Monday, March 31, 2008

Ideas and Inspiration around Blogland

I just discovered the blog Moonstitches, and have found so many amazing things there--like this strawberry-shaped bag.
Another view here.

Owl pennant Tutorial on Moonstitches (thanks Wendy).

Other blog goodness includes the loving writing of Aubrey: A nest flies away.

Finny swears off Nutella.

I've seen recycled plastic bags that have been crocheted, and I've seen bags that have been fused, but this is the first time I've seen plastic bag animals (thanks Cynthia).

Cute birdcage pattern for embroidery (free download by Ottobre).

Walking Giants.

Oh geez, I just realized I'm posting this on April Fool's Day.
Well, here're some fun food ideas (from Brownie Points) if you're looking to fool someone.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Video Sunday

Only slightly more than an hour until Sunday, so I'm going to post this now.

This is goosebumps good.

Chris Cornell, the incomparable voice of Soundgarden, Audioslave, and (my favorite) Temple of the Dog,
singing Billie Jean.
This song appears on Cornell's solo album, Carry On.

I became aware of this version of Michael Jackson's hit, after hearing David Cook's rendition on last week's American Idol.
Cook's version is also excellent.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Photo Friday

Dad and his pals, 1930's
(click on image to enlarge)
My dad (in the center) and his buddies from Coronado High.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

In the mood...

Calamity Kim posted one of these vintage mood barometers recently.
In my typical impulse fashion, I HAD to have one for myself,
so I bought one on eBay.
Vintage Mood Barometer
Isn't it fun?!

EBay has made some changes recently that I'm not crazy about.
I really need to wean myself off the site.

While I was at it, I picked up this "Bazaar Boutique Items" pattern, dated 1966.
Bazaar Boutique Items, 1966
Vintage Accessories Pattern, 1966
The items are all identified on my Flickr page.
I love finding vintage accessories patterns like this.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Honestly, must the audience on American Idol always do that stupid synchronized wave thing?
I just wanna barf.


Sunday, March 23, 2008


Saturday, here in San Diego, 150 Marines returned from a seven-month tour of duty in Iraq.
Among them were Marines who were reunited with seven puppies they had rescued from the war zone, as well as Marine Major Brian Dennis, who was reunited with a german shepard mix he named Nubs.

When Nubs was a puppy, an Iraqi man sliced off his ears in an effort to make the dog more alert and tough.
Hence, the name Nubs, in reference to what is left of his ears.
The dog ran wild in the desert until forming a special bond with Major Dennis, who also nursed the dog back to health after it was stabbed with a screwdriver.

When the camp moved 70 miles away, Nubs somehow managed to follow.
But dog companions aren't allowed in camp, so Major Dennis enlisted the help of friends in San Diego to raise $3500 to have the dog shipped here.
Nubs has been staying with Dennis' friends for about a month, awaiting his return.

Upon reuniting, the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reported,
"The 2-year-old dog, named for his two nubby ears, drenched Dennis' face with doggie kisses and said hello with excited whimpers."

Dennis says Nubs' next adventure is a romp on dog beach.
I hope to encounter the pair there one day.
I'd like to give that doggie a great big hug.
Kudos to these Marines who do some much for us, then go beyond the call of duty and give new life to some pups too.

Story from UT February 23, 2008.
Story from UT March 23, 2008.

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Video Sunday

Appropriate for this Easter Sunday.
Crystal Lewis, "My Redeemer Lives".


Saturday, March 22, 2008


I got up early today and went garage sale'ing.
It's Easter weekend, so there were slim pickings, but I was in the mood.
I circled about six addresses close to my mom's house, and headed first to the one that said 'yard art'.

I didn't make it to any other sales.

I don't have a digital camera, but take my word for it, they had some amazing stuff.
I spent $97, which is a whole lot of money for me, but I got a lot of good stuff.

