Thursday, November 30, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Well, it's already Friday in many places in the world, and nearly so here...
Mom, puttin' on a top hat
Mom, puttin' on a top hat.

At least I'm about 95% sure it's my mom. She thinks it is, but she can't remember. My mom is 81 now, so that puts this photo in the 20's ya'll. My God. Pretty darned special, I say.

The incredible Andrea is the genious behind Photobooth Friday. I really hope Andrea one day puts her writing talent toward a published book on this passion of hers. It will be amazing.

There's also a photobooth group on Flickr, and a photobooth website that is in my links on the side of this blog. Please make use of my links--that's why they're here.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sting, Sweet Baby James, and a big ass tree

Geez, my third post in one day!
It was a great way to wind up the day. In fact, I may have to send KPBS a check for the privilege.

Did any of you guys see the special on tv tonight, "Music Cares man of the year: James Taylor"?
It's surprising that I have never learned to play music when I love it so.

I have eclectic musical preferences, but my favorite is probably folk music.
It's so jolly feel good. But in a genuine way.
Besides, I got to see Sting twice tonight. Once performing in a tribute to James, and again at the tree opening at the Rockefeller Center (which I vow to see live once in my life). And in between an incredible video about Ocean Beach that I plan to purchase a copy of right away.
I really don't watch as much tv as it seems like I do....

Nothing quite as joyous as standing a couple of inches away from the tv, singing and dancing.
Ha! There. Now you know my secret.



Vintage Fortune Teller postcards
(vintage fortune teller postcards. One is marked 1912)

Change is difficult for me. I mean, really difficult.
That may be why I have allowed myself to be complacent, and have remained in a dead-end job.

For 23 years.

Holy crap. Actually, it has been more than dead-end. It has been border-line evil. Honestly, the stories I could tell...

So, to make a long story short, I have been kicked again...but hopefully for the last time. Some rather unethical actions have taken place at work against me lately--at the same time that one of my dog-sitting clients mentioned to me that her dog groomer needs a receptionist/grooming trainee.


It would be a paycut, but not a huge one, and I'd get to talk to dogs all day. Granted, the big dogs I love most aren't the ones who are usually groomed. But still.

It would be a huge difference for me, but perhaps an extremely good one. Actually, just finally having the balls to leave would be amazing. I haven't decided if I'm going to walk out on my job yet, though it's leaning in that direction. Actually, I really just wanted to keep my insurance benefits through the end of the year, but I've had to cancel some appointments anyway, so I guess the issue is moot. I have the union (I'm a Teamster) looking to resolve the situation, but my $46 per month dues don't go as far as they used to. The really shitty thing about this situation is that I have been made to look as if my performance was poor, but that is far from the truth.

Regardless, I want to thank Jen of The Felt Mouse for putting up with my long-winded, venting, profanity-filled emails.

And I want to thank Jessica of Finny Knits for posting in her blog about "a big red heart for my job" that made me think and think and think and think....

that I want a big red heart too.

And for the kind emails that followed. I appreciate the support more than I can express.

Now I am torn between the advice of friends that tell me to "no matter what, don't quit--that's what management wants you to do...that would be just stooping to their level"
advice from people like Finny, who quoted her dad stating an old Zen philosophy:

"Spring comes and the grass grows by itself."

Finny said she takes that to mean:

"Stop trying to force things to work that aren't meant to work - go where doors are opening instead of closing."



Chocolate Rocky Road Bark recipe

By request, here's the bark I just made for Thanksgiving. Bark is a super simple process, but the result is a festive treat that makes a great gift.
This one is from Family Circle Christmas edition, published in Fall 2005.

Makes 36 two-inch pieces. Prep time, 10 minutes. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.

1 1/2 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
(*note* I personally find bittersweet too muchy much. Just use your own favorite, good quality chocolate)

6 ounces mini marshmallows
1 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
(*note* I used lightly salted, because I like the mix of sweet and salty together)

1/4 lb. mini chocolate-covered graham crackers (about 13 cookies), cut into bite-sized pieces
(*note* Keebler are mini-size. I was really hoping to use the ones at Walmart that also have peanut butter in them, but they didn't have any more. I sure hope they're not discontinued. Those cookies rock)

Line a 15 x 11 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick aluminum foil, or line pan with regular foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt chocolate in large bowl set over saucepan of gently simmering water, stir chocolate until smooth. Remove bowl from over water and let cool slightly, about 3 minutes.

