Saturday, June 30, 2007

Baking Fun

How freakin' cute are these Knit Night cupcakes by Vegan Yum Yum.

She even has a tutorial on how to knit marizipan.

Rubik's Cake, by Nicole of Baking Bites.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Photobooth Friday

It's Fair time!
I'll be going back on Tuesday, and will step inside this time...

but just seeing these booths lined up, banners fluttering...
little short blue curtains that never really cover enough...
funky background scenes we never opt to use...

it's magical.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fun fabrics

I am just gaga over Anna Maria Homer designs.
Her newest line is for Free Spirit called Bohemian.

You can download this quilt pattern that uses her fabrics, on the Free Spirit website.

I also love her Spring line, Lollipop

This all may be old news to you.
Shoot, only today I ordered my first Heather Ross Fabric--the goldfish in bags.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Sailor Jacket
Lovely thrift find today, 50 cents.
No date listed.
I love the illustrations.

I have been back-to-back dog-sitting, but will be doing a whole bunch of sewing later this week....
so new stuff to post shortly.

In the mean time,
I posted pics from another of my Japanese Craft Books on my purse blog tonight.
I update that blog all the time, so be sure to check it out!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Homemade Dog Toys

I would be remiss were I not to bring my crafty side together with my love of dogs.
Here are some ideas for making your own toys.

Always supervise your dog while they are chewing or playing.

Awesome braided fleece tug toy.

A friend of mine who is into fly ball uses these with her dogs (she makes them really long too).
They last a long time and are great fun.
You can also attach a Frisbee or tennis ball on the ends too, for added enjoyment.

Here's a similar toy made from dishtowels.

Tennis ball on a rope.

Great freebie ideas with paper towel rolls, empty plastic bottles, etc.
Here's even more ideas.

Evidently a sliced basketball filled with something that rolls around, makes a fun game.
Even if it's just kibble.
Here's an idea using a sliced tennis ball.

Ideas for what to stuff in a Kong toy.
I personally use a combination of biscuit pieces and peanut butter, then freeze the whole thing.
Ah, hours of loving attention!


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Daily Happenings...

Sorry for my lack of regular posts lately.
I have had back-to-back dog-sitting jobs, so I haven't been home to scan photos.
I have lots of ideas to post about, especially to the purse blog.

Ooh, I dyed my hair today!

A few weeks ago, I had my hair pulled back, and when I went to pick up my mom so we could attend an event together, rather than greeting me, she gasped.

"What happened to your hair?"

Translation: when did you get some gray?

Well, gasps are not acceptable.

As much as I like my natural strawberry blonde, it is getting a bit ashy as I get older.
And I just don't look good with highlights anymore.
Back in the day, I was pretty blonde, but now highlights make me look pale.

So I told my stylist to just do whatever he wanted (other than cutting too much of the length).
Low lights, the same shade, darker...whatever.

He chose darker. It's auburn now.
Almost a brown with red highlights.
I like it.

He also layered it more (I said I wanted it like Carmen Electra). (I couldn't find an image with all of Carmen's gorgeous layers, but this is about my color now)

I think he could have cut more, but I really like that he always veers to the conservative.
Nothing worse than having too much cut.
I'm not willing to let him bring up the length.
Not yet anyway, though it would be so much thicker if I did.
Anymore, I just let it air dry--I don't do squat with my hair.

I wish I had gotten rid of bangs years ago.
We (my stylist and I) were joking about how my bangs used to react to humidity (frizz and Frankenstein up).
I said when I went on dates I'd be thinking,
"please don't go to the beach...please don't go to the beach..."

He said, yeah, you can just tell them you're allergic to fog.
Ha! so true.

What else is happening?
Well, some old friends have resurfaced and we may mend fences.
That would be nice.

And the San Diego County Fair is in town!
I've already been once, and I'll certainly go again.
Fair Fun
More to come...

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Photo Friday

I have this fascination with cone-shaped items, especially in terms of containers or presents.
I recently started a collection of photographs of school cones.
I posted about this previously, here.

In this photo, what fascinates me most are the posters in the background.
This photo originated in Germany.
Vintage photo school cone

One of my favorite bloggers is Claudia of Little English Mirror, who happens to live in Germany.
I asked Claudia to translate for me.