The place was down a hill in a cul-de-sac off the main road, a really cute little area with just three houses.
The couple was super friendly, and gave me a tour of their home.
He had been a high school wood shop teacher, so the entire interior was detailed in wood and stained glass.
Cabinetry, paneling, details everywhere.
I just oohed and awed and was blown away.

They have collected grandfather clocks and statuary for several years, so the home was filled with intricately detailed bronzes and other items, down to a suit of armor and the mermaid off the bow of a ship!
The clocks had tiny carved figures all over them--it was like walking through a museum.

They had bronze tortoise for sale, a bronze elephant, a vintage barber chair...

I saw their black and white persian from afar and thought is was a Shihtzu.
She said everyone thinks their huge cat is a dog.
I love huge cats.

The man called the home his Winchester Mystery House, because he was forever adding to it.
They are moving because some foul neighbors spoiled the fun.

Anyway, here's what I got for my garden:
Huge concrete giraffe $10
resin kitty $3
ceramic parrot $2
2 ceramic chickens for my SIL $3
small turtle pot with plant $2
rusted metal side of a Sewing Machine that says Singer, $5
Head and footboard of a metal bed (I'll use it as a trellis, though it's tempting to use it for its intended purpose) $10
Concrete birdbath (the base in in the whimsical shape of a squirrel climbing a log. I had initially chosen a smaller one that looked like stacked rocks, but I had to go with the whimsy) $30
Dove statue for center of birdbath $2
large metal tiered plant stand $10
2 terra cotta shallow planters with plants (but I'm going to use them for herb bowls) $20

Man that was fun!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Photo Friday

Hair braiding
(click on image to enlarge)
If you took all of my childhood moments and laid them out on a table in a series of black and white photographs, this might be the one I'd choose to sum it all up.
Little expressions of care.

God the memories I have of that house!
It was a small house in Coronado, with green and white exterior awnings.
As I've mentioned before, the clothesline was my gymnasium, the wishing well held my dreams, and the fish pond was magical.
It was Nanny's and Gramps' house.
My mom's mom and dad.
The yard was brimming with Bird of Paradise, fuchsias, gladiolas, and there were more plants in the lath house.

Here, Nanny is braiding my hair, and my mom is watching (wearing the black and aqua button-up sweater that I remember so well).
The couch was orange vinyl. Or red. Funny, I'm not sure anymore.
I loved a clear plastic candy dish, with an orange rose in its square lid, and a chipped foot.
I still have it.
It was on an end table to the right, out of view here.

There was a 'candy drawer' in the kitchen, shoes in her closet with which I played 'dress-up', a cedar chest full of good things, a metal brush and mirror set I loved (and still have), and an attic where I played and imagined.

I wish I could go back in time and just take it all in again--I didn't realize how much I would cherish it, or them.
At the time, it just was what it was, and I knew nothing else.
They (my grandparents and what we shared) are the foundation on which I stand.

But these unscripted moments, frozen in time by the lens of an old camera...this is preciousness, this is simplicity and joy and comfort.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

What will my garden grow?

Ah, so many choices, so many ideas.

"Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream."
Debby Boone

Dude! Debby Boone?
Oh well, I like the quote.

Where was I?
Oh yeah.
I have a few plants, but most of my new garden area will grow from seed.
Unwise? I guess I'll find out.
But that learning is half the fun, you know?

I don't have a concrete design plan yet, but I know I need a trellis, and I want a seating area, and I want to incorporate beach stones.
I'm sure it will metamorphose in time.

I started a gardening journal of what I am planting, how much I spent, from whom I purchased, etc.
I will be charting how well these seeds fare.
The journal will also note my impressions of the companies, the quality of the seeds, and customer service.

When I started a search of seed catalogs, I wanted all things rare, heirloom, and organic.
Though I sent for catalogs all over the US, I needed to be sure the company didn't specialize in plants applicable for the North East or someplace outside my zone.

