Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Fine Frenzy

I'm obsessed with You Tube lately. I think I'll start posting a video each week.
Maybe I'll start Video Sunday.
Some known stuff (like this one that is on VH-1's current top 20 countdown), but also more obscure stuff or older stuff.
Just for fun.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Goodness around Blog Land

A really creative take on a tee shirt quilt (usually you see large squares of identical size), by Tiboutoo.
(click on image to go to her Flickr page)

sewn to the batting and backing
Originally uploaded by tiboutoo

Or here's another blanket made from tees, this one with small squares.
This is by Anna (aka Uninorth 13).

Geek blanket
Originally uploaded by uninorth13

I like the idea of using parts of words, versus just the central logo or whatever.

Are you IN, or are you OUT?
The new season of Project Runway airs November 14, but you can get your fix and all the scoop about the designers and happenings at Laura's blog--
it's called Blogging Project Runway.
Laura, of Rick Rack Ruby, started BPR, and it has been so successful, she know hosts contributing writers. Congrat's Laura!

Eyeball Pincushion
visual tutorial on Flickr, is made with hand-stitched felt and a bottlecap.

One of my friends sent me a link to a weird website called
Cats that Look Like Hitler.
It's similar to Cute Overload, except it just has pics of cats kittehs who look like Spoony here (ya gotta love Spoony's little "bangs")
My favorite so far is Randolph (who looks more like Salvador Dali to me)

Make an Astro Weenie Pineapple

Corkboard wall pocket tutorial on Craft Apple.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Photo Friday

Real photo postcard, girl with faux seagull
Real photo postcard, circa 1916,
the boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I collect seagull images (mostly photographs, but also ceramics).
Seagulls epitomize where I live and my love of the ocean.
This postcard is an ebay purchase.

This seagull appears to be a taxidermy one, or a fake one.
Despite that eewww factor, the photograph itself is lovely.
The lace-up shoes, the twig bench, the painted sea scene in the background, the beret in her lap...

It seems fitting to post another excerpt from Kitchen Table Wisdom.
This story is called "The Wood-of-No-Names" (page 70)

"Just before she meets with Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Alice enters the wood-of-no-names and encounters a fawn. Neither the fawn nor Alice can remember their names. No matter. They walk a ways together, 'Alice, with her arms clasped lovingly around the soft neck of the Fawn,' until they come to the edge of the wood. Once there, the fawn suddenly remembers its name and looks at Alice with horror. 'I'm a Fawn!' it cries out, 'and, dear me! you're a human child!' Terrified, it runs away.

As a child I spent many summers alone on a deserted beach on Long Island, gathering shells, digging for little clams, leading a far different life than the city life I led the rest of the year. Day after day, I watched everything, developing an eye for change in all its subtlety. The rest of the year in New York City, I did not look directly at anyone I did not know and did not talk to strangers.

There was great peace in those summers and a new ability to be without people and yet not alone. I have many good memories of that time. Every morning the sea would wash up new treasures--pieces of wood from sunken boats, bits of glass worn smooth as silk, the occasional jellyfish. Once I even found a pair of glasses with only one lens left in them. Some of the most vivid of these memories concerned the beautiful white birds that flew constantly overhead. I remember how their wings would become transparent when they passed between me and the sun. Angel wings. I remember how my heart followed them and how much I too wanted wings to fly.

Many years later I had the opportunity to walk this same beach. It was a great disappointment. Bits of seaweed and garbage littered the shoreline, and there were sea gulls everywhere, screaming raucously, fighting over the garbage and the occasional dead creature the sea had given up.

Disheartened, I drove home and was halfway there before I realized that the gulls were the white birds of my childhood. The beach had not changed. The sacred lives beyond labels and judgment, in the wood-of-no-names."

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Paolo Nutini

What I've been singing loudly in my car.
I can't get enough of this song.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Suffering is intimately connected to wholeness." (page 114)

I'm a firm believer in being honest--both with yourself, and with others.
Meaning to show yourself in true form.
Putting yourself out there to the world and to others is an act of faith,
but a worthwhile one.

