Saturday, May 31, 2008

Holocaust Project

Jillian, of Blog Me Til Midnight is doing a project to memorialize the Jews that lost their lives in the Holocaust.
She is asking people to send handmade stars that can be displayed in her front yard.

She says, "We are wanting to build a small Holocaust memorial in our front yard, so that my kids can remember all the Jews that lost their lives.

We are asking people to send us "stars" which represent the yellow stars that the Jews had to wear. They could be stars of all sorts to symbolize the lights that went out due to the Holocaust."

Also, "Jillian Curtis doesn’t want her children to bring hate into the world.

So she and her sons, Jarrett, 10, and Josh, 11, are building a Holocaust memorial — their first major undertaking in their first month of homeschooling — to remember the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust...

The project is inspired by the movie “Paper Clips,” in which students at a Tennessee school, wanting to know what the number 6 million looks like, try to gather 6 million paper clips.

Instead of paper clips, the Curtises are asking people to send them stars...

So far, about 500 stars have arrived at their home from as far away as Australia and China...

Anyone who wants to send any kind of star to the Curtises can request the mailing address by e-mailing"


Five Things Meme

Celtic Mommy tagged me for a five things meme.
The rules:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?
Hmmm, a lot of the same that I'm doing now--dog-sitting and working retail. Though I think I was also writing CD and band reviews for an online music site (a big deal one actually), and I had a boyfriend then (that relationship lasted four years. It ended about three and a half years ago). Five years ago, my dad was still alive, though quite ill.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1- Work on apron for Tie One On (it's going to be late. What else is new?)
2- Finish planting asparagus
3- Mail two packages and pick up my mail at post office (the main post office here is open until 4pm on Saturdays)
4- Wash clothes
5- Study for Monday's final exam
Note: I did accomplish all these things, but I can't believe I forgot to watch the cooking shows on PBS today! Aarrggggh! At least Diary of a Foodie will be available online eventually.

What are five snacks you enjoy?
A better question to ask me, ahem, would be what snacks DON'T I enjoy? I'm really bad. I eat tons of junk food
1- Milk chocolate
2- Coca Cola, Coca Cola, Coca Cola (Mexican kind with sugar cane preferred)
3- Hawaiian BBQ chips from Trader Joes
4- Quesadillas, preferrably gorditas but definiately flour tortillas, with cheddar cheese and sea salt
5- The ice cream cones at Chick-Fil-a (or Tasty Freeze)

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1- Take my mom on a train trip across Canada
2- Take my closest friends to someplace wonderfully exotic
3- Buy a house in California. Maybe a turn of the century bungalow, with crazy wood details and built-ins. (You pretty much have to be a billionaire to do that here. No more American Dream. Not in California anyway)
4- Save some land from development
5- Donate to a worthy cause--maybe SOHO (Save our Heritage Organization)

What are five of your bad habits?
1- I love coming up with ideas for things--planning a design or a project. I love finding the materials I need or doing research. It's the follow-through and finishing part that I suck at.
2- I'm pretty lazy--I can lay on the couch and watch crime shows or food shows all damn day. Luckily I don't have cable at home, or I wouldn't get anything done! But I am thankful for that level of freedom to do as I please.
3- I have lots of cababilities and talents, but I don't have any goals to speak of. So I end up sort-of going through life in circles and not getting anywhere. I don't know how to channel my passions.
4- I have so many copies of patterns I have promised to send to people. I have good intentions, and I always come through in the end, but I hate going to the post office unless it's to pick up mail. Ditto going to Kinkos. Ugh.
5- I'm a grazer. I eat all day. Mostly junk food. Considering all the horrible stuff I've read about high fructose corn syrup lately, I really need to find alternative snacks.

What are five places where you have lived?
1- I was born in San Diego. My dad worked for International Harvester, so we moved around to his job sites where he worked on turbine engines. As a kid, I lived in Louisiana, Texas, and Wyomming. We moved to the house I grew up in when I was six
2- My first apartment was a cute little house in Crown Point (on the bay in Pacific Beach/San Diego)
3- In the late 80's I lived in San Jose. I hated it, so I moved up into the mountains in Aptos (by Santa Cruz), right on the water. Northern California wasn't a good fit for me, so after a year and a half I moved back home to San Diego
4- I sublet a loft in San Francisco for about a month while I was waiting for my work transfer to come through
5- I grew up in the East County, but it's near the beach that I love to call home. I've had three apartments in Pacific beach, a little cottage in Ocean Beach, rented an apartment in Point Loma, rented three houses in Clairemont. I lived in Rolando over by SDSU for a couple of months but it wasn't friendly enough to my liking. Now I live all over the county in other people's homes while they vacation.

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1- reservation sales agent for US Airways
2- proof operator for San Diego County Credit Union
3- my first job was McDonald's. I highly recommend this as a first job, because they teach you to have a fire under your butt--to keep busy, keep moving.
4- I did window displays for Miller's Outpost Clothing store
5- I sold wedding gowns, I worked for a pharmacy and delivered drugs to convalescent hospitals, I cashiered in a flower shop, I bagged groceries at Gemco (Lucky supermarket), I worked in lingerie at Bullocks Wilshire, and I've worked for one of those "big box stores" for almost 25 years now (ugh).

Five people I tag:
I'm going to break the rules here and not tag anyone. I personally don't mind being tagged, but I can't be positive that's the case with any of you. So I won't tag anyone, but feel free to play along if you'd like.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Photo Friday

I guess I should post this at Christmas, but I felt like posting it today.
A Polaroid moment when I was four.

Funny how little red wagons are all the rage in gardens now.
Great for hauling plants, tools, whatever.