The first order I placed, back in December, was to
Seed Savers Exchange.
I want to support organizations such as these, who promote such ethical practices.
"Our organization is saving the world’s diverse, but endangered, garden heritage for future generations by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, while educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity. Few gardeners comprehend the true scope of their garden heritage or how much is in immediate danger of being lost forever."
SSE veggie seeds
SSE Seeds
SSE Flower seeds
I gravitate to the rare and whimsical.
This sweet pea is rare, so I want to try to grow it (though I may have waited too long--it's getting warm here)The description says: "(L. nervosus) Rarely offered and almost impossible to find seed. Discovered by Lord Anson in Patagonia in 1744. Best grown indoors as a conservatory plant in the North. Given the proper growing conditions, the plants can bloom continuously from April until September. The lavender-blue flowers are sweetly scented. Nice long stems for cutting. Tender perennial, 5-6' tall."

Next, I ordered a couple of seeds from
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Baker Creek
The Flemish Antique Poppy intrigues me.
Not only is this a gorgeous peony-like bloom but "the dried pods are filled with seeds that can be used in baking."
How fun is that?!

Envy is a green-colored zinnia (green flowers are my favorite, and zinnias one of my favorite flowers).
It is described as "exciting chartreuse-green blooms, they are very unique and the beautiful flowers are 3" across".

My packets arrived swiftly, and they even gave me two freebies (I'm looking forward to the lemon cucumbers. I gave my mom the Bull's Blood Beets).
I am disappointed, however, that the packets do not contain growing instructions (they ask you to see their website). Too tedious.

I ordered a couple of items from The Cook's Garden.
Cook's Garden
The beauty of these choices is hidden by the plain packets.
Look at the gorgeousness within!
Kaleidoscope Carrots

I am most excited, however, about Seeds of Change.
"In 1989, we at Seeds of Change started with a simple mission: to help preserve biodiversity and promote sustainable, organic agriculture. We sought to do this by cultivating and disseminating an extensive range of open-pollinated, organically grown, heirloom and traditional vegetable, flower and herb seeds. This is still our mission.
We seek out traditional varieties from the Americas and treasured heirlooms from abroad, many of which are in danger of being lost due to the rapid consolidation within the seed industry and the decline of indigenous agriculture and seed-saving knowledge."

Flower seeds
Herb seeds
"Many of our varieties represent decades, even centuries, of cultures from around the world who have saved their favorite, most flavorful and nutritious plants. Conserving this invaluable genetic resource, while contributing to the knowledge of sustainable organic agriculture and gardening techniques."

My packets arrived with the speed of light.
I was surprised, however, that the packets were made of (gasp!)...plastic.
Turns out it's more environmentally viable (who knew?!), and I really like the resealable packages.
Great post on this at Notes from a Cottage Garden.

"To see things in the seed, that is genius".
Lao Tzu


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DIY Garden

How to make a container from newspapers for starting seeds.
Other options for homemade seed pots include egg shells, soda bottles, and empty gift wrap tubes. More info at Mr. Brown Thumb.

Make a seed starting calendar.
I like the idea of having a card file for the seed packets, to determine when to plant.

Build a garden bench.

Make a tool caddy from old jeans

Artistic garden projects, including concrete leaves, faux painted pots, etc.

Repurpose your old seed catalogs.

Make homemade paper you can plant.


Monday, March 17, 2008

My back hurts! But I have big dreams.

My grandmother loved to garden, and my mom loves it still.
It is something we can share together.
I remember the birds of paradise at my grandmother's house.
Fuchsias and lilacs always remind me of my mom.
But my dreams and ideas about putting my hands in the earth is really something new.

Me at four or five, playing garden.

When I was a kid (eight or ten or so...I'm not sure) I once grew sunflowers and zinnias,
but when it comes to projects, I have ADD.
I love coming up with plans and ideas (still do), it's the finishing and follow through that leaves my attention waning.
I am determined, however, to show you a finished project this season.

It's funny how one's focus changes over the years.
I mean, once upon a time I thought I was going to marry David Cassidy and ride off in the sunset (meaning I loved horses).
Now...uh, not so much, lol.

