Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Crafting with old cards or photos

Crafting with Christmas Cards
(click on image to enlarge)
From Pack-O-Fun scrapcraft magazine, January 1965

1) Napkin holder 2) Puppet 3) Hexagonal basket
4)Octagonal basket 5-7) Novelty baskets 8) wastebasket
9)Lantern 10) Star 11) Parrot
12) Valentines!

I remember on an old episode of the Carol Duvall show, she made some three-dimensional ornaments out of old cards, then went one step further and made them with old photographs. See the how-to here.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Star Mouse
(click on image to enlarge)


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Puss 'n Boots

Puss 'n Boots
From Wright's Bias Fold Tape sewing book no. 25, 1931.
Pattern to make a soft toy embellished with bias tape.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Vegetarian Pizza

This is one of those freebie recipes at the grocery store that is just fantastic!

1 Italian bread shell (boboli)
Ricotta cheese (the recipe calls for 16oz, but I think 8oz is plenty)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups fresh spinach (this is going to be a huge's okay. It shrinks down to just the right amount)
2 teaspoons crushed oregano
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese (for God's sake, use the whole milk version. Once you've tasted it, the low fat type tastes like plastic)
1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper strips (see how-to at end)
1/2 cup sliced black olives (I don't like olives, so I substitute sauteed mushrooms)
1/2 cup (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Place bread shell on baking sheet.
3. In bowl combine ricotta and garlic. Spread over bread shell.
4. Sprinkle with spinach and oregano (sprinkle? Mound is a better word)
5. Top with mozzarella, roasted pepper, olives and Parmesan (it's going to be tricky, but you can do it)
6. Bake about 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese melts.
Garnish with fresh oregano, if desired.

Servers 4.

To roast bell peppers:
Broil whole peppers until charred on all sides (keep watching and turning). Place blackened peppers in a large resealable bag for 5 minutes. When cool, peel off the black skin. Remove seeds. Cut peppers into thin strips.

possible additions to the toppings:
fresh tomato
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup fresh pesto


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fun Food

You thought I could stay away from Bloglines? Please.
My strong points never had anything to do with self-discipline.
So here we go...a little diversion, if you will.

Despite the fact that I'm not a mom, much less the Kool-aid mom, I love novelty print (read: juvenile) fabrics, and I adore fun food.
One of my favorite magazines is Family Fun. Go figure.

I guess I just never really grew up. And that's okay.

Then again, I guess these recipes have a bit of an adult twist.
All the better.
I seem to be gravitating to cooking more and more these days.
Considering the magazine article I need to be working on is about recipe cards, that's a good thing. At least I have that going for me.
Regardless, there are hungry guys at work who count on me, for God's sake.
At least someone does.

I mean how can you not love these cookies that Finny made? (yes, I could say 'Jessica', but I love saying 'Finny')

Or this adorable photo of my client's adorable daughter with her birthday piggie cupcakes.

A recipe for Margarita Cupcakes from Baking Sheet.

And while we're in the liquor cabinet, (and still at Baking Sheet) how about Bailey's cheesecake? Oh my.

All right, I'll stop procrastinating and start crafting...


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Quilts to come, and a short break-time

My mom and I went to the Visions Art Quilt exhibit on Friday--it comes to the Oceanside Museum of Art every two years, featuring works of art in fabric. It will soon be housed in its own facility (see the link for info as well as some wonderful pics). There are embellished quilts, paper quilts, beaded quilts, digital photography that has been turned into quilts... and in some cases, paintings with little snips of fabric.

Some people possess extraordinary talent.

We arrived rather late in the day, and luckily hooked up with a docent, who described the artist's concepts behind the pieces, unusual techniques used, etcetera.
This made the experience far more interesting.

Another lady was there viewing the quilts, and mentioned the Road to California exhibit. It was a quilt show of which we weren't familiar, since it's not local to San Diego.
She so impressed upon us the wonders of this show, that my mom and I decided to do the hour and forty minute drive up to the Ontario Convention Center this morning. Serendipity somehow afforded me an unusual Sunday off it was just meant to be.

