Saturday, September 30, 2006

Southern Food Fun

I went to a little girl's birthday party today. It was held in a park, where the girls wore princess dresses and ran around. Then Cinderella came and sang them songs and read them stories. Following that was the cake and the song and the pinata...all the typical party stuff...but what really got to me was the FOOD! My friend Jen is from the south, and everything she cooks is fantastic. It's really cool to see how southern cooking differs though, and today was a perfect example.

She had hot dogs with a chili topping (no beans), then slaw on top of that. Slaw ON the dog! Who knew?! I know, it sounds strange, but the flavors offset each other beautifully. Hot, spicy chili and cold, tangy slaw. To die for! I'm not sure I ever want a hotdog any other way again!

Hand-painted needle case

I wouldn't say I'm a needle case collector, per se, but I have a few. This one is hand-painted.
Hand-painted needle case
(click on image for enlarged detail)
This one is vintage, I believe, and is slightly damaged from use. But it's still charming. Ebay find.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New post to my other blog

Check out the fun little quilt I picked up at the thrift store today. I posted on my new thrifting blog. Since it's new, and more people read this one, it's a reminder.

Photobooth Friday

Funky vintage photo--girl on a fake camel
(you can click on the image to enlarge)
Girl on a fake camel.
The ebay seller I bought this from described this as a photobooth shot, but it's just (I think) a staged one--like all those kids who sat on a half moon I suppose. I'm not sure of the year, or what's up with the 'Your Honey' on the frame, or the art nouveau water lilies...

Perhaps, with her honey-colored hair, her name was Honey? Okay, maybe that's a stretch.
But I think it's precious regardless.

Do you think the rolled socks is an indication it's the 1920's? 30's?

I love the camel--so unique.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Craft Book Review

One of my favorite blogs, Thimble, has a feature where she regularly reviews craft books. She has inspired me to do the same.

I am so impressed by Metal Craft Discovery Workshop, by Linda and Opie O'Brien, that I just have to share it. I have been wanting to learn more about working with metal, and recently learned to solder, but I still need to find a class in welding. But this book offers other simple options, with spectacular results.

The book offers step-by-step photo tutorials in resin jewelry, aging and etching metals, using transparency sheets, and crafting with anything from bottle caps to Altoid tins. The book also includes an easy-to-follow layout of tools and gadgets (like rivets) and how to use them.

I mean, who knew you could cut up all those old cookie tins and make a little book, or embellish a frame, or make earrings, or a doll like this:
Tin Can Doll

I think I've been waiting all my life to make a bracelet like this one--considered 'found object' art. This just completely speaks to me. (as always with Flickr images, you can click on the pics to get enlarged detail)
Charm bracelet

I haven't made a collage in a mint tin yet, but I like the idea of it being shrine-like, a niche, a personal statement. I think it's fun that they used garter belt parts in this piece:
Keepsake Tin

This book is published by North Light Books. They have another book out that is similar but it is about collage. Collage Lost and Found, creating unique projects with vintage ephemera.

This one gives tutorials on how to use tape to transfer an image to your project, how to make a domino pendant, how to solder a marble charm, and gives an excellent how-to on glass slide pendants.

For the slide tutorial alone this book is worthy of purchase (even if you already know how to make these. Great tips).

Here's one of the examples:
slides charms on leather bracelet

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Crafting out of your pantry

Right now I'm fascinated with working with metal. I will be posting soon about a new book I found, as well as some projects I've created using metal. Other people are selling goodies too, like these absolutely amazing earrings made from tin cans. These are on the eco-artware website.

These feature the ingredient portion of the can, and others use the bar code area.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Salsa di Pomodoro Crudo

There used to be a cooking show on PBS called Ciao Italia! with Mary Ann Esposito. I bought a couple of her books, and everything I have made from them is delicious. I love how she talks about her family, her heritage, and traveling Italy to discover all the regional variations in flavor.
That is my dream vacation.

I happened to be cruising the library the other day, and I came across another of her books, Ciao Pronto! 30 minute recipes from an Italian Kitchen.
I tried this super easy tomato sauce recipe, that is also super yummy, and even more perfect if you have homegrown tomatoes and basil.

Uncooked Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
7 large fresh basil leaves, stemmed
1/4 cup tightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
4 or 5 meaty plum tomatoes (or flavorful homegrown varieties. If you have less than stellar tomatoes, just add a teaspoon or two of sugar to the recipe)
1/2 teaspoon salt
coarse black pepper to taste
sugar (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a bowl and set aside. Make a pile on the cutting board of the garlic, parsley, and basil. Mince with a chef's knife or put the ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times until they are minced.

Stir the garlic mixture into the olive oil.