Several bloggers opt to only talk about happy subjects on their blogs.
That's their prerogative, of course, but I don't find it genuine.
Like I used to tell an ex-boyfriend, this isn't the Comedy Channel.
There are ups and downs, sadness and joy, anger and calm...
and it's all our experiences, our realities...
and our growth.

ALL of it.

It really is true that struggles and obstacles build character and showcase integrity.

That being said, I want to offer up a few words of wisdom
(from Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, and her lovely book,
Kitchen Table Wisdom).
These words are spoken to a certain someone, but placed here because you all might enjoy and benefit.
Because it really is okay to say you're afraid, or confused, or lost.
Because it's okay to express your vulnerabilities.

"Often times of crisis are times of discovery, periods when we cannot maintain our old ways of doing things and enter into a steep learning curve. Sometimes it takes crisis to initiate growth." (page 110).

"Avoiding pain, we may linger in the vicinity of our wounds, sometimes for many years, gathering the courage to experience them." (page 77)

"Those who don't love themselves as they are rarely love life as it is either. Most people have come to prefer certain of life's experiences and deny and reject others, unaware of the value of the hidden things that may come wrapped in plain or even ugly paper. In avoiding all pain and seeking comfort at all cost, we may be left without intimacy or compassion; in rejecting change and risk we often cheat ourselves of the quest; in denying our suffering we may never know our strength or our greatness. Or even that the love we have been given can be trusted.

It is natural, even instinctive to prefer comfort to pain, the familiar to the unknown. But sometimes our instincts are not wise. Life usually offers us far more than our biases and preferences will allow us to have. Beyond comfort lie grace, mystery, and adventure. We may need to let go of our beliefs and ideas about life in order to have life.
(page 75)

And this, according to Talmudic teaching, "we do not see things as they are. We see them as we are." (page 77)


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Getting to where I want to be

I watched the movie "Last Holiday" last night, starring Queen Latifah.

There are so many stupid things about this movie, but I want to talk about the parts that are so interestingly valid.

In the movie, she has a handmade 'Possibilities' book.
This is a great idea for any of us.
It's a book of visions.
A journal of hopes and dreams and ideas...
magazine clippings, photographs, sketches...
it's a visual document of where and who you aim to be.

I think we all should have a visual record and reminder of our possibilites.

At the end of the movie, she changes the album cover--she takes a piece of paper and covers over 'Possibilities' and renames the album 'Realities'.
That's the point of can actually get there and make your dreams come true.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Just a quick note to say my computer crashed again
(my brother did something...)

I'm at the library typing this right now, but bear with me as I'm in and out of different houses and may or may not have daily access.


Also, I've mentioned this previously, but it's worth bringing up again.

I get notification from Blogger when I get comments on this blog, and I prefer to email people directly versus commenting back on my own blog.
Hello, I visit tons of blogs, and I'm sure you do too.
How are you going to know to come back here to see if I responded to your comment?

Anyway, often I cannot reply to you because your comment comes up 'no reply'
(meaning your email address is blocked).
You can easily remedy this situation by going into your profile and checking the box that says 'show my email address'.
Read more here.

More info here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


This morning I picked up the phone, as I have done countless times since forever, and I dialed 853-1212.
Instead of "at the tone, Pacific Standard time will be..."
I got a message saying that as of September 19, the time service will no longer be in effect.
It's like a piece of my childhood vanished or something.
I mean, some things you just expect will always be there.

Yes, I have a clock, but I like to verify it every once and awhile.

But speaking of jolts of childhood angst,
the weekend before last was my high school reunion.
It was held at the Hard Rock Cafe in La Jolla.

I didn't attend.

As much as I loved high school, reunions are all about show-and-tell, and
"look how far I've come"...
and, honestly, I don't have anything to say.