She also mentioned the necessity of going to the big Houston show, which I would absolutely love to make happen. Paducah as well. But that's for another day.

The Road to California is the largest quilt show in California, featuring over 500 quilts and specialty exhibits. There were quilts featured for the Hoffman challenge, for Alzheimer's awareness (I can't even fully express how amazing these entries were. Unfortunately, photographs of art quilts are not allowed), and several examples of quilts from the 1880's (courtesy of Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Colorado. I am familiar with this museum, ironically, because the now-former curator outbid me on several quilt-related photographs on eBay, and we got to chatting via email. Small world).

We spent about four hours looking at quilts--there was no time or money left, unfortunately, for the vendors. The admission price actually allows entry for multiple days, and classes are even offered in adjacent rooms. We saw doors open in one room where some dynamic fabric painting was taking place (something on my 'to do' list someday soon). I have noticed more quilts embellished with painting recently, and more quilters also seem to be dyeing their own fabrics as well. I was surprised that the majority of the quilts in the Road show seemed to include heat-set jewels (a tool I have coveted but wasn't sure I'd use).

I found myself gravitating to quilts with a more whimsical quality, often in shades of lime green...
funny how our tastes change, twist, and turn over time.
Right now I guess I'm all about chartreuse.
Go figure.

I took a ton of photos, some on my cell I'm not sure of the quality, but I will be posting as soon as I figure out how, haha. Had I had extra money with me, I would have bought a CD (what an incredible idea they had, to photograph every quilt in the show and sell the collective images), but I have been struggling to get by lately. Sigh. So I will make do with cell phone images. It's something.

My mom and I took a rest at one of the many tables and chairs available (something the San Diego Convention Center needs to adopt), and I became mesmerized through the view in the glass wall, with the way the palm trees were being battered by Santa Ana winds, and the shadows they were casting. I went nuts with photographing a myriad of angles and close-ups.
So those images are to come also.
Right now it's just a heads up and a hello.

I will be taking a short blog break (my first ever!) so I can focus on completing my article for Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine. If I allow myself to be distracted by posting to this blog, I will then want to check bloglines...and I'll want to upload to Flickr....and then all of a sudden the day is gone and I haven't been productive. So, please don't forget about me. I'll be back in a week :).


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Clothespin Penguin

Clothespin Penguin
This cute penguin lives in a Little America Diorama.
"Make your own replica of Admiral Byrd's famous Antarctic settlement"

Does anyone make dioramas anymore?
The only reason I've ever even heard the word is because Lisa made one on the Simpsons.

Craft taken from January 1965 article in Pack-O-Fun scrapcraft magazine.

*update* Jen just reminded me that today is Penguin Awareness Day! Serendipity!

Here's a fun link with lots of penguin info.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Me? Weird? Nah....

Would that I could find my photobooth pics to post...but they continue to be MIA.

Instead, Finny has tagged me for the 6 Weird Things About You meme. .

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog

Initially I couldn't really think of anything. I don't feel like I have any really quirky habits or anything. I'm sure my friends would beg to differ, haha, but I couldn't think of any. So this is what I came up with:

1) I love pomegranates, but I don't chew the seeds. I squish the seeds between my fingers and suck out the juice. My fingers get stained red, and I have to wear a bib for all the squirting redness. The only time I will chew the seeds is when I make Christmas Eve salad. Yeah, I know...
but it's how I ate them as a kid, and the method still stands.

2) I cannot stand the sound of paper being folded by someone else. That scratch across it just sends chills. Yeah, I know...

3) I am considered the ultimate perfectionist at work (in a cash vault). Money has to be faced and in perfect condition or I send it back to the bank. My nickname is "bad bill Barb". All my paperwork has to be meticulous. This goes for my sewing also. Order in my personal space though...forget it. I suck. I can never find anything.

4) I cuss like a sailor. Or Keira Knightly. Whichever (or I guess I should say whomever) you prefer.