Dice the tomatoes and add them to the olive oil with the salt and pepper and a little sugar if needed. Mix well. Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to marinate several hours at room temperature before serving. If made ahead of time, sauce can be stored in refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before using.

Serve on hot pasta with grated parmesan, or on toasted bread slices as a bruschetta. Or use a spoonful on chicken or pork chops.


I got a massage today. I feel like a new person. I've been having all these problems with my feet lately--like when I wake up they feel like they're cramped up. The massage therapist at one point said,
"were you a swimmer?"I was so surprised she knew that, I practically sat straight up. "Yeah, why?"
She said I was laying (lying? I have forgotten the grammar...) on the table, on my back, with my toes almost pointed.
"Uh, that's normal for me. That IS relaxed".
"No, Barb, that's flexed".
That's why you're waking up and it's like your feet are like this (she forms her hand into a claw).
Wow. revelation. What a concept.
She made me do stretches with my toes after that, and my legs actually started shaking--like they're finally firing on all cylinders again.

Next week, another massage, and my first ever facial.

'bout damn time I started taking care of myself.

PS: for all you non-Californians, yes we really do use 'like' that much. No, like, we can't help's like, normal for us. I actually (other than my brain fart here with 'lay'), actually do have a command of the language. I just choose slang when speaking.
Yep--I like it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The never ending pile of unfinished projects...

Sorry for my lack of crafting posts lately--I have been so so tired. Not sure what the deal is. I can't get in to see my doctor until November. I did cut out a little girl's dress yesterday. She just turned 3, but her party isn't until next weekend. That doesn't give this slow seamstress much time...but I'll be taking some time off work. The problem is I was ironing the fabric and the pattern pieces...and somewhere along the way one of the pieces went MIA. Ack! I'm going to do as much as I can and just hope it turns up so I don't have to improvise.

But I'll post some new pics soon (I have a tons of images to scan too), so keep checking back.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Photobooth friends
I debated whether or not I should post this pic of myself and some old friends, then I decided to go with it. These were more than just average friends--I considered them more like family. More like everything.

Judging by my bangs, I assume this was taken sometime in the late 90's (heaven forbid I ever think to write a date on any of these things). We used to take pics at the fair every year.

For 25 years.

We had a falling out at Christmastime. Today I have many mixed emotions about so many pieces and parts in between...but overall I'll just remember the positive and move forward.

More photobooth goodness here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vintage Photo--dad doing the laundry

Well, seeing as I have no new crafting items to post, I will give you this incredible photo of my dad hanging clothes on a line. I just came across this treasure recently while sorting through old boxes of photos.
Chuck hanging clothes
This was at my grandparents' house in Coronado. I considered it a magical place. That clothesline was my gymnasium. Just out of the frame was a wishing well. To the other side of the yard was a lath house filled with plants, and a fish pond.
Today it's a parking lot.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Shiver me timbers! Be ye prepared fo' Sept 19th?!

When my friend Mel told me that Sept 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought she made it up among friends.
Turns out it really is official.
Check it out here.
Turns out the yoho yoho of our beloved Mr. Depp is all the rage--one friend of mine just celebrated his 50th birthday pirate style. Guests wore tatoos, eye patches, different hats. It was perfect for a guy with Yahr as a last name..."Ahrr be gahr yahr..."

The site has fun links, such as how to talk like a pirate in different languages,
and how to knit a booty bag like a pirate:

Tutorial inspiration

I thought I'd post some miscellaneous tutorials found in blogland. So much good stuff out there...

Wire-wrapped jars for candles are lovely, like this butterfly jar posted by Bemused.

I once applied for a job at Lori Jane--they make incredible beaded wire jars. At the time I wasn't versed enough with the tools. Since then I've taken some classes, and plan to take some more (wire-wrapped jewelry) soon.

Can tab belt tutorial by Tricia.

Lots of fun scrap-crafty stuff from Textile Fetish
Okay, so it's not a tutorial. It's stuff to buy. It's still fun.

Cute crocheted birds by Marlo's Corner (who has a ton of great free patterns available)

Here is one of many tutes on making a pillowcase skirt. Great intro to sewing clothing if you've yet to try that. It makes a simple drawstring skirt. The first one I made was from a thrifted pillowcase in yellow gingham, with a ruffle edge that became the bottom of the skirt. Very cute. Or maybe you can find a groovy 60's print or Eames print at the thrift store, or...
Or, if you're not up on the craftster billboard, here's a fun and funky pleated version.