You have to remember that I live in other people's houses, my own stuff is in storage, and I am constantly picking up and moving someplace new.
Tonight I am in a place I have never been before.
They got a recommendation about me, reserved my time, and left the back door open for me today. I have only met them a couple of times through other people.
At least I can be proud my reputation is such that people can trust me to that degree.
But I digress.

What I mean to say is clearing a little plot of land at my mom's house, amending the soil, growing items of my is building a sanctuary.
I am building someplace to call my own.

In November, I started investigating seed companies, to decide which catalogs I should receive.
I requested ten or so, and when I got them, I understand now what Annie said about those catalogs being like porn!
I circled pictures, highlighted text, and crimped corners of pages.
I decided what to order.
I have far more seeds than space, but I'll talk about that in a later post.

I love the idea of my sanctuary having value beyond visual.
I intend to have some culinary herbs, some medicinal herbs, some aromatherapy, and some sense of calm.
I am taking a gardening class, and we learned how Japanese gardeners focus on the site as having Heaven, Earth, and Man.
I other words, a background, a foreground and a middle ground.
Think of your space as a picture frame.
Think in terms of organizing a scene.
The Japanese consider their gardens spiritual places and spaces.
I think there can be amazing energy in a garden if it generates symbolism, aesthetics, meditation, sensory awareness, beauty, peace, and usefulness.

Oh crap, am I dreaming too big?

I am a long long way from being done--right now all I still have is a little plot of land.But next week I have several days off and am going to finish pulling all the grass and foxtails that choke my little garden area now.
Those bastards blades just loved our recent rains.
Who knew I would prefer brown over green?
It's all relative.

Next weekend my mom and I will cart home bags of compost, John and Bob's, and a soaker hose.
I vow to catch up to Finny (uh, not the geyser part).

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Video Sunday

Okay, so call me cheesy for posting a Clay Aiken video, but
"Celebrate me Home" has been one of my favorite songs forever.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Don't miss this

Wow. Make your life matter. Live with integrity.
This video is so so special.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oh well...

The winners were announced for the Amy Butler contest today.
See results at the Chronicle Books site.
One of my favorites was in the top six (one winner and five runners up).
Mine was not, sadly, in the top.
I know I'll come off spoiled and whiny here, but I am really disappointed.
And I'm disappointed for a few other participants who had a high degree of difficulty that wasn't acknowledged.
I think I'm done with swaps and contests.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sew Inspiring

While I'm eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winners of the Amy Butler Sew Inspiring Contest, I was inspired by
Dog Named Banjo to post my five favorites.

Really, there are so many amazing entries, it's hard to choose. Here are just a few.
(note the computer is acting wonky, so I had to upload the photos to the computer versus linking to the flickr page. Flickr has rules that their images must link back, so click on the hyperlink or highlighted text for that. You can zoom details there)

Useful Daily Bag
from Amatricis.
Dude! That side panel is a bicycle innertube! Stitched perfectly, I might add.
Read more here.

Yummy Mummy bag, by Elissa Elliott. This is just the back. See more pics on the flickr page.

Stephanie Mag Bag, by Bari J. This one is the closest one to mine, as we both collaged.
I can't find the permalink about this particular bag, but everything on her blog is unreal.

Quilted Nigella Bag
, by AggieRay46. Gorgeous use of fabric.

Clutch4, by ErinPata.

And I've already blogged about Camp Follower Bags,
and The Jill Bag.

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Monday, March 10, 2008


I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating--I love Maypoles.
(also posted here and here)

I guess it reminds me of childhood innocence, old traditions and festivities, and simplicity.
Sweetness. Something lost that I want to retrieve.

Someday I hope to have my own home, and I'll be able to display all these images I am collecting.
I collect images of seagulls also. But that's another topic..