"About your photo:
One hint regarding the time the photo was taken might indeed be the posters in the background.
The one on the right reads (on the bottom) "Volksbühne", which is a quite famous theatre in Berlin. This poster announces the burlesque play "DerTalisman" by Nestroy.
The one in the middle announces "Die Weber", a drama by Gerhart Hauptmann.
I can't make out the writing on the left poster other than, again, "Volksbühne".
Fortunately, the Volksbühne Berlin provides the repertoires of the plays from 1914 until today on its homepage, so I checked out the seasons for matches, and - voila! -in 1957/1958 they performed both plays.

One thing that doesn't really fit is the fact that the new school year began after Easter, not after the summer holidays as it is today. This might mean that the photo was taken on school enrollment day 1958 and the posters had just not been taken off on that day.

Ha, now that's what I consider a satisfying research.

By the way, the girl on the photo seems very small --or the cone very large ;-)

I don't remember the cone ("Schultüte") I got for my school enrollment (I guess it was a kind of glossy dark red with stickers), but I surely got one."

Here's another one.
Note the cone is decorated with what looks to be my name -Barb-, hence why I like this one.
This photo is dated 1944.
Girl with School Cone


Monday, June 18, 2007

Sewing with towels

I'm away from my scanner so I'm limited with what I can post.
Hopefully I'm not repeating these images.

The current theme on The Purse Project is beach bags.
I mean, 'tis the season and all.
But a girl needs a cute bikini cover-up too, right?

How about beach coats made from towels?
I love sewing with towels.
Beach coat from a towel
I wish I had more information about which magazine this was published in.
I assume it's from the 60's.

How about mother-daughter coats made from Turkish towels?
Turkish Towel Beach Coats

Or here's a groovy beach robe, 1967.
Beach Robe Pattern, 1967


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Adoring Isabel

Mary Ann has been repeatedly generous to me.
She has sent items with purpose (for my birthday or Christmas), and she has also sent items on a whim...'just because'.
She has sent handmade cards, manila envelopes jam-packed with collage materials, charms and trinkets, wire bookmarks I love, a fabric flower, a killer ornament...

But this time she stopped me in my tracks.
She even told me she'd send it, yet still I was shocked.
She sent me a May Day Cone.
I have this thing for cones.
This is a bird in a nest in a cone-shaped basket.

I have tried and tried to get a good photo of the adorable pink birdie she mailed, with the glittering collage and the long feather tail...

A bird her daughter lovingly named Isabel.

But without a good camera I just can't capture the image.
So here's a wee birdie of similar style available for sale on her website

I can't fully express how much I adore Isabel.
I utterly, completely treasure this.
Mary Ann said she made this specifically for me.
I'll just let the picture explain my adoration.
Thank you so so much, Mary Ann.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 15, 2007

Photo Friday

Dog in the window, 1956
Though it's dark, I just love this image.
Dog looking out a window, Germany, 1956.
ebay purchase.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'd love to hear your ideas!

A co-worker asked me if I'd make her ring pillow for her wedding.
Not wanting anything typical, I'm trying to come up with something really wonderful.
Do you have any websites or ideas for me?

One idea I have is to sew a ruffle from sparkly organza or tulle and fill it with silk rose petals, confetti, or personalized M&M's (their favor).
Shoot, even rice or birdseed might be fun.
Or glitter. The bride is a sparkly type.

Another is to make the Amy Butler flower pillow.
But I'd have to make it on a smaller scale.

Another is collage the couple's photos onto fabric and make a pillow from that.

The bride is overwhelmed with having to choose.
I just want to submit great ideas to her.
I mean, pillows are a breeze to make--it's wild how expensive they are.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Vintage Ad

Lady's man

ha! Master Rules?

from Smart Sewing Magazine, 2nd edition, 1950


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Apron/Embroidery love

If you enjoy aprons and/or embroidery, Gina has a new blog featuring her amazing collection of vintage loveliness.
Find it here.

Also, Floresita has Vintage Transfer Finds, featuring some really unique designs.

Labels: , ,

An evening with Annie

My mom wanted to attend a gardening lecture last night, so I drove her to the event.
I figured a lecture had to be dry, right?
But I figured I'd go so my mom could be there.

Dry? Not even close.

The speaker was Annie Hayes from Annie's Annuals, a company in Northern California devoted to providing "rare, unusual annuals & perennial plants, including cottage garden heirlooms & hard to find California native wildflowers".

