, and paint chips (ugh!).
We have some awesome chickens! Unfortunately, we had to give up our roosters and we lost a hen to the cold, but the 3 we have left are delightful creatures! They just love going outside the coop/run but since we had the house repainted, the grass near the house and the coop is not really where we want them to be. We like our eggs to be unleaded, thanks! ;o) So they've figured out that i will not harrass them about eating paint chips if they just follow me.
They come chicken running (which is about the cutest thing i've ever seen in my life!) and flapping as hard as they can to follow me out to our front yard. This morning was devine--we must have been out there for at least an hour--just sitting in the yard, seeing the buds on the berries and the trees starting to swell, my Lenten rose is emerging from it's long 6 month nap, and listening to the chickens "boop booping, huh huh-ing" around the beds, finding the new grass and dandelion chutes. Wild birds flying back and forth across the yard to our new bird feeder (yesterday i saw a Flicker the size of a young turkey on that thing!)
The chicas would forage until their little brains figured it would be time to primp, and they come running over to me, looking for a little attention before they started ruffling feathers and putting them back in place. I love the way a chicken will just look at you like they are trying to figure out just what the heck kind of critter you are. :o)
Now if there was only a way to find out how to keep the airplanes from flying over top of the yard! This might be someplace i could call home for a while.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Paying It Forward

Oooh, i am so excited!! I love the ideas of those old "chain" letters that used to turn up every so often and you'd have to send a dishtowel or keychain or postcard or something small to someone the list that you had received.

Well, i stumbled upon this charming blog of a quilter in MO. (Okay i know i say they are all charming, but i love people who love creating!) She is participating in a Pay It Forward crafting game.
See details here on her blog:
The first 3 patrons commenting on her Pay It Forward blogpost receive a handmade item from her, SO AS LONG as they promise to Pay It Forward and create 3 projects for 3 people and so on and so on and so...
Well, i am one of her first 3 so you know what that means...

I am opening this up to YOU: the first 3 people who commit to sign on to this project by leaving a comment here, i shall send you something created by lil' ol' me. Could be a photograph or stationary or knitting or...??? Who knows! It will be something useful, i can guarantee that.
(Please remember to leave me a way to get in touch with you to deliver your doo dad.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


There aren't many things better than an old cookbook--except maybe two or three. ;o)

My friend, J, and i really know how to find the best places to get into trouble. And it's not that we are looking for trouble, necessarily, its just that we seem to stumble upon it.

Today was one of those days where we are reminded why we are such good friends (aka sisters of another mister): once we met up at 9 this morning, we had both had enough of reality and we were ready for some delusional time and therapy provided for us in the forms of a cup of coffee and lots of chit chat about our creative endeavours. While exchanging pleasentries and hugs, we were both secretly hoping to end up at one of the local yarn shops and the local quilt shop. Lo! and behold, she asked, "Would you mind going to the quilt shop?" To which i replied, "Punch it, Girl!" (she was driving.) :o)

Our first stop: one of the local coffee shops we always seem to snub in favor of eating at our favorite bakery. The coffee shop we stumbled on was one i used to frequent, but once the baristas did more texting than coffee making, i had to find a new place. Well, now it is owned by a cookbook enthusiast! Hooray! They had shelves of vintage cookbooks to dig through (some were even free!) and dig through we did. I found two beauties:

In all things cookbook, i trust J's opinions as her cookbook collection rivals that of the Library of Congresses in just the homemade meals faction of cookbooks. ;o) When she mentioned this was a good book, boy was i convinced she is the cookbook guru of our time. This book is the perfect pairing of quite fancy yet easy enough recipes and down home recipes for supplies that are used everyday in our home (and i'm not talking Blackberry Cordials here, but if thing get much worse around here, maybe that might prove a helpful item of everyday use.) wink, wink

Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty c 1986 Book has been revised in recent years

I mean, could you resist such a cute chapter referring to homemade, canned jams as "Little Put-Up Jobs"? That makes it sound so much more normal and everyday than say "Mes Confitures" which sound very labor intensive. (No offense, C. Ferber!)