5) I occasionally apply make-up while driving, though not quite as often as I used to.

6) I will not eat fish or anything even remotely like fish. I won't use a pan again if fish has touched it. I won't even be polite and eat it if served at someone else's house. My dad was a fisherman when I was a kid, and seeing all those gunny sacks filled just left some psychological damage. My brothers chasing me with crawdads didn't help either. This was already written on my 100 Things page, but I couldn't think of anything else. I guess I could say that I absolutely cannot stand it when men walk around without a shirt on (unless it's at the beach. As in ON the beach), but this is more a pet peeve than something weird about me.

Tagged: (but anyone feel free to join in)
Mary Ann


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Major Cookbook Score!

Oh my...
check out my incredible find--I posted to my thrift blog.

Here's a tidbit:
Beau-Catcher Cookies
Ha! These food-to-catch-a-man recipes crack me up.
Read the key statement (and you can click on the image for an enlarged view too)

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Where can you find Japanese books?

A few of you have commented that you'd like to find the Japanese Craft Book I've recently posted.
Normally I would email you back directly, but your comments do not always include your email addresses, even if you filled in the information.

Japanese craft books must be purchased through online bookstores like Amazon Japan, your local Japanese bookstore (if you are lucky enough to have one), or a site like ebay.
I use ebay, AND I have a local bookstore.

Excellent resources can be located through the site Crafting Japanese. (click on's a link to the site for those of you who don't know)
There is also a crafting Japanese group on flickr that can help you translate a pattern. Remember, these books are written in Japanese, but often times diagrams are included that help you figure out how to make a particular item.
Good luck! These are the creme de la creme of the craft world!


Monday, January 15, 2007


Okay, even more goodies in this Japanese Craft Book, including this dramatic quilt
Dramatic Quilt
(click on the image for an enlarged view)
I love the bold color combination, and the wave-like edge.

Simple coasters and potholders, more exciting because of the fabric choices
Hawaiian fabric coasters and potholders

Ah, seeing as I just mentioned pajama bags in a recent post, here's an aloha version
Pajama Bag

Here's a cute idea for a raw-edged appliqued bag.
Appliqued Bag


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hawaiian fabric Aprons

Continuing with the Japanese Craft Book, using Hawaiian print fabrics.
This time let's focus on aprons.
I love this cafe style with the front band of pockets--it is my favorite style of apron.
Cafe Apron

Wrap styles are another of my favorites (in all types of clothing, actually)
Wrap Apron

I like that this version is more practical with its extra long length.

And an adorable kid's version (I love the matching bandana)
Kid's Apron


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Japanese Craft Book, Hawaiian Style

This Japanese craft book is about sewing with Hawaiian Fabrics.
There are so many fun pics to share, that I will spread this out the next couple of days.
Crafting with Hawaiian fabric

With the ton of fun projects in this book, what most captured my attention was the yo-yo curtains.
Fabric yo-yos seem to have experienced a resurgence of interest lately.

Amanda from Soule Mama embellished curtains.
So did Dacia Ray.

Check out this cute idea--brilliant in its simplicity:
Decorative yo-yos
Yo-yos on each curtain hook, and a decorative strand down the center.
I can envision this on shower curtain hooks also,
as well as attached to a cord with bells behind a door to signal its opening.

But, oh my, look at this wonderful thing. This time an entire curtain, made into a heart shape:
Yo-yo Curtain

In case you need instructions, Craftapalooza provided a tutorial on Whip-Up.
What a great way to use up leftover fabric scraps, and to tie in colors in a room.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Ha! The only new man in my life lately!

No photobooth pic to share today, unfortunately, so I thought I'd show this cute little guy I've been caring for this week.
This is Boyden (I'm told the name in Celtic means 'golden hair').
He's a three-and-a-half month old Golden Retriever.
I took him for his first trip to the beach, and am teaching him how to ham it up to the camera.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Share a Past Project

Cross-stitched Rooster
Old old pic of my first ever cross-stitch project.
Pre-scanner, so sorry it's not a more detailed photo.
(you can click to enlarge)
I stitched a rooster onto gingham (inherent grid!) and then used it to embellish a dish towel.