Annie is passionate and full of life.
So filled with a sense of wonder and joy.
She was giddy about her flowers, and had really interesting information about how species are being changed so they look good in the stores in their little four-inch pots, but how in nature they are actually three feet tall, undulate in the wind, and have a wonderful charm.

The manufactured hybrid dwarf varieties she calls "boinks".
All trendy in your garden, boink-boink-boink.
Dumb little blobs.
No character. No charm.

Her acreage though boy, now that's charm.
"Girly-licious", she calls it.

With an impish grin, she says, "Don't you stay up late on the internet looking at plants? I do. It's plant porn."

No wonder at her parties, there are helium balloons tied to plants that are wearing fake nose and glasses.
I'd like to go to one of those parties some day.

Cottage gardens are densely planted, lots of species and colors thrown together.
Beautiful. Shabby chic, as it were.
She has lots of varieties from South Africa, where evidently there are so many species of wildflowers, they have yet to discover them all.

I didn't catch the quote verbatim, but to paraphrase, she said,
"The world is so Starbucked. So matchy-matchy. And you go into the garden, and it's so unaffected. And there are so many magical things."


Monday, June 11, 2007


Jen totally surprised me with yet another package of goodies.
Sole Mate
This is a stocking for lost socks...get it? Sole mate?
OMG--is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?

I only had my scanner, so you can't see the cute long, skinny sock quality,
the pointy toe, the red bias trim at the top.
Made all the more appropriate with personals ads fabric to go with my, ahem, bitching to her about not having a boyfriend right now.
I LOVE this.

The background orange is the mailing envelope (that's how amazingly detailed she is), and check out the gift tag!
Incredible. I am full-on stealing that idea.

But that was only the beginning.
More goodies from Jen
Recommended reading, two bookmarks, one of her cute Jen cards, and a Spanish card game that may work well for collage if I can stand to mess with it.
Jen would be great at scrapbooking, at competition table-setting, maybe even event planning. She's very detail-oriented.
I respect that.

And still there's more
Gifts from Jen
A book about Cascarones, or confetti eggs--a traditional Mexican festivity that fascinates me.
The book also includes instructions to make a quilt (how perfect is that?!)
In my haste, I forgot to scan the quilt info, but there are templates and everything.
She said the book screamed my name, and that is too true.
Also new copies of two magazines she keeps recommending to me.
Awesome. A million times over--awesome.

Thank you my friend.

This gift was a total surprise. Jen has already sent me tons of items for our swap.
I suck--I still owe her a bunch of stuff (ahem, and Catrina, and Kelli...)
Don't worry, I always come through eventually.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Creative cake

I'm totally out of the loop on this...the results are in and the contest is way over. Actually, I'm not sure if it's over.
The site crashes my computer or I'd give more info.
Maybe someone can give me an update.

But it's still so cute I thought I'd mention it.
(besides, my scanner is at home, and I'm no new pics to share).

I watch, as I've mentioned, Ace of Cakes, so I know you can make ANY design in frosting and fondant.
It's the coolest thing ever.

Here's an entry cake (from blogger A Muffin Story) to the Threadcakes contest--a challenge to make the best cake based on one of the Threadless tee shirt designs.

This cake is based on the Insomnia tee:

Read about it here.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Photo Friday

Having a street artist sketch my portrait, in Cannes, France many years ago.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Miscellaneous favs

It's funny how my tastes in blogs have changed.
A year ago, I was all about crafty blogs.
Now I gravitate more to foodie blogs.
But I always appreciate open introspection and excellent writing.

My favorite writing in a blog: a tie between Hula Seventy and Aubrey's Blog
Favorite foodie blog: Baking Bites
I'm not going to go there with the crafty blogs, but I will say I don't even read the blogs that were my favorites last year anymore. Go figure.

My favorite fast food place right now (it's addicting): Chick-fil-A

My favorite TV show: Ace of Cakes (in part because Duff is adorable)
Second favorite show right now: So You Think You Can Dance (I considered following that dream once upon a time...)

Favorite book: The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason
Favorite CD: Rock Spectacle, by Bare Naked Ladies (also Live in Tokyo by the Mighty Diamonds, and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)

Favorite city I have visited so far: Boston
Dream travel location: Tahiti

What I most love to do going out: listening to live music.
Bonus if a flair bartender is there.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Apron info

Dressing up work: the apron diaries, is an art installation involving women's work and aprons.