Homemade vanilla! Hot dog!

This page on homemade spinach noodles will come in handy with my new pasta maker from my parents.

Could this be a hint of what's to come for next Christmas' gift recipients?

I had to included this because i just love the name. Wonder what inspired it? Was it the fact that it's practically the only recipe for relish in the book that doesn't use a hot pepper of some kind? Or maybe it is in honour of J. Wellington Whimpy in the old Popeye cartoon--remember him? Or maybe i just love the recipe because they refer to a hamburger as a "hamburger sandwich"

Then i spotted this beauty:

Cooking Menus Service by Ida Bailey Allen (of Ladies Home Journal fame)
c. 1924, 1935
Everything about this book is charming from the sketches of how the dinner table is set to the arranging of a kitchen to poetry about the virtues of good housekeeping to the recipes for living during the time of rationing. Who isn't doing a little of that these days on their own, eh?

With pages like this when i first opened the book, i knew i was a goner and this would soon be a book i'd paw through regularly. (Maybe not too much though, as i saw the same book for sale online through a vintage cookbook store in not as great shape as mine for almost $50!)

A true and proper table of contents i am a sucker for everytime! Even back then--2500 recipes??! Whoa! I guess us homemakers have always needed a little inspiration.
and any book that touts the "true value of a sandwich" is a good cookbook in my opinion. ;o)
(explaining the seemingly obvious...under Sandwich: "How to Use")
i love it!
...and a chapter on "feeding the sick"...and an index of "favourite radio recipes" that can be accessed and whipped out in a matter of minutes before it was time to listen to Amos n Andy. :o)

I don't know why i love them, but i've noticed i have a lot of cookbooks that i've recently purchased that explain things in way more detail than really needed. :o) The cupcake cookbook i purchased last month has a half page of a "definition" of the word "cupcake". Just because i am blessed with the gift of gab (thank you, Blarney Stone) must mean i like my cookbooks that way too, eh?

And this...this was too cute! If you read the first couple sentences of Mrs. Allens, you are transported into a completely serene and ideal kitchen. Then came the sentence about the canary in the kitchen and she had me rolling onto the floor. Wow! I guess my kitchen might never be beautiful, as the only kind of bird to grace it's space ever will be a roasted chicken and a likewise a turkey or two. :o)

Then in the back of the book, it has a few advertisements. This one was intriguing...

wondering where i might find a "laundress" these days?

All in all, i am mesmerised by the book's charm and historical importance. Some of the recipes and menus are appropriate too, so i think as well as a good laugh, it will also provide some new recipes to this family. I must have sat on the couch yesterday for a whole half hour reading through pages of it, letting it transport me to another time.
Then, as soon as i put the book down, i was transported back to reality with this face peering above me reminding me much of the hilarious "Simon's Cat" videos you'll find on YouTube. :o) Cats....

Boy, she doesn't look at all amused that her "laundress", moi, is distracted from petting her majesty by some old heap of a book. ;O)
P.s. to self: more cookbooks to consider--Visions of Sugarplums from Random House 1968 and Boston School of Cooking (1930's)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kids and their creativity

I love my kid. I am not just saying that because i am bias but because she is a miracle to watch grow up.

She drew this really cool picture for her friend's birthday present the other day.

The faces are of the 3 Musketeers as they are known at school: Savannah, Angelina, and my Cookie Monster. These three girls are thicker than the maple sugar candy my Great Grandfather used to make on his farm in Massachusetts. :o) I just love the attention to detail my girl of the friends has curly blonde hair, so it's curly in the picture as opposed to my C.m.'s straight blonde hair. The tiered cake is just over the top, and so are those eyelashes! I adore it!

And another thing i adore is the homemade wrapping paper her best friend made for her birthday present. He's an adorable little all american boy. And knowing that C.m. was having a farm themed party this year for her birthday, he designed his wrapping paper accordingly.

All this boils down to KIDS ARE COOL!