I just purchased this photo. I love it.
Children around a Maypole
(click on image to enlarge).
I wonder what year this was? Was it a birthday party for the little girl on the right who is standing? What are the things on the sides of the girl's heads that make them appear as if they are dressed like geishas?
Is that a boy or a girl in the front, defiantly sitting with crossed legs?
I want to go back in time and hear the giggles, taste the fruit punch, be part of the conversations....

Cover of Better Homes & Gardens, May 1929.
Maypole on a vintage magazine cover

The Nickell, 1901.

How bizarre, I didn't even know my innocent collection has phallic symbolism, until I just now read about the tradition in Wikipedia.
All things considered, that's pretty funny.

I just think Maypoles are so pretty, decorated in flowers and satin ribbons and pastels.
Spring time.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Video Sunday

Colbie Caillet, "Tell Him"


Friday, March 07, 2008

Photo Friday

Me and dad
I want to pay a tribute to my dad today.
Monday would have been his birthday.
He passed away over four years ago, but it's really still too raw for me to get into depth about. I cope through numbness.
We were very close. He called me "Bopper" or "Boppy Annie" (for awhile, my car license plate was BOPIANI).
He was kind and gentle and loving.

This photo appeared in the family Christmas card the year I was born.
I was an April baby. The only girl after three boys and an eleven year gap.
When I was a kid, he would get on his knees and serenade my friends with his beautiful voice.
I am so thankful to have had the fortune to have had him for my dad.
I miss him dearly.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ho hum

Well, this season's Project Runway is over (and I'm happy with the result), but I laughed out loud when I saw this prophecy.

And, sigh, Idol just isn't going to be as much fun without Danny Noriega.
I'm bummed about that.
Blake was great tonight though, wasn't he?!


Wednesday, March 05, 2008


*Great post on color (written for quilting, but it works on all art levels), by That Dorky Homemade Look.
(I found it linked by The Calico Cat)

*I don't buy jewelry for myself very often, especially necklaces, because I'm allergic to nickel.
But I couldn't resist this pears necklace from Thimble.

*Speaking of Thimble, I am inspired by her new pillow covers.

*Need some kind of boost, of inspiration, of ideas?
Head on over to Art for Housewives.
By far one of the best blogs out there. I don't know how she finds the time to cull all those links. But there is always something great on there.

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Altered Art: Dominoes

I mentioned the other day that I want to do some crafting with dominoes.
I've seen (but not yet made) dominoes that have been stamped upon, or collaged upon. Often times, resin is used as a sealer.
You can also use photo transfers, or draw on them, embellish them with beads, wrap them in wire, mold polymer clay around name it.

What could be made?
Cool stuff like this Domino Book by Judi Wellnitz.

Or make pendants, bracelets, key fobs, or magnets from dominoes.
Lighter weight dominoes (some are made from bamboo) can be made into earrings.
Maybe barrettes, pins, the body of an art doll, embellishment on a larger item (large charms), ornaments, ceiling fan pulls, drawer pulls, maybe even parts of a wind chime.

I've had a difficult time finding tutorials online, because most of the links on Craftster or Get Crafty no longer have photos attached.
Some links I googled contain too many ads or shift you over to an ad site (I hate that!).
I did finally find some links (these are posted especially for Pattie)

a how-to using decals, on HGTV. Note, they made decals from their own art.

ornaments (embellisment using Sharpies), by Jen Minnis.

diary pendant from HGTV

stamped bracelet by Evelyn Kennedy Duncan.

how to make a beaded pendant by gchristine

simple directions on Wikihow.

Boxes made from scans of dominoes! By Meggie Cat.
Printout pdf included in post.

If you prefer buying versus making, Etsy seller Domino Effect sells lots of pendants, including this one with a vintage matchbook image.

Etsy seller Kayann Works makes pendants featuring her own artwork, like this cute pit bull.

I like this Quija board pendant by Tartx.

Ha! Robot box by etsy seller Always Amy.

and for those of you who just want to learn to play the game of dominoes, there is a website devoted to this, and the site has posted a video to teach you the rules.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Neckties, and window shopping

First off, I want to announce that I have started a new blog,
devoted to Sewing with Neckties.
It's called Artful Ties: making art from men's neckties.
Please come over and visit.
Maybe subscribe with bloglines.