I don't mean to be dour here but, no home, no husband, no kids, no great job doesn't bode well.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in myself as a person...
I just don't look good on paper, as it were.

What has been interesting though, is that a few people have contacted me,
saying they missed me.
And photos of the event have been online to browse through.

This is all churning up all sorts of strange emotions in me.

I dug a bit into storage and pulled out a few pics of memory lane.
I still have boxes of old diaries to sort through.
I can't even fathom the drama recorded in there, but I'm looking forward to finding out what I had to say.

Me, the last day of 9th grade after a whipped cream attack.
Note the fuzzy 110 camera.
Uh, yeah, I just dated myself with that comment.
Whipped Creamed

Sophomore year, a sort-of modeling pose shot by some guy at my church.
Me as a sophomore in high school
An artist friend of mine at the time later copied this in charcoal.
I took it to another friend to get framed and never got it back.
I still know the framer, so I'll have to retrieve it.
Kind-of a fun thing to have.

Swim Team Float cruising down Casa de Oro in Spring Valley.
I can't remember what grade this was (junior?).
It is amazing how many details I have forgotten.
Swim Team Float
(click on pic and 'all sizes' for zoom)

I'm seated in the center with my mouth open.
I was no doubt yelling some cheer.
By senior year I was up for 'most school spirit', but lost out to a cheerleader.
I never did make the cheer squad, sigh.

Modern Dance summer show "the Train".
Modern Dance negative print
(again, click on pic then on 'all sizes' above pic on Flickr page to zoom)

This is just a print off the negative, but I'm on the far right in the dark leotard.
That leotard rocked--it was navy blue and a wrap style.
Modern dance at my school was a huge big deal.
I was the first person at the school to dance with a guy at the annual show.
We got a standing ovation.
He and I used to win all sorts of awards at under-21 clubs at the time
(Journey, for those of you who were there back in the day).

Good times. Literally.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

More cake charms

Remember when I posted recently about the Fortune Telling Cake Set?

Well, Amy had a great idea that I should frame it.
I thought it might be fun to surround it with even more charms, so I bought another set.

This set is from Canada, and does not include the fortunes or symbolism.
But look how fun!
Fortune Telling Cake Set

charms 2
(click on image to enlarge)

charms 3 (canadian)
(note the Canadian charms)

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

More goodies

Sorry if it bores some of you, but I just have to share more of the fun stuff I've found today.
Like this amazing sculpture of two spilled cups, kissing.
"The form and concept design fully complement the theme “Yuanyang” (a typical Hong Kong beverage of mixing tea and coffee), a symbol of marriage and love, with a touch of humour for artistic creation."
I found this on Freshome.

Whimsical upside-down house. (link includes a video)

Bird-shaped clothes pins, from Bodie and Fou (as seen on Retro To Go).

Expensive because they're in the UK, but perhaps could you MAKE some of these?
I love getting inspiration from ads and catalogs.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I was cruising Google images tonight, looking for ideas for my amulet bag, and also for a little boys tee I'll be appliqueing soon.

I think I stumbled upon my dream couch!
(found on a fun website called Retro To Go).
Oh is made from a cast iron bathtub.
That is creative genius recycling right there.
I LOVE it!
It's from Reestore.

On the same site, the Trolley Chair (love that British phrasing)
Yep, a chair structured from a grocery shopping cart.

Or how about traffic light pendant lamps?
From Greenlight Concepts.

Stuff like this just makes me giddy--I would love to work in green design in some capacity.
It thrills me.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sew with Cotton Bags

I picked up a fun little recycling booklet, dated 1941, about sewing items from cloth flour and sugar bags
Sew with cotton bags booklet, 1941

Make aprons to curtains--the ideas are quite creative
Sewing with cotton bags
(click to enlarge. 'all sizes' will zoom image)

Though these cloth bags aren't as prevalent as they once were, I've noticed them in my grocery store again.
Or think about recycling pillowcases and other linens, or reuse the fabric from clothing.
Items to make from sugar and flour bags

More items to make from sugar and  flour bags

Recycling is not only environmentally sound, but it can be sentimental to use items from a friend or a family member.
Fabric from childhood clothing holds dear memories, along with grandma's favorite pants, etc.