P.s. Note to self...some day i have to embroider the birthday picture C.m. made so we can add it to our collection of decorating supplies for birthdays. Maybe it would look cute on some homemade napkins or as a wall hanging?!

Happy "New Administration" Day!

ap photo from Seattle Times Online Edition 01/21/09

There is nothing to say that this picture can't.

But if you feel the need to make some noise, then might i suggest finding a cute little cookie monster (aka child or grandchild) and some craft supplies and making some of these:

We are going to rise again!
God Bless America!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Day In the Life...

I am sorry to be posting such negative things on my craft blog, but i am at the end of my straw with this place we live in. I think a lot of my frustration stems from the fact that we were almost out of here and into our dream home until someone with a lot more cash purchased it before we could get things in order here. Now there are really no other options in the housing market right now that we like, so it's time to be patient again.

Life is all timing, and i know there is a "reason" why we are where we are, but i have heard the alarm that this is no longer where we need to be and i am wondering when we are really going to be able to get out of this area where the "societial norms" are really starting to make it hard to raise my child with a shred of naivety.

This evening was one of those evenings that makes you so proud of your child and completely in love with your family....

we scheduled the weekend to be a family weekend, focusing on home projects and each other. We decided we would go to the K of C Spaghetti Feed at our church tonight and out for a little B&R afterwards (a tradition my hubbie is carrying on from his childhood with our child.) As were walking into the parish hall, Cookie Monster spots the first star of the night and starts belting out in the parking lot, "Star Light, Star Bright. First star i see tonight. I wish i may, i wish i spaghetti tonight!" :o) Completely precious! And after she was done with her meal, she quietly and contently coloured the flags of France and the USA and drew a beautiful picture of her family and dedicated the picture to her Mom and Dad. Sweetie!

Fast forward to B&R, we're eating ice cream and sharing each different flavour with each other and a cop car pulls up next to the shop. No big deal until the cop gets out of the patrol car with a woman who i hope was being used as "bait" for "Johns", or else this cop was going to be in a whole lot of trouble. Now Cookie monster is all about high heel shoes, so as she sees this woman walking through the door, she's staring at this woman and her shoes. And of course being a well trained officer, he draws more attention to him and his friend by giving my daughter the "hi little kid" wave. Thankfully, C.m. doesn't fall for that stuff...a stranger is a stranger to her. :o) But we get in the car and says, "Wow, that's very nice of that police officer to take his wife out for ice cream." Thankfully she still is young enough to say things like that now, but much more exposure to the "Ladies" cleaning up in the bathrooms of the grocery stores in our area and other incidences like this and she won't be naive much longer, eh?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


What a little DMC, muslin, and an hour can do for me:

Hurray! I embroidered my first creation (that didn't have Rick Springfield's name in it anyway-wink wink)!

Cookie Monster has a classmate's birthday to go to tomorrow. I have become really disenchanted with gift wrap--you spend all that money and time making the package look so nice and POOF! It's all in the trash in a quick nanosecond.

We decided to get this little girl a few gift certicates to a local ice cream shoppe since we don't know her that well. Save her parent's from returning something that she already has or doesn't like and saves space in their home by eliminating one more toy they will have to find storage for.

I decided the envelope wasn't as nice of a wrapping so i made a little bag (that will help store all the Hannah Montana or Polly Pocket stuff she'll be getting.)

The best part is that it kept my fingers busy so they wouldn't devour the rest of the delicacies i made yesterday for Dessert Nite:

Chocolate Hazelnut cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache frosting.

Man oh man! I think i need to make some more embroidered cupcakes and less edible ones, eh?

Crazy Times

Obviously, we in my family aren't parishoners of the Church of England, however while reading all the dismal reporting on Reuters today, i found this and i have to say am quite taken with it:

Quote: The Church of England published two new prayers, comforting people who lost their jobs and those still in work after a round of cuts. "Hear me as I cry out in confusion, help me to think clearly, and calm my soul," says the "Prayer on being made redundant." The "Prayer for those remaining in the workplace" focuses on guilt and increased workload: "In the midst of this uncertainty, help me to keep going: to work to the best of my ability, taking each day at a time."