Stir the marshmallows, peanuts, and graham crackers into the melted chocolate. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared jelly-roll pan.

Place pan in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or until the bark is completel cooled.

Invert the bark onto a large cutting surface. Peel off the aluminum foil. Cut the bark into 36 two-inch pieces (or break into irregular-shaped pieces and sizes). Store the bark in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to two weeks.

(*note* add your own favorite goodies. I think dried cranberries would taste great with this combo)


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mini Aprons

Mini aprons

Funky ebay find.

These are unique party-favor type things. Miniature aprons, all 41 cut from vintage fabric with pinked edges and little hand-stitched pockets...
these must have been intended for a weight-watching group of ladies. I don't know what year, but they were housed in an old cardboard box that once held metallic foil Christmas cards...
along with this type-written note:

From the Circle
This neat little apron is sent to you,
And this is what we wish you to do;
The little pocket you plainly see,
For a special purpose is meant to be.

Now measure your waist line inch by inch,
And see that the measure does not pinch;
For each small inch that you measure round,
In the pocket put two pennies sound.

The game is fair you will admit,
You waist you money--we pocket it;
And the money the pockets so freely pay,
The Circle will use in the wisest way.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Photographic Memory


I have always loved photography. I am the one who always has a camera handy. I'm the one whose friends groan, "again?" with exasperated looks, then later always ask for copies.

I had a boyfriend once who said it wasn't necessary to photograph memories, that the situations and circumstances and encounters were simply recorded in one's mind.
That the experience was enough.
That option never seemed "right" for me.
Others have told me: those that place all their attention on taking the view, never stop to really see it.
I beg to differ. It is the photograph that enables me to better relive the moment, capture the details, and not forget.

I like pieces of paper in my hand. I love old-fashioned letters with beautiful penmanship, books versus online versions, and a Polaroid moment instead of a scrolling computer screen.

My mom's box of old photos calls out to me like a siren. Since my dad passed away, this collection of photographs has gathered on her bedroom floor...untouched. There are piles within a vintage striped suitcase, itself a prize.
Within the case are assorted old albums, most of the pages loose or tattered, but the albums themselves are interesting. One is embossed copper with a bird design, that one of my aunts made. Another is made of wood, with a hand-painted ship on the cover, and the paper pages scrawled in my dad or mom's hand in ink...listing dates or tidbits of information.

There is a gold-colored cardboard candy box filled with more photographs.
They are starting to fade.
Some of the faces are forgotten.
There are childhood photos mixed together with friends and family and over six decades of marriage.

A few are Polaroid. A few are housed in clear plastic sleeves--once flip-pages of an album that has fallen apart. Now the pages are scattered like a deck of cards, and speak individual tales.

These are time capsules.
These are life's moments. They are golden.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Vintage Bridge Tally Card

Vintage bridge tally card

I was just really was drawn to the lady seemingly swinging on a ring.
Probably 1920's. Ebay find.

Photobooth Friday, and Thanksgiving thanks

Gramps and the flask
My Gramps is on the right. I assume it's his writing in pencil on the top that says "an old Spanish custom". I have no clue what that meant, unless this photo was perhaps taken in Tijuana. My grandfather was a card. He was also a drinker. Boy the stories I could tell...
I don't know who the sailor is on the left. I assume this was around WWII.

My grandfather was my mom's stepdad, but more a father to her and a grandfather to me than was her biological father. He was a dentist in the Navy, and was on the USS Maryland when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was never quite the same after that, but he was a darling man. He used to have funky sayings that he would sing out on a whim: "shave and a haircut, two bits", "pickle in the middle and the mustard on top", and portions of a poem "he rowed her ashore, with a broken oar, and he sold her to Dan McGrew, for a husky dog and some hot eggnog--as rascals are wont to do".
When my mom and I would visit, he would walk us out to the car, beat on the fender, and yell, "tin can...".
He was somethin' else.

He also spent time in Alaska and in Hawaii--I have photographs of a virgin landscape in Hawaii, and dancing hula girls. It was unspoiled paradise. I have pieces of wood that he carved while out at sea...bookends and trinkets.

When my grandmother passed away unexpectedly, he sold his two houses in Coronado for a song, thinking he was saving the family future hassle. It was a huge error done under duress, as the properties in that area are now far in excess of a million dollars. God I miss his cute little house.