When my grandmother passed away, I was in the 9th grade and it caught me by surprise.
I was too distraught to think clearly enough to save a pair of pants she always wore--white with red bicycles.
I have always regretted not keeping those pants.
It's interesting where our sentiments lie--sometimes in seemingly insignificant items and moments.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Nice Matters

I was bestowed the Nice Matters Award by Melanie of Jellybean Angel.

This award was conceived by Bella Enchanted, to honor influential bloggers.
"This award will be awarded to those that are just nice people , good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!".

Pretty cool, huh?

I am supposed to pass on this award to five bloggers I consider worthy of the honor.
So here are my choices:

First off, Vallen at Queenly Things.
Duh. She's the queen.

Calamity Kim, because she utterly inspires me creatively.

Meresy over at Edge Effect, which is basically a really really good gardening blog, but oh so much more.

Mary Ann at A Very Mary Design, because she is so wonderfully generous.

And last but not least, Jessica at Finny Knits, for continually keeping me laughing.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

A kid in a candy store

After two and a half weeks off work, I returned.
It's hard to get back in the rhythm.
My body aches from standing on concrete.

But I do have Saturdays off, so yesterday I did something I haven't done in a ridiculous amount of time--I met a friend for coffee, and then we went shopping.
Funny how what is probably nothing special for the average Jane is really a big deal treat for me.
Even my friend having the entire afternoon available to lounge around with me was a treat!

Seriously, I can't remember the last time I went shopping.

It may have been years (I buy stuff online usually, and I go to thrift stores, but a mall? Rarely if ever).
We met at a small shopping center in the north county.
We caught up over cappuchino-chip smoothies at Panera, and I bought some cinnamon-sugar bagels for later. She ate a panini.
My friend brought her laptop and showed me pics from her recent trip to Zurich, Paris, and Prague.
She's the one with the travel bug who alternates taking trips with her children.
One year she and her daughter go on a trip, then the next year she takes her son. Every third year she and her husband go somewhere--a romantic getaway for just the two of them.
This arrangement works beautifully for them, because they each get one-on-one time with her, and she gets to travel a lot (every three years is fine for her husband).

After the photo journey and lots of laughter, she and I then wandered into little boutiques, oohing and aahing over things.
I loved the luggage tags by Anne Taintor

It says "someone had to set a bad example".
There are several other collaged, retro designs.

I made my first ever trip into Anthropologie.
I felt like an alien from another planet.
It was a candy store.
An entire corner devoted to aprons, oven mitts, and dish towels!!

We explored Z Gallerie, Black & White, Sur La Table, and Tillys.

At Borders, I considered buying Tim Gunn's book, and also Ice Kabobs--ice cube trays for ice shapes on a plastic stick (made by See Fred)

We went to Ulta and I bought some new make-up.
I usually wear Laura Mercier, but I opted to try new brands--Sue Devitt foundation, and for lipstick I bought Purminerals.
I bought a cosmetic brush for the foundation.
They gave me a cute Baby Phat make-up bag.

I spent all my money,
but it was really really fun.

I think of these moments in life as the glue that holds my days together.
Making memories, connecting with good friends....really, it's magic.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Photo Friday

Sorry for my delay in posting--I lost my computer access again.
My brother ran some program on my computer, and now it won't work anymore....


I don't think I've posted this one yet.
Class of 1919
(click on image to enlarge, click on 'all sizes' on the Flickr page to zoom)

This is a Horace Mann grade school photo, dated 1919.

My grandmother "Nanny" (my mom's mom), is in the front row, in the middle, with the white dress and the dark neck scarf.
I think this school may be in Tacoma, Washington, and it may be the 6th grade, because my mom was born only six years later in 1925.