Same idea, but on a strip of gingham, and these are ducks.
Cross-stitched ducks

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Ummmmm, beets
What was with all the aspic and gelatins in the 60's?
What was appetizing about vegetables suspended in goo?

This is from a cook booklet of recipes using Carnation Evaporated Milk.
Ooh, "it's Velvetized!"

Oh, and since I mentioned grammar yesterday, let me just add a few more pet peeves while it's on topic. Then I'll shut up.

A drug is a substance. Items and the proverbial cat are dragged.
Curtains are hung. People are hanged.
There is no long eeeee in mischievous. It is pronounced


Monday, January 08, 2007

Anybody in there?

This is supposed to be a craft blog?
Yeah, I know...not lately.
So I may as well continue bitching, haha.

I love conversation.
I can basically have a conversation with anyone.
Often I find myself talking to people while standing in line at the grocery store or post office...
it's nice.

I'm finding, however, either children who may have been too often coached to "not speak to strangers", or a lot as described in
Pink's "Stupid Girls".

I mean, maybe she was just nervous or something. Maybe she's only comfortable with people in her inner circle.
But did any of you see Christina Aguilera with Ryan Seacrest on New Year's Eve?
Not with as in 'with'.
Just a host and a star to watch the ball drop on air.

She came across vapid. Without passion. Empty.

I like Christina. I do.
I like her better on disk, because live she wants to scream a lot and it tends to be without reason. I like my songs with lyrics--rather than trying too hard with vibrado and all that, or
(as described on American Idol about Jennifer Hudson) having too much "gospel jaw".
But I digress.

I may try to create small talk with co-workers. Less and less these days, but on occasion I might ask what their interests are.
Here's a snippet of a recent conversation:

Me: So, what kind of things do you like to do outside work?

20-something co-worker: (blank stare)

Me: You know, do you go to school or anything?

20SCW: (answer usually in the affirmative and usually something general like business)

Me: And what else interests you?

20SCW: Um....I work out.

I can't tell you how many times I've had that conversation.
I'm with Pink.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

I admit it: I'm an Apprentice junkie

It's somewhat ironic that I'm addicted to this show. I always have thought of myself as anti-big business, anti-corporate antics.
But I love the show.

This is what I don't get though (and I say this while knowing I am not perfectly skilled grammatically. I hope I at least have some command of the English language). I mean, these candidates are supposedly the best and the brightest. These are CEOs, Harvard alumni, attorneys...

Here are some snippets of conversation spoken by the two team leaders.
I really liked Heidi, the team leader of the winning side, until this came out of her mouth:
"someone else could have went."

Uh, English 101, Heidi. Gone versus went. Simple, really.

Then Frank, the brash, groveling team leader of the losing side:
"(he) could have gave a little more" and "if a landslide had blew me (over)".

Uh, again, remedial English sir. Given. Blown.

It's embarrassing.
Sorry, I had to mention it because it's a pet peeve.
Like when people say "I seen" when it should be "saw". That drives me nuts.

Okay, off my soapbox now....

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pajama Bags

Jen just did a post about pajamas, and it got me to thinking about pajama bags.
I mean, you don't really see these anymore.

Or at least they're not as popular as they once were.
But then they (sometimes) doubled as hot water bottle holders, or clothespin bags...and we no longer need those.

I had a hand-me-down dog pajama bag, but according to old patterns I've seen on ebay and by googling, the idea has been around since at least 1910.
It seems to have been most popular around the 50's and 60's.
Either that, or those are the patterns more often available.

I tried to look up info on the history, and couldn't find anything, other than a new pattern for a ladybug design that says,
"Pajama bags are a great way to help a child start the day with a 'touch' of being organized and picking up for themselves."

Or a site selling a new poodle bag with a similar message:
"Moms love this pajama bag as much as girls do because it helps keep the bedroom tidy".