On another note, I just wanted to mention that Thanksgiving was lovely.
Vintage Thanksgiving card
My generous hostess offered vintage Thanksgiving cards at each place setting. More than decoration, these were gifts for her guests, along with ten pounds of leftovers (seriously--it was a grocery sack-size bag of homemade delicacies). Really really wonderful. Thanks Mel. Your mom and dad are precious. Her dad walked me out to my car. I mean really, how cute is that? Far too few men have manners like that anymore. My dad used to always stand when someone entered the room. I highly value those gestures.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pilgrim Pig
I am really excited about Thanksgiving this year.
I will driving up to my friend Melinda's house in Los Angeles, to celebrate with her and her family.

Her enthusiasm spilled over and infected me.

Thanksgiving is her favorite day of the year--she has been planning the meal for months now. She longs for Fall and this day...the crisp air, the coming together of good food, good feelings, good repartee. This is the first time in as long as I can remember when I even really celebrated the day. It feels like the turning of a new leaf, a new attitude, a new beginning. Actually, I feel a change coming, and it's going to be good. (how many times can I use good in this paragraph?)

I asked Mel if I could make an apple pie or onion rolls (best recipe ever in Victory Garden cookbook!), or bring wine or....

She said she had it all under control, but the sweet tooths might appreciate some candy.
Well, heaven forbid I rush out to See's, no, I wanted to add a traditional touch and make my own. So many choices...

I settled on Chocolate Covered Cherries. Normally I am not a fan, but I made these a few years ago for my brother who loves them, and they are really really good. They used to be linked on, but no longer, so here it is:

Chocolate Covered Liqueur Cherries
Preferably 2 months or more in advance:
Drain liquid from 1 16-oz jar plus 1 10-oz jar maraschino cherries with stems. Cover cherries with brandy, rum or as desired. Store in refrig for two months or longer. There is no "shelf-life", these last forever.
*note: I skipped this part. They're still delicious.

Drain about 50 cherries; pat cherries dry on absorbent paper towels and set aside. Reserve remaining cherries for other uses.

To make a fondant:
Combine, stirring well:
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in, and knead until smooth:
2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Shape 1/2 teaspoon fondant around each cherry. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet; chill about 2 hours or until firm.

Melt (in top of double boiler over simmering water):
1 12-oz package semisweet chocolate morsels or preferred chocolate and
1 Tablespoon shortening

Dip each cherry by the stem into chocolate. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until firm.
Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

*note: it takes about 2 weeks to liquefy the sugar mixture. In other words, these just get better with time. They taste much better chilled too. They would be pretty with another color chocolate drizzled over the top in a zig-zag pattern.

I also made Macadamia brittle (well, actually I burned that one),
and a rocky road bark that I will post about later. I ran out of time, or I would have tried mints.

First though, my own little tradition is to get up Thanksgiving morning and cook myself a killer breakfast, then settle in comfortably under a blanket (not necessary this year--it's a beautiful sunny day), and watch the Macy's Parade. I love the parade. It's so innocent, traditional, old-fashioned fun...and down-home-Americana.
Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ooh, pomegranates....

Pomegranate Christmas Ornament
Okay, so maybe I'm jumping the gun on the seasons, but I had to mention this luscious Christmas ornament I bought for myself today. A lovely splurge.
I buy myself a new ornament every year. Well, at LEAST one.
I fell in love with this sparkly fruit with it's red, glistening interior.
So wonderfully sensuous.
Purchased at Embellishments in Leucadia.

New posts to my thrift blog and to my book blog, so don't forget to pop on in over there too!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm all about the bread

This season is all about the cooking. It's a good time, in my opinion, to have a favorite cornbread recipe on hand--either as a side dish, or as part of your turkey stuffing.
I have tons of cornbread recipes, and my friend Jen is in South Carolina as I write this, hopefully remembering to bring me back some White Lily brand cornmeal (not available on the west coast) and then she's going to teach me her Southern way of making bread in a skillet.

For now, though, I actually prefer a simple recipe without too many additional ingredients like cheese, fresh corn kernels, or jalepenos. Just the standard yummy simplicity. I really like that this recipe has pepper in it. And it's super simple to make.

And this favorite recipe is, from all places, the site of the now defunct reality tv show, Wickedly Perfect. From contestant Mychael. She served this with a pork tenderloin.