The clothing is fascinating, right down to the huge hair bows.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Fun reading

Jennifer, a writer at the Times Online (the online version of the London Times), was nice enough to email me and let me know one of my archived posts had been linked on their blog,
Alpha Mummy.

As if that isn't cool enough, I started reading some of the articles, and I was laughing out loud.

Hoodie-shaped iPod cover? Who knew?
Ladybug-shaped restroom in Beijing? Cooool....

Plus all the lovely phrases that only the British can pull off.
For example, instead of saying "sneak a cigarette while the kid's aren't looking" she says "light a crafty fag".
I love England.
One of the places in this world where I feel most at home (it's probably a big percentage of this mutt's heritage, so I guess that makes sense).

The people I'm house-sitting for are returning early from their trip to the UK.
The ratio of the pound to the American dollar didn't fall in their favor.
It's really expensive over there right now.

Speaking of reading, please pay a visit to my book blog--the poor thing is so lonely.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fortune Telling Cake Set, 1957

Fortune telling cake set, 1957
(as always, you can click on the image to go to my Flickr page. "All sizes" over the image will allow you to zoom and read the details)

These are charms that were baked into a cake, then the recipient would discover his or her prediction of luck for the coming year.

This idea of finding fortune in a slice of cake is still a feature in many traditions around the world.
During Mardi Gras, for example, The King's Cake includes a bean (representing the baby Jesus). Whoever is fortunate enough to receive the slice with the bean (or coin, or plastic Jesus, etc) is said to have good luck for the rest of the year.

The Victorians added ribbons to the ends of the charms.
The ribbons extended outside the cake slices, and the charms were pulled out (they are called cake pulls).
You can buy modern examples of these charms, usually for wedding cakes.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

I want....

Oh my. Voodoo knives. It just doesn't get much better than this.

And really, this shirt is soooo me.
From Think Geek.

I was in Bristol Farms tonight (about the best grocery store ever, though Whole Foods and Gelsons are great too).
Anyway, they had flavored peanut butter.
Hmmm. I may have to try it in the future.
Dark chocolate, white chocolate, or cinnamon raisin.

Why doesn't anyone sell sugared raisins?
You know, like in Raisin Bran?
I don't want the flakes, I just want the sweetened raisins.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Photo Friday

Vintage photograph, boys 1942
Insanely expressive--such a fun image.
I mean, LOOK at that boo-boo face!
And the cute sailor suit!

This is just a 'found' photo, so its history is unknown.
Writing on the back says Billy and Bobby (Bobby was also known as either Spot, or Spat, or Spar...I can't decipher the handwriting).
It's dated 9-6-42

So many interesting characteristics in the background too--hairbows, brick, pipe smoking, and old car...


The lovely Janet Klein

My mom and I got a treat tonight--Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys were in town.

Aubrey has been raving about Ms. Klein for years, so I was excited to see her scheduled for a free (!) show at the Escondido Performing Arts Center
(go to the next post to see her video. I couldn't get it to edit to this one).

Janet sings music from the 1910's up to 1930.
Fun, upbeat, silly, naughty.
Her band was amazing, and I only saw a small sampling of who backs her up in Hollywood at the Steve Allen Theatre.

On a side note, I suck at sense of direction.
I can't ask a man for directions when I'm lost, because they're forever saying things like "go south at the light".
Give me 'left', 'right', or turn at the Burger King.
South? If I knew which direction South was, I wouldn't be lost.

Anyway, we were trying to get from Escondido to La Mesa.
Meaning we needed to head south and east.
Um, we came home through Ramona.
That means we went north and through curving mountain trails out in the middle of nowhere.
It was my own version of Hell.
I was so happy to get back on the freeway!


Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Learning encaustic

I took another class at Stamping Details recently, this one to learn encaustic techniques.
Encaustic means using wax...basically sealing collages under wax.
We collaged a cardboard book with inspirational images and words.
Encaustic book

This class dealt with blocks of clear wax and three colors of wax, and used only an iron.
One can also work with wax using a paint brush, but that's a more advanced method that we didn't cover in this class.
Learn the foundation first...then experiment.

Normally I don't follow an instructor's sample exactly, but I made an exception this time because I really just wanted to learn how to do this, and I thought her sample would be a good tool to have for future reference.
Here's what I made:
page 1 & 2
(click on the images to enlarge. If you're not familiar with Flickr, there is an area above each image called 'all sizes' that you can click on to get zooms if desired)
page 3 & 4
page 5 & 6

the last page has a three-dimensional butterfly in a window
page 7 & 8
The back of the book has crumpled tissue paper for texture, which is then 'painted' with wax.

I really thought I was going to be head-over-heels for this new (new to me anyway) idea.
It was okay.
I think I'll still play around with it in the future, and I think I'll like it more when the project is more a representation of my own style.

I would prefer real photographs that have meaning for me.
I would prefer a more monocromatic color scheme
(I would never on my own choose pink, blue, and yellow. Way too bright for my tastes).

I purchased a selection of metallic waxes to play around with later.
I think I would like a selection of sepia or terra cotta tones.
There's potential.

Especially when I look at all the amazing things Jennifer Conway makes (here's her etsy shop).
Or the art doll hat that Calamity Kim made, where the paper is all three dimensional by the use of wax as a hardening agent. Nice! (here's Kim's etsy shop).

Also because I won a prize in the class--a full kit of supplies to make another book.

For anyone who lives in San Diego and is interested in learning more about encaustic design, the La Jolla Music and Arts Library (the Athenaeum) is offering two classes for the fall semester that seem very intriguing (see course numbers 66 and 67).
September 10-13 and September 14-16.



Jen let me know that Daiso just opened here in San Diego.
In other words, a Japanese 99 cent store.
Well, actually $1.50 store (the price of most items).

I cruised by there today.
I didn't even try to buy anything, and I still walked out twenty bucks lighter.
See, they have have all kinds of goodies!
Daiso goodies
Office supplies, a tin mini trash can that I thought would be perfect for thread at the sewing machine, nice wooden spoons, hair clips to keep my hair off my neck in this frickin' heat.
Cute strawberry ponytail holders for a little girl I know. Fun gift bags, lots of ceramics to choose from...
Also, lots of beauty supplies, bath stuff, goodies galore.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

The Boat Houses of Encinitas

Boat Houses of Encinitas
(click image to enlarge)
My mom and I were driving through Encinitas the other day (a city in the north county coastal area of San Diego County), and came across the infamous Boat houses.
I squealed with delight and hit the brakes!
I had to grab a photo.
Read more about their history here.

These boat-shaped houses were built by Miles Kellogg in the 1920's from recycled materials (wood salvaged from other buildings).
They are dubbed the S.S. Encinitas, and the S.S. Moonlight (they're above Moonlight Beach).
Boat Houses
I love the quote from Steve McDonald, "When my kids were little I told them these boats were washed ashore by an enormous wave, and that they just decided to make them apartments rather than try to get them back to the water."


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Dog toys

I like to look around and find interesting novelty toys for my doggie clients.
Like this Martini-shaped dog bowl with plush toy olive and mat that looks like a napkinAvailable at a variety of locations, but I like Best Friends General Store (ebay).

Or how about the skull-shaped toy for your doggie pirate?
Available at Punk Rock Dogg.

One of the most successful gifts I've ever given, the Windy Babble Ball.

It, um, farts. And talks.
"Ouch! That was a good one!"
Yep, hours of fun. Though the paint color comes off quickly, and it's really a hard ball, it's still a fun toy.
More for the people than the dog actually.
Google it, but here's one source.

And bowling pins for dogs.

Two sizes, lots of sources, including ebay.
Here's one place.

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