I see Soule Mama has tote bag versions for her two boys.

And Sweet Pea Designs made a doll version.

The Giving Flower made a Clifford bag.

I posted my lambie pattern from the 40's previously.

This Puppy Dog is another pattern I have.
Puppy Pajama Bag
The description says it's a pattern for a stuffed toy or a pajama case.
There is no date listed (I hate that!), but the price was only 35 cents, so it was published a while ago.

I plan to make a little boy I know a version in yellow minkee so it resembles his Doggie Duke. You guys all know that guy.

More ideas/free patterns:

Another dog version.

Ooh, super cute Bagpuss (he's a British cartoon kitty)

Also, here's a pattern for a bag made from a pillowcase.

another lady bug, but this one is a knitting pattern.

a no-sew dinosaur for kids to make.

And of course, a classic entry about the dreaded clown case from Threadbared.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Photo Friday

Eek, I have misplaced some photobooth shots I was going to post...
So today I give you a young Woof Nanny in granny dress.
Granny dress, late-60's


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ah, size really does matter!

Have you seen the new Pottery Barn catalog?
Evidently old is new again.
Do you remember the Brady Bunch had a big wooden fork and spoon set on their wall? Well, it's a bit modernized now, but it's baaaack.
What's up with that?!
Geez, for that price I'd rather go to ebay and get one from the 70's with a tiki on it.

Well, I'm not diggin' a huge fork and spoon, but 18-inch clothespins, on the other hand...
Now these are cool.

I wonder if they have heard of Claes Oldenburg?

I mentioned this same artist last year.

For fun, more works by Oldenburg here
(I like the buried bicycle.)


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Calico Cats and Orange Toms

Also from the magazine I posted from yesterday, Quilt World Omnibook, summer 1988.
Cat designs made from leftover fabric scraps.
"From fabric scraps to calico cats!"
A lap quilt:
Calico Cats and Orange Toms Quilt

Also a cute tote bag and pillows: (click on image to enlarge)
Scrap Cat Bag and Pillow


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I just started a group on called Sewing with Neckties.
So, if you have any photos of items you've made with neckties,
or ideas you've seen in magazines, etc....
please feel free to post them here.

Here're a few to get you started:
These are all from Quilt World Omnibook, summer 1988.
Men's ties quilt

What I love about sewing with men's ties is the fabrics are often fun novelty prints that capture the decade.
Some ties from the 40's are hand-painted tiny works of art--which is why some people collect vintage ties and think people like me who cut them up are desecrating something holy.
I believe what I (and others) create from these items are also works of art, plus we recycle items that might otherwise be in a landfill. Too, from our attention to the items, we are bringing about another form of recognition.

Necktie quilts are often memorial quilts, using what were once a man's item of clothing to remember his life.
One of the few books still in print about sewing with neckties, is Daddy's Ties, by Shirley Botsford.

Note the fun border on these:
Necktie Quilts

More necktie quilts

Family Ties Quilt


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!
It's my favorite time of year--fresh year, clean slate, and an endless supply of new possibilities and opportunities.

I did my most favorite thing this morning--got up, snuggled under a blanket, and watched the Rose Parade.
I adore the parade.
Some day I'll see it live.

I'm hoping this year brings me a new job, and a better income so I'm not struggling so much.
One with a brighter environment in which to thrive--maybe coworkers that respect me and vice versa.
Wow, what a concept.
But I know it's out there just waiting for me.
Like a good man....but I'll tackle one goal at a time (grin).

Above is an amazing photo of Duke I somehow captured on a misty morning several months ago. I surprised Duke's owners with the image matted and framed for a Christmas present.
It turned out beautifully.
I must have spent two hours going through mat board colors until it felt just right. I'm glad the graphics place was patient with me.

I hope your year is starting out in a favorable way.
Let's try to motivate one another to finish all those PIGS
(as Amy calls them).

That's Projects In Grocery Sacks, haha.
I have way too many of those!

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