Although, i have to say that i was more impressed by the kind acts of a priest in TN who reached into the benevolent fund at his parish and handed out $250 per child to some struggling families within his church.

Makes you wonder just when all this economical woe is going to climax. I feel so bad for the people all around us just hanging on for dear life. We've tried paring down our expenses so that we may be of help to friends and family in need if it comes to that, but it seems that this is going to be unlike anything history has ever seen.

Guess we'll just have to see where the road takes us and hang on to our faith for dear life!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Note to self

for a project later:

Large 12x14
Medium 10x10
Small 7x7
Herb 6x12

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's not sewing but....

I did get something crafty accomplished yesterday.

"Something Old and Something New"
The New Tacoma Narrows Bridge and "Sturdy Gertie"
Tacoma, Wa by: me July 2007

In an effort to see my craft table again, i started cleaning and organising the "stuff" on it. I found a scrapbooking project i started last year from when we walked the newly completed Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It was kind of a community building/informative walk the State, the Cities of Gig Harbor and Tacoma, and the construction workers put together. The new bridge was open for pedestrian traffic only and you could walk some or all of the length of it.

I remember hubbie and i were super impressed with our 4.5 y/o daughter because she walked over 1.5 times the length of the 1 mile bridge. Halfway through the return trip to the shuttle area, she was too pooped to boop, and we carried her. It was a gorgeous day though, and how often do you get to walk across such an awesome structure...especially being part of the US Hwy system!?!

So i was able to have everything there and ready to finish the project and C.m. helped me.

I totally loved C.m.'s idea of putting the flat bed truck on this page. At first i have envisioned making a roadway with all the truck stickers arranged together, but once she suggested we should put one on this page, that got us thinking we could put the tag on the back like a package being delievered. And then i thought we could draw a suspension bridge. Wow! It felt great to get the old creative juices flowing again!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Starting Small

This week's inspiration: Cookie Monster's Pillowcase Collection by who else but her Momma.

Feverishly longing to sew pillowcases was not truly on my "list of things to do someday", however once i found the kit for the Halloween case at my favorite local quilt shoppe, Country Carriage Quilts, i knew i'd be hooked. Their charm is undeniable, and they are insanely easy to sew (AKA "leaving one unskilled beginning sewing gal/seamstress-wanna be feeling completely victorious" type of project!)
Next was the St. Valentine's Day case. After the first case, the ideas were flowing like the raging rivers in Western WA after a November rainstorm! :o) I made the St. Val case for C.m. and filled it with a couple holiday books as a gift to her.

Then, who could resist the charm of the doggies and cats on the Happy Birthday case? Not me! To compound matters, i was bound and determined to sew not 1, but 6 of them for the friends my daughter would be inviting to her birthday party in '07. Our tradition is to give storybooks related to the party's theme as guest favors, and with that year's theme being the "Come in your Jammies" birthday party, a pillowcase seemed to fit along with the book. :o) This year, C.m. was very excited counting down the days until Momma would be able to put her birthday pillowcase on as November drew near.

Well...needless to say, i've been planning cases and collecting fabric for a year now and i need to get some of these projects done! Today i've gathered them up and that is the first step towards getting this project underway.
Here is a list of pillowcase projects i hope to finish over the next two weeks (giving myself plenty of time to get sidetracked with working in C.m.'s classroom or having another coffee date or two with my friends):

The St. Valentine's Day cases for hubbie and my bedroom.

The St. Valentine Penny Rug-esque candle mats i'd like to give to C.m.'s teachers &
the Robot/Marble case and the Paperdoll case for C.m.'s room for a little "Celebrate the Every Ordinary Days" surprise someday.

The Easter case for C.m.

The Cat cases for hubbie and me or our guest room.

Then i need to find an appropriate striped material for this Happy 4th case.

What do you think? Should i use red "star" fabric and blue/white stripes, or should i stick with tradition and use blue star fabric and red/white stripes?