Killer diy screenprinting at Instructables. (thanks to thimble for posting it first)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ice Cream Diets Book, 1946

Ice Cream Diets book, 1946
Fun, huh?! No other photos than the dust jacket. Inside are suggestions about what to eat at each meal...the typical half grapefruit, etc, but then they add 2/3 cup ice cream a couple times a day, and hot cocoa with dinner. The torn part of the cover says
'Marion White'--evidently she put out a bunch of books.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Unknown woman 1920's or 30's
I've been sorting through boxes of photos, and I came across this unknown woman. The pic seems to have been taken in the 20's or 30's. The backdrop is interesting. I asked my mom if she recognized this lady, and my mom has no idea about her identity. She could have been a friend of my grandmother, or maybe she is a long lost relative. So sad how time wipes clean the details.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Garden Goodness

My mom and I attended an event for Garden Compass Magazine, at the Proven Winners location in Bonsall. Proven Winners/Euro American sell plants to local nurseries, and is a test location for new plant species. They have tons of niches filled with brilliant combinations and ideas. Like framed 'portraits' created with succulents.
Or who knew an old rusted plant stand and an old tea set could be so adorable?!
Garden Tea

The Garden Compass is a publication oriented toward organic planting appropriate for California. They also have a call-in radio program on Saturday and Sunday mornings that is spectacular (it is also available on the internet).
Garden Compass event
The show is hosted by Bryan Main, with experts Bruce and Sharon Asakawa, and John Bagnasco.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What a fun gift--a new apron!

Apron on shredded door
I've taken to photographing things in interesting locations lately, or near interesting objects. This is a new apron I just received, a gift from Sandy of Grace Street Studio. I love it.

Here's a closer shot:
Grace Street Studio apron

I sent Sandy a copy of one of my patterns. I mean, no big deal, I didn't expect anything back other than maybe a thank you. Well, I got more than that, she sent me one of her handmade aprons (she sells them on her website). I love this so much. I don't know if she specially designed it for me, or just grabbed one from her stash, but if she didn't design it for me...well, she must be psychic. I mean, look at the pineapples! Love it! And the fabric that looks like it's from a vintage calendar (if it's not vintage, it certainly looks like it is). And this is my favorite style--where the length is folded up to form a pocket area. It is also just the right shape and size. Awesome.

Look at the little tiny bias tape, perfectly stitched (how does she do that?)
apron detail

Have I mentioned I love this?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My thrifting blog has started!

Make sure you check out my new blog about thrifting, Second-hand Swag. I finally started posting some of my fun scores, and hope to post at least a couple times per month. My first post is a vintage game I just purchased. It is cherry lovliness.

Go Fly a Kite!

Butterfly Kite
I think this is so cute. I bought this for a little girl I know, as part of her Christmas package (yes, I have started shopping. I have to. It's the only way I can afford it). It is not only butterfly shaped, but it's the size of a butterfly too, so your kite will be like a butterfly flitting about the flowers. I love it. They had standard colors too, but this little girl will be all over the glittery pink. I got this at a hobby shop, of all places, for $2.99.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Inspiration from Amy

Quilt by Amy 2 (click on photos to enlarge)
My friend/co-worker made this quilt for her children's school auction. The school raises money every year by auctioning items the parents and students have made. The amazing thing about this quilt is that AMY DOESN'T SEW!
I mentioned a few months ago that I was helping her with this project. Well, that was the first quilt. I helped sew a foundation, and Amy took fabrics to school and had the kids cut out shapes (mostly flowers). Amy then cut out additional shapes-- bugs, birds, and birdhouses.
She fused the shapes to the foundation, then another parent volunteered to do the quilting. Well, the quilt ended up bringing in an unheard of sum of $2700.00, AND the promise of another $2700.00 if Amy made a second quilt. This is what she came up with.

Quilt by Amy
I think it looks like West Elm meets vintage Hawaiian. I think it's fantastic. Talk about an eye for design! I love how she threw in a splash of burgundy.

Quilt by Amy, leaf detail
I love how simple shapes just look timeless here. Note the palm tree in the seam on the lower right.

So....for all you too intimidated to try quilting, this is an inspiration. It's inspiration for all of us.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Code blue: crafting inspiration--stat!

I was downtown today at a coffee shop, and while the barista was mixing up my peanut and chocolate blended, I saw my horoscope posted on the counter. Hmmm...
So I decided to tell you about my emotional state. To vent, to exorcise the demons, as it were.

Warhol exhibit
Today I took myself to see an Andy Warhol exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. I really wanted to see the exhibit before it closes this weekend. (when did visiting a museum get so expensive? Ten bucks! Holy crap).
Anyway, I also went because I needed a boost--a spark to ignite my frozen creativity.

The deadline is quickly approaching for the magazine article, and I've done very little toward reaching that deadline. I have been crippled by the limitations of having to use copyright-free materials. Normally I use illustrations from 60s-era cookbooks, but those are off limits if the work is to be published. It's one thing if you make stuff for yourself or friends, but there's a completely different spin involved if publication is involved. I can't use newspaper or magazine images unless they're dramatically altered. Clipart is too boring. I don't like to draw my own images. I doubt I can use food labels. I'm not even sure if there are restrictions with fabric. So I'm faltering...