Secondly, I've been off work this week (no transportation), so I've had too much time on my hands.
Time=internet cruising.
But look at the goodies I found!

I love this plaid hat from the etsy store of Nancy Gamon.

Cocktail Monkey necklace, at Perpetual Kid.

Magazine bowls tutorial, on craftster.

Jewelry from trash.

Make a melted monkey bowl, from Deep Fried Kudzu.

Make a Marshmallow Peep carousel like Thrift Shop Romantic

Make your own Ding-Dong cake, by Smitten Kitchen

and (drumroll....) I give you the Krispy Kreme Cheesecake.
Again, this is Deep Fried Kudzu.
That recipe sent her immediately, do not pass go, right into my favorites list.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

My entry for the Amy Butler bag contest

I'm anxiously awaiting results from the Amy Butler Sew Inspiring contest.

I made Amy's "Madison" bag, using a collage of her fabric designs.
Amy Butler 'Madison' Bag
(click on image to enlarge and zoom)

The entries are so amazing, I knew that if I wanted to stand out, I needed to do something completely different than everyone else.
I went up to Sowing Sisters and bought 15 Amy Butler fabrics, then 2 more at Beverly's.

And I just started cutting out floral motifs.

I didn't end up using all the fabric designs or colorways, but I used quite a few.
I collaged the floral motifs onto Amy's dark brown Lotus fabric.
I used Steam-a-Seam to initially hold the design in place, then I did stitching around each applique to secure it.
I didn't want the bulk of zigzag or satin stitch, so I used a straight stitch throughout, using a variegated thread by King Tut.

Back and flap:
back of bag and flap

detail area, back of bag:
stitching detail (back of bag)
you really need to see these photos larger. The only thing I don't like about Flickr is the sizing of horizontal photos for blogging.

more detail:
more stitching detail (back of bag)
For example, here the large green flower, the blue leaves, and both pink flowers are appliques. Well, to be clear, some of the blue leaves are part of the green flower fabric, but others are added on.

I added detail stitching to add interest, again simply using the straight stitch.
The fill areas are just a back-and-forth motion.
Yes, it probably would have been easier with an embroidery machine, but I don't have one (and I'm not really a fan anyway. I prefer hand-stitched embroidery).
And yes, it probably would have made more sense to drop the feed dogs and do random stitching that way (but I don't know how to stipple, etc. I would like to learn though).
But the straight stitching worked out fine I think.

side of Madison Bag
Matching that flap was not the easiest thing in the world.
Truth be told, after these pics were taken, I took the flap apart and am in the process of redoing an area that wasn't perfect enough.
Hence no photos of the cute lining yet.
I'm without a sewing machine this week, but I'll post when I fix it.

Here's a detail of the area under the flap, on the front:
detail front of bag
and here too:
more detail front of bag.
Here the small green flower, and the large lovely blooms on the top are all appliques. The flower on the left corner matches the background fabric, but is an applique in a different colorway.

I tried to lay out a pattern that still highlighted areas of the background design too, while adding new elements in a cohesive way.
I had to be careful not to get cluttered or over the top.
Basically, I made a new Amy Butler fabric, using Amy Butler fabrics.

Anyway, cross your fingers for me.
I know some of the entrants will be disqualified for entering more than one bag (a shame, because there are some really good ones that fall into that category).
But that still leaves stiff competition.
It was a fun contest though, I'm happy with my bag, as well as with really having tested my creativity and skills (always a good thing, because I really think I'm growing lately).


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Video Sunday

Classic "Scotch and Soda" sung by 'the voice' Bob Shane, of the Kingston Trio.

Other versions of this song: Mary Davis Trio
and Lauren Masse of the Manhattan Transfer.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

New theme for the purse challenge

I have a new theme posted on my purse blog.
In order to stir up more participation, this challenge will involve a prize!