Fresh Cornbread
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of cornmeal
¼ cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
½ teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper
1 egg-beaten
1 cup of milk
½ cup of melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place first six dry ingredients into a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk egg, milk and butter and add to dry ingredients and mix gently. Place into a greased 8X8 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

*Note: This cornbread is delicious with a hot bowl of hot chili or jambalaya. You can add diced jalapenos or sharp cheddar cheese to the recipe for variation. Serve with honey butter by combining 1 stick of unsalted room temperature butter with 3 tablespoons of honey.
Or this version with a compound butter.

I really want to try this amazing looking recipe, from Everyday Italian--cornbread salad .

Cornbread batter (even those little Jiffy boxes) makes yummy waffles too. Make in your waffle iron and then top with chili and cheese.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Work in Progress: Soldered House

I attended a class today at Stamping Details, to learn to make a three-dimensional house made up of collages under glass. We were given supplies to make a copy of the teacher's example, or we could choose a theme and make our own version. There were only four of us in the class, two ladies focused on photos of their grandchildren, another lady made hers of herself at Christmas time, and I focused on myself at (mostly) grade-school age.

Here's what will become my front door:
WIP Soldered Front Door
I've posted the photograph previously. I was so rushed for time, that most of the paper used here is original.
Envelope: a card I received.
Background: vintage sewing pattern.
The lace is meant to simulate the roof edge.
The blue trim adds color as well as a sweet, girly quality.
The sparkle behind my head is on tulle.
This piece just needs to be soldered.

The house will be six-sided: two rectangles for the side walls, two long rectangles for the pitch of the roof, and two elonged triagular pieces for the front and the back. The bottom of the house is open so the entire piece can be placed over a light source and illuminated from within. Some of the ladies used color copies of photographs or original photographs, but most of us chose transparencies.

The class was scheduled for six hours, but after almost eight we still weren't finished.
Hence the work in progress.

After all that though, I'd like to share what I've got so far. Note most of the collages are completed, but all need to be placed under glass and soldered, then soldered to one another.

Roof side one: (click on any image to enlarge)
WIP Soldered House Roof 2
Peach: a vintage card I received.
Barbie fabric: vintage 60's also--my mom made me a dress out of that when I was a kid.
Moon: not vintage--it is a card I picked up yesterday in a thrift store, but I liked the idea of the moon on the roof and the similar color scheme.
Numbers: from a sewing pattern, and may be the year that photo was taken of me sitting on the couch in front of a silver Christmas tree, cut out here on a transparency to be me sitting on a peach (eek, now you guys know my age).
Writing is just some copy-right free stuff my teacher gave me to use as a background.
This piece is also under glass and taped, and is awaiting solder.

Roof side two:
WIP Soldered House Roof 1
I liked the idea of having an owl on the roof. This owl is original 60's, from a card I received as a child. On the back is my friend Anna's signature, though not visible.
Kitty fabric: also vintage 60's. My mom made me something out of that, and I in turn made a green pillow with a heart-shape cut out using that fabric in the center. I still have it.
The photo transparency is myself and my grandmother at the San Diego Zoo (those are turtles on the right). I have posted this image previously.
This one still needs some more stitching, and needs to still be taped and placed under glass.

Wall side one:
WIP Soldered House wall 4
A bit of sparkle added with a silver trim. You always need a bit of sparkle!
Ephemera used here is original.
First place for 'biggest and quietest guinea pigs'! That is dated 1970, but I covered it up.
Candy bar wrapper no longer produced.
I had scrapbooks as a kid, and even then saved all kinds of paper. The irony is that I had Pee-chee (now there's a memory) folders filled with magazine clippings that I saved for DECADES. I only recently tossed them all in one of my dreaded de-cluttering phases, wondering what I would ever do with these things. This included old programs to theatre events and productions like Torvill and Dean ice dancing...
Then I took a collage class and realized how it's such a well-suited craft for my interests. Now I'm kicking myself for not saving the stuff. I still have so much crap though--people hate helping me move, that's for sure.
But I digress.
This collage is completed, it just needs to be placed under glass and taped.

Wall side two:
WIP Soldered House wall 3
Sparkle under the hat is on tulle.
In this piece the envelope and Bingo numbers are ephemera the teacher gave me, so that postmark holds no meaning.
The cocoa and the ticket stub is original, and I can't tell you what made me save that package! Worked out cute though.
This collage is done, I just need to place it under glass and tape it.