And is all goes speedily, maybe i can finish the Thanksgiving cases too?

But why i'm in such a hurry with these is because i'd truely like to be working on this...

The plan is to make the jumper with this polar bear fabric and a complimentary snowflake fabric for the border before C.m. needs a new dress (or before she outgrows a size 6.) :o) One accessory still left to purchase is some large black rick rack for an embellishment around the hem.

Wish me luck! I'm gonna need it! :o)

Friday, January 9, 2009


And amongst the other discoveries of tonight, i've found that one of the contractor's crew had used this adorable chair of my daughters as a stepping stool thus leaving a partial boot mark. Raised in a barn comes to mind along with a few other not so family blog friendly sayings, however, what's done is done and now i must solve the problem. Only there's a second problem...nothing comes to mind when i wonder just how i am going to clean this!

The fabric seems quite as rough as burlap, but not certain that was really something people used back in the day for needlepointing bases. Wondering if something as natural as Bio-Kleen's Bac Out would do, or if it's lime extracts and enzymes would harm the fabric. Is Woolite a better option?
If you might have any suggestions, i would be grateful till the end of time!

Thanks so much!

No Work Was Actually Accomplished in the Posting of This Blog Entry

Best laid plans thwarted again! Tonight while digging through the piles that are building up downstairs, namely the laundry, i came across some of my embroidered girly goods. Since i am easily sidetracked (haven't i learned anything from the Flylady?), this meant that soon i was going through all my piles and boxes in the house looking for more linens and such to iron, wash, usw. Soon i had stumbled upon my awesome score of "mostly all things sweet and embroidered" miscellani for $5 at the local SA! (Items found in said bag i shall denote with a $5 next to them.)

What kind of creature, pray tell, could have brought this all down??


My adorable new-to-me pink pleated gingham apron with X-stitch-esque embroidery on it. When i found it the other day, it screamed "Buy me! I'm perfect for collecting chicken booty in," to me. "Nevermind that cool chicken wire basket you already use to collect eggs." Aprons! I wish they didn't speak English--it'd be so much easier to ignore them that way. :o)

Seriously though, who wouldn't get sidetracked by all these adorable things:

pillowcases! This one is a store bought case with hand embroidery by Dawn Stewart (i only know this as she signed the inside of the case with a permenant marker.) Wherever you may be Mrs. Stewart, i thank you for taking the time to make such a sweet and charming pillowcase! ($5)

a handmade pillowcase with crocheted embellishments and beautiful embroidery. ($5)

two bedroom linens with sweet lassies stitched on them (both in the $5 bag)

the Christmas table linens from our family in Germany

the linen napkins made in Ceska-Solvakia found in the $5 bag

the placemats that commerate our first family trip; i purchased these in SF's Chinatown. A napkin with the similar applique tucks in nicely to the flowers on the lower left side of the 'mat.

The hand-hemmed and embroidered napkins (with a matching tablecloth that is MIA--i feel another resolution coming on!) that i purchased at a thrift store for the first birthday celebration i gave my hubbie after we were married. He just loves sailboats!

my Halloween kitchen towel by Patience Brewster (my daughter tells me that she likes this best of all the Halloween dec's because she imagines that this is our cat's X-ray.) :o)

the handmade Rooster handtowel that commerated our exciting, allbeit brief, period of rooster husbandry. (R.I.P. my Bella Bruno--i know you made a family a loving table decoration for an evening.) :) Purchased at an art guild's fair over the Winter '08.

The guest towel i found the $5 bag. The appliqued and embroidered towel Nona's kindergarten teacher's mom made (i picked it up at her estate sale.)

The Christmas Towels: the one i made this year, l, and the one i found at an antique store.

my beloved handmade chicken placemats i purchased at a local craft fair

After all of this hunting and ironing of course led to me actually attempting to find unfinished projects in the bowels of my room, which has yet to be rearranged since the big window replacing project of '08 when everything that was being organised into piles got schmooshed up into one corner. Boy, do i need to make a resolution or what?!