I cannot let this opportunity escape.
Is it fear of failure? Well, partially, yes.
There's some evil voice in my head that keeps saying I can't possibly produce anything worthy enough.
Then out of the blue one of you will write, extolling my talents (thank you. No, I am not soliciting for compliments).

I was going to say that I can't motivate myself without a class assignment or something, but in essence I did exactly that by attending the event. I took notes at the exhibit, and I got new ideas. Now to turn those ideas into something concrete. I wish I had a studio, or at least an inviting space in which to move. Make do, Barb, make do. Think outside the box. Figure this out.

And on a completely different subject, I need to post a photo for Photobooth Friday, but I need to take the time to sort thru pics and find some more booth photos. But I don't want to ignore the idea altogether, so here's a photo of my grandfather.

Ah, my beloved Gramps. That second drawer down behind him was the "candy drawer". Every time I visited, he would open that drawer and give me black licorice and red licorice. It was a cute little house in Coronado. He had been a dentist in the Navy, so everyone called him "Doc". He was at Pearl Harbor, and came away a little bit off after that, understandably. I miss him. I miss that house. After my grandparents died, it took me ten years before I could go back to Coronado. I finally drove by the house, and it had been turned into a parking lot. I guess I had always believed that elements of my childhood would last forever. I sat in my car and cried. Now I just hold dear my memories, and am a far better person for having had the fortune of knowing them.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Variegated new obsession

Variegated Threads
I'm obsessed with variegated thread lately.
The two large spools at the bottom of the page are by YLI (I'm drooling--they're all so yummy!)
The red-white-blue one and the metallic silver-black are from Sulky
The beautiful sunset one is King Tut Quilting Thread
The neutral is Coats & Clark

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Snippets of San Diego

Sunset Cliffs
The rock at Sunset Cliffs, currently with a peace sign decorating it's peak. The decoration constantly changes. I have no idea who figures out how to climb the thing, but it's really fun to see what they come up with.

Lifeguard Sculpture
Lifeguard sculpture in the Cedros Design District, Solana Beach. I'm not sure if it's clay or resin, but I like the unexpected fun of finding it here, watching the street.

Fiesta Island
Rudy and Mandy playing at Fiesta Island (you can see the Sea World tower in the background). These are two golden retrievers that I dog-sit.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stenciled Pillow by Amanda

Pillow from Amanda
I purchased this from the Etsy store of Pandora's Button Box

Handmade with a stencil of a tree on this really cool nubby orange fabric. You can read more about it on her website: here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Quilt Show Swag

The San Diego Quilt Show is going on this weekend. I went Friday and will post a few pics later in the week.

Jan Krentz is the guest artist, and oh my...her stuff is amazing.

And of course vendors are there tempting me, so this is what I came home with:
Quilt Show Purchases

One yard of a really fun animal alphabet fabric (here the Moose with a Mask, wearing Mittens, roasting a Marshmallow. Is that a Mat on his lap?)
and half yards of a beautiful palm tree neutral, and a brilliant purple splash (last one, haha!). Also a pattern for a bag using crocheted fabric strips, and two marking pencils that I have been searching for (the chalk wheels or felt pens just weren't cutting it). These can be sharpened with any standard pencil sharpener too! I also picked up a pumpkin-colored sweatshirt so I can finally make the jacket pattern that I bought at last year's show!

And the best part? A $25 off coupon for the Janome Jem 2 that I've had my eye on for awhile. I plan to purchase that sewing machine this week. Woohoo! This will be perfect for taking to classes and when I house-sit. I'm sooo excited! It comes with a carrying bag and the extension table too, and a super good price at Sowing Sisters Quilt Shop in Carlsbad.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Not sure why I've been able to post a bunch of other booth photos okay, but this one turned out all weird. I guess you can still get the image.
Marc 1974
I was scrounging through old photos and came across this booth shot of my second-ever boyfriend from 10th grade. Of course 'boyfriend' then meant a few dates over a few weeks or months.

Marc attended my church but a different high school. He was on the tennis team. I thought he was soooo cute. I was so proud of this photo and carried it in my wallet. Around his neck is an IXOYE (Christian fish symbol).

We had one of my favorite dates ever, where we went go-karting in the rain. Mascara was dripping down my face, and my blue cordoroy pants were drenched, but we had pure fun that night.

Marc also taught me how to french kiss, and how to pass licorice while kissing.

I wonder whatever happened to him? We lost touch soon after 10th grade. His sister (who I was friends with even though she was older) moved, and that was that.