WIP Soldered Back Door
Blue paper: my actual promotion letter, kindergarten to first grade. It's a shame I didn't photocopy this one and use it again, because the graphics on it are amazing.
3D glasses: original, probably from the 70's.
Candy wrapper: a common movie theatre type no longer available (70's?).
Ticket stub: my actual saved original--note the $2.50 price.
I'm not completely happy with the shiny, over-the-top edge to this collage, and may mess with it a bit. It also still needs to be placed under glass and taped.

Overall a really fun project, a nice way to meet people, and a great way to get ideas.


Witty Link

Call me out of the loop, but I just now discovered The Museum of Kitschy Stitches, thanks to a recent post by Thimble.
Very similar to Threadbared, only more than a spoof on just sewing pattern covers.
For example, this gruesome number from the archives

So bad it's oh so good.

One another note, hop over to my thrift blog, and see the fun fabric I scored today!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Photobooth Friday, 1990
The back of this strip says, "Del Mar Fair 6-28-90".
There is a fourth pic on the strip, but I look too icky to share the love, as it were. The photos are now yellowing and fading. So many of my booth strips are fading, as are the memories associated with the days I posed.
I can only assume I have a surprised look because I had probably planned a naughty pose at the end and then lacked the time to accomplish the task.
I had a group of friends who every year would huddle around a fair booth, everyone blocking the view from trespassing eyes, and 'flash' the camera. As in Mardi Gras, Girls Gone know.
I only remember the huddle a couple of times, but evidently it was an annual ritual for them.

Gives a whole new meaning to photo strip. Uh, yeah.
Are there photobooth negatives somewhere?

More photobooth fun at hulaseventy

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Share a Past Project Thursday

It's only Wednesday night, but I have to work long hours tomorrow, so I'm going to post this now.
I haven't done a SAPP post in awhile. I will do them on occasion again. It's fun to share stuff that way, but there are only so many pics of things, you know?

Cast Paper (sewing notions)
This is a paper casting of sewing notions. (you'll have to click on the image to be able to see it. Flickr doesn't size the photos as well as Blogger does)
cast paper sewing notions

Anyway, I took a pile of sewing notions and made a plastic mold in a special machine (that's the mold on the right). We then cast paper in our molds, and when the paper was dry, I used a foam Nerf ball dipped into stamp pads to color portions of mine.
It's a fun and unique piece of art.

I made this in a sculpture class at a Community College a few years ago. Community College classes are a great source for creative projects at a low cost. Next semester I am going to sign up for a sewing class, in preparation for the semester following when I will be able to take a flat-pattern construction class.
(For those of you in San Diego, Mesa College offers a fashion degree, and therefore has some amazing sewing classes available. Grossmont College has an excellent sculpture program).

PS: As cheesy as this is, I'm so happy Emmitt Smith won Dancing with the Stars. Ha! Imagine a bar filled with big ol' football types, watching ballroom dancing. I mean, that just makes me smile. And wanting to get back out on the dance floor...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Space Gear

I bought a lot of Pack-O-Fun scrap craft magazines on ebay. They are filled with those funky 'bazaar' crafts (when did that word fall out of favor?)--you know, things made with plastic bottles, popsicle sticks, tin cans, empty papertowel rolls, matchsticks, felt, etc etc etc. Some of it is better left in the 60's, but others are fun to revisit.
Like America's fascination with space prior to man's landing on the moon. It all seems so innocent, so...Twilight Zone.

(click on photo to enlarge if desired)
Space gear
November 1966

Plastic bottle ray guns and helmets!
space toys

Let's be an astronaut
Let's be an astronaut

Plastic bottle space walker marionette
Space marionette

January 1965

Monday, November 13, 2006

New skirt!

Have you ever heard women talk about how they need to lose baby weight...and the kid is like a teenager? Hello, that excuse is no longer valid.
Ditto for me and any weight I've gained due to stress after my dad passed away (three years ago today), and my boyfriend pulling an unexpected exit a year later. I mean, enough already. It has come to the point where even my 'fat clothes' are too small. That's not good.