Threaded Pear is an indie company that has four retro-style apron patterns out on the market. I actually saw these at a quilt shop (the company also sells quilt patterns).

Drool-worthy aprons at, where else?, Anthropologie.


Please reply

I've gotten a couple emails lately, from people frustrated that I have not replied to previous letters.
One lady forwarded her first letter with a request that I please reply already.
I hadn't received the original letter.

Another lady said that I represent myself on my blog as someone who replies, so why then did I not respond to her letter.
First of all, I DID respond. That same day I received the request.

The one drawback to email, is that without receipt software, one never knows where these letters go.
My reply evidently wound up in her spam file, or perhaps it's lost in cyberspace with all the rest of my emails to my friend Brandie (she thought I was mad at her and ignoring her recently).
I could pick up the phone and straighten things out with Brandie, but it's not always possible with blog friends.

So actually, I'm thankful that the ones who thought I snubbed them had the courage to ask me again.

That being said, I know I don't always reply to all my comments on my blogs.
With regulars, I hope they know I appreciate them already. I reply to some.
I rarely if ever reply in my own comments section--I find that a dreadful practice.

With others, your address to me probably comes up 'non-reply'.
That means I get notification of your comment, but without an address to respond back to.
And I usually can't reply on your blogs, at least when I'm home, because my old computer and beta just don't get along.
I don't know how it works with Typepad or others, but if you have a blog with blogger, please go into your profile and check the box that says 'show my email address'. Read more here.

But I really DO try to be courteous and considerate.
I do not mean to misrepresent myself.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mail from my Fairy Blog Mother

I had to smile when Vallen described Mary Ann as
her "Fairy Blog Mother".
That is a perfect title.

Yet more goodies have appeared in my mailbox.
Goodies from my fairy blogmother

Thank you so much, Mary Ann, for thinking of me.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 04, 2007


(click to enlarge)

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Magic in a meal

The older I get, the more I have come to realize that the essence of this life is in the connections we make with other people.

I mean, you don't have to go out and cure cancer or solve world poverty to give your life worth.
All you have to do is touch one person.
Just one.
And more than likely, you've already done that.

But the joy I find in day-to-day living is often tied to small gestures--
sharing cups of tea with a good friend, for example.
There's something about hot drinks and good conversation that is just all emotionally warm and fuzzy.

Or there's joy in what I want to call breaking bread (though that is actually a religious term).
I mean there's magic in dining together.

I met a new client the other night. Let me preface this by saying I don't advertise--I don't need to.
I work word-of-mouth, get booked over a year in advance, and taking on new clients that are referred by people I know cuts down on the 'creep factor'

Anyway, I figured this meeting was going to be a quick, "here's the dog food, here's the house key, oh--and nice to meet you".
It must be so odd to turn over ones home to, for all intents and purposes, a complete stranger for several weeks. But I digress.

Well, it turned into three hours of a lovely evening.

They invited me to dine with them--literally just welcomed me into the home.
The client's mother was visiting from Portugal--a little grandmother, her identity all tied up into family and food.
And the meal was AMAZING.

The grandma made a steamed chicken, infused with garlic, set atop a bed of carrots, asparagus, and broccoli.
The flavor was surreal.

Then the plates were cleared, and out came little ramekins of fresh fruit.
The lady who hired me said her mom cut fruit for two hours that afternoon.
After that, flan.
"Bom", the grandma was saying (meaning 'good').

Then, tea.
But not just any tea.
Tea that had been plants the grandma brought over from Portugal.
A homegrown and homemade tea, with raw sugar, hot in glass mugs, to aid digestion.

I can't fully explain the wonderfulness of it.
All I know is that is what life is all about--that sharing, that welcoming, that warmth.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Thrifted quilt

Wow, look what I found while thrifting the other day!

They labeled it a child's quilt, but I'd call it a lap throw, or a great picnic blanket.
Handmade patchwork of Hawaiian fabrics
Hawaiian Quilt side 1
(click on image to enlarge)

Different fabrics on both sides
Hawaiian Quilt side 2

It was at a little hole-in-the-wall thrift shop that keeps its fabrics stuffed in drawers, rolled up, and taped.
I knew this one was special right away.

Thriftstore price: $3.50

I got other goodies too--check it out here.

Labels: ,