So in the meantime (of my getting my act together), I need to have some clothes that fit. I made this drawstring skirt yesterday--super simple but really cute, using some thrifted reversible aloha/mod flower fabric (it's soft and sheet-like, but I'm not sure if that was its original purpose. No digital yet, so a scan will have to suffice.
blue skirt

The reverse lighter color may be the front side, but I preferred the more muted blue for the skirt. I considered using this color as an added pocket (not a part of the pattern) but decided against it.
flower reverse

Pic of me wearing it, you say? Ha! That ain't gonna happen.

Funny that I was just talking to Jen and I told her I wouldn't be sewing anything with blue (my least favorite color), and the last two handmade things I've posted have been, uh, blue. Never say never I guess.

This was made using a 'one hour' pattern that is still available, Simplicity 7229.

And Kelli, if you're reading this, I hope you like this pattern, because I bought you a copy too. I promise I will send your stuff soon!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fall decorating

I am thrilled by the Fall this year. Even in San Diego there are some leaves turning to red. The air is not too chilled, but no longer humid.

It's lovely.

My thoughts turn to home and creating warmth within. Flowers in a grapefruit cup. So fresh, so sweet.
Flowers in a grapefruit
(idea from Life magazine, 2006, not sure which month)

Some home decorating just equals Fall to me--like a bowl of uncracked mixed nuts. There's something warm and fuzzy and wonderful about that. It's a childhood memory, a piece of the past...innocence.

I have been baking muffins, gingerbread, and things with cranberries.

I saw this cute idea in the November 1 issue of Family Circle magazine. I have come to appreciate that magazine more and more.
So simple--just hollow out tiny gourds and fill them with candy, or tealight candles.
candy cups
It is always the simple things which hold the most sway. Always the simple things that last. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that when I want to overthink my crafts....
In simplicity lies elegance.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Unknown man, 1930's
Unknown man, 1930's
There is a background to this photo, but the size is that of a booth perhaps it is one of those false backdrops. I'm not sure.
I found this in an old album that my dad had in high school. It is a wooden album with a painted ship on its cover. The pages are coarse paper, oversized, with miscellaneous images adhered to the pages with little black adhesive corners. Some of the pages are embossed with my dad's strange handwriting--a wild cursive that slanted drastically to the right...a left-handed boy learning to write in a right-handed world. His hand would curl over and into the pen, as if the hand belonged to the other side of his body.

There are no words beneath this photograh. No identification, just a face lost to time. The winking eye brings to mind James Dean, or a sailor. I assume he was a friend from school. My mom does not recognize him.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ooh, sandcastle cake!

First off, thanks to all the kind comments I've received. I wasn't trying to solicit compliments, really I wasn't...I was just trying to say I wish more people had Patricia's management style. Like I said in one of my replies, everyone has selective buttons to push--we are all motivated in different ways. Criticism, sarcasm, challenges, and...what works for me is support, understanding, and pats on the back.

I was browsing my cookbooks and came across this cute 'cake' that I thought I'd share.
sandcastle cake

I didn't make this. Not yet anyway.
This is from Susan Purdy's The Family Baker. Purdy is one of my favorite authors--her A Piece of Cake is one of my best purchases (for the Black Forest Cake recipe alone this book is worth it!).

This is made using a child's sandcastle mold--you know, the kind you take to the beach. Only this one was filled with vanilla ice cream and allowed to freeze to harden the shape. It was then unmolded and covered with cinnamon sugar to resemble sand. How cute is that?! It is placed in a dish of the sugar, then surrounded with candy seashells, gummi fish, etc. I love this idea.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

No peanut butter for me, thank you

Sorry about my post yesterday. I don't mean to be negative, I just think I am hormonally charged lately, and am prone to seriousness and introspection anyway. This despite the fact that I have an easy, genuine laugh, and am more apt to offer an open-mouthed, head-thrown-back belly laugh than most people I know.

I wrote the editor of Cloth Paper Scissors, Patricia Bolton, and gave her a similar "I suck" type letter as my excuse for not having my article in by yet another deadline. Usually I don't share personal emails here in a public space, but really, her response just makes me want to throw my arms around her. Would that all bosses were this amazing. Would that she were always my boss for that matter.

If you don't already subscribe to Quilting Arts and/or Cloth Paper Scissors, I urge you to support these publications that have quality people like this lovely lady behind the wheel. And this is not me kissing ass. This is me saying it's nice to know people like this are out there.
Besides, the magazines rock.

She wrote (in part):
"First, take a deep breath! You are my soul sister, because it's evident you are way, way, way too hard on yourself. I worry and obsess every single time I have to do something as benign as a letter from the editor, and after doing about 30 of them over the years, it doesn't get any easier and the fear that I'm going to say something stupid doesn't lessen. I'm still fraught with worry and doubt and try to keep the panic attacks at bay.....

....Working with us is a fluid, give-and-take process. Not a single thing comes through these doors without all of the editors making sure it shines beautifully. If we have questions or need you to elaborate on something, we'll just ask. We edit everybody (including each other!) We don't want anybody to walk out the front door with peanut butter on their face. ;-)"...

I mean seriously, how cool is that?!

I am voicing this because I tend to be forthright like that. Too, perhaps within my insecurities you see yourself. Perhaps knowing we share similarities offers some sense of comfort. Maybe there's strength in numbers.

Why is it that so many of us, artists or otherwise, question ourselves so much?
I constantly struggle with this. But with every fulfilled challenge we gain more confidence.
With each completed project we take a step forward.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ramblings between coughing

Craft wise, well, I got nothin'.
I've been sick all week.
I still had to train a new girl at work.
I hope she doesn't replace me (I'm only labeled back-up).
That doesn't reflect my work performance.
All I want to do is sleep.
I read three books this week and finished a fourth.
So far.
I should have done it out in this beautiful sunshine.
But I sleep then.
It's a waste.

I am about to miss the third deadline on a magazine article.
The editor is amazingly understanding.
Self doubt immobilizes me.
I am a deer in the gun sight.
Unfinished projects threaten to squish me like Godzilla.
I am overwhelmed.

Monday, November 06, 2006


The Free People catalog makes me drool. Covet. Wish I could fall into the pages and live there.

Sure, I buy stuff online all the time, but there's something about paper catalogs... you can feel the weight of the paper in your hand, you can absorb the details of each photograph. You want to cradle each page, relish each design, take your time...
I feel the same way about book pages, photographs, and hand-written letters. There's a romantic element, an old-fashioned element.

There's a bunch of stuff I want to buy in here, but there are also a few items that give me some crafty ideas....

Like these amazing fabric luggage tags. Hmmmm.
owl luggage tag
I can see fabric gift tags, fabric jar labels, fabric greeting cards, cards that double as Christmas ornaments...
Really, the possibilities are endless. All that sparked from seeing this image:
(click on pic to enlarge)
free people tags
And look at the teddy bear, chest and foot pads a patchwork of different fabrics. Hmmm....

I want this hat.
free people hat

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Can't talk....eating

I have been 'assigned' to bring candy to Thanksgiving this year, so I have been checking out different recipes. Jen reminded me about Buckeyes, and it sparked my recollection of this similar recipe. I know the paraffin wax sounds gross, but a lot of recipes use that to get a hard candy shell. Just make sure you use the food-quality wax found in the grocery store.

These are super yum!

Peanut Butter Balls
1 cup butter
1 lb (1 box) powdered sugar
2 cups chunky peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
mix above together and form into balls. Freeze one hour.

In a double boiler, melt:
6-oz chocolate chips
Two 9-oz Hershey bars
1/2 bar paraffin wax
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Dip the balls into the chocolate to cover completely. Place on waxed paper to harden. Drizzle the candies with remaining chocolate in a decorative zig-zag, and add sprinkles if desired.
Serve in mini baking cups.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Well, I'm 30 minutes away from Friday, so I'll go ahead and post now. I'm going to get up early in the morning to check out a church rummage sale. Those church sales often hold lots of treasure. Cross your fingers.

Unknown woman, 1930's
Unknown woman, 1930's.
I'm not a story teller (a writer, ironically, but not a story teller), so I'll let you give this lady a background.
I found this in my dad's photo album. My mom doesn't recognize her. I assume she was someone my dad knew in high school (or had a crush on?). If she's still alive, she's in her mid to late 80's.

More photobooth goodness here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Recommended Reading: Aubrey's Blog

My friend Melinda just started a blog, and I recommend it highly--her wit puts her clearly in a one-of-a-kind category, and don't even get me started on her collection of ephemera. She's also a talented artist, as seen here in this Tomato she hopes to publish soon.

(I hope you don't mind the publicity, Mel. If you do, let me know and I'll pull the post.)

Check out her blog here.

Duke at Dog Beach in Del Mar

Del Mar's Dog Beach