I wish I had a digital camera so I could better keep you posting on the activity in my garden.
I hope to buy a camera in July.
But it's hard to adequately explain the excitement I feel when I see little green shoots breaking the soil.

Wednesday at dusk, I went out to water.
I really soaked the ground where my asparagus was planted.
But inwardly I was thinking, "gosh, is this ever going to come up?"
I mean, did I water too much and the crowns rotted?
Did I water too shallow and the water didn't penetrate the soil?
Did I wait too long to plant?

But overnight, six tiny asparagus shot up a full three inches!
I was giddy when I saw them--it's like coins falling out of your Keno machine in Vegas!
(although I heard the slots don't do that anymore. Shame. That was the best part).

Let's hope Mr. Snail doesn't slither out to that part of the yard...

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Thursday, May 29, 2008


What is that, you ask?
Well, it WAS a pea pod.
It was a pea that evidently was breakfast for Mr. Snail.


My garden is no-kill. Regardless.
I have Tom Thumb peas growing in a bowl (so cute, with big peas just hanging off).
Today I surrounded the bowl with eggshells.
Hopefully that will help.


Lavender Lemonade

Make a simple syrup by combining equal parts sugar and water in a large pot.
Bring to a boil.
Toss a few handfuls of lavender blossoms into the syrup.
Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool. Once cooled, strain the syrup.
Fill a pitcher with ice.
Pour in roughly equal amounts of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and syrup (about a cup of each).
Fill the pitcher with water (or sparkling water).
Taste, and add juice or syrup until it suits you.
Carry out to the stand. Make a small fortune.

This recipe is from the May/June issue of California Gardener Magazine, a publication put out by Armstrong Nurseries.
I confess I have not yet made this, but really, how could you go wrong?
I always prefer lemonades that are based on a cooked syrup as the foundation.
Try it.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ooh la la

wine tasting
My friends Scott and Jen took me to my first wine-tasting for a belated birthday present.
Scott is quite the connoisseur, and I get delightful perks when I go over to their house for dinner.
He's always bringing out a couple of reds--last time we even started with a sparkling wine in a beautiful apricot shade.
Jen is an amazing cook--she can decipher every nuance of a dish ("I taste white pepper").
She took a sip and detected raspberry and oak.
I'm not there yet.

I asked Scott if he would be so kind as to start teaching me about wine.
It's such a huge, complicated subject.
I started reading Educating Peter (sort-of a Wine 101) but wine is something one really needs to see, smell, and taste.

They took me to lunch at the WineSeller & Brasserie--a good choice for my first experience in that it was informal.
I didn't have to worry about swirling and sniffing correctly, if you know what I mean.
Wouldn't want to make a fool of myself.

Lunch was lovely.
We started out with asparagus soup with wild mushrooms and chantilly creme, big hunks of rustic bread, and an appetizer plate with roasted eggplant, green olive tapenade, and a marinated goat cheese.
Scott had beef (was it the rib eye? I'm not sure. I'm not much of a beef eater).
Jen chose Duck Confit, and I had the ravioli with ricotta, truffle, and artichokes.
We split the sampler of three desserts--carmelized banana cannoli, Vahlrona hazelnut torte, and creme brulee.
Scott also ordered a flourless chocolate cake with Grand Marnier that we shared.
French Press all around.
Ah, it's so nice being treated to the good life on occasion.

Along with our meal, we each were given six tastings of various Syrah.
We got a sheet of descriptions, and tried to match the glass to the descriptions.
Descriptions were wild adjectives--scent of blueberry pie, cherry cola....hint of chocolate.
Um, I didn't really get that.
I got every match wrong.
That's okay.
Nothing quite like quality time spent with good friends.
That's always the right thing.

Speaking of, that same week three other friends treated me to a Parisian-style bistro.
Coffee and about three hours conversation--it doesn't get much better than that.
Well, it does when chocolate is involved

My friend Tracie gave me a gift card in a unique package--a pig-shaped container made from a water bottle!
pig container
Who said crafts are for kids?

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Magical Mysteries...

The way I post most of my photos here is via
The really cool thing about that is that I basically get two audiences--some people just cruise Flickr and comment on people's images.
There are pools (groups) of photos posted regarding certain themes, years, kitsch.
I know at least one blogger who stopped blogging and just posts to Flickr now--her collection of vintage images garners almost a cult following.

People can comment on the images I post, and I can comment on theirs, then I can see the responses as they come in.

I posted the back of a vintage postcard several months ago, because I love the beautiful penmanship, the calligraphy probably delivered by quill, and the ancient postmark.
french calligraphy on old postcard
I asked if anyone could translate the words.
Today, someone finally did just that.
Imagine my surprise.
I was told, "You have to read it in a mirror and the first line from the bottom to the edge : Que cette carte te trouve en bonne santé, ainsi que ta mère.
Je t'embrasse
Jean !"

I consulted Babelfish for a translation.
The message is just a basic well wishing, "That this chart finds you in good health, like your mother."

How fascinating!
What inspired the backward writing?
Such a delicious mystery.


Monday, May 26, 2008


It still surprises me when I mention I write a blog (ahem, four blogs), and people look at me with a question mark in their eyes and ask, "what's a blog?"
I mean, it has become such a part of our lexicon (along with texting, gaming, etc).

I hope one day to get a job as a corporate blogger.
I would thrive in that position.

Happy Memorial Day.
The bbq's and the beach are probably not so busy today--last week some areas of southern California reached triple digits, but today it is overcast 'May Gray'.
Odd, bizarre weather.
One day roasting, the next drizzling.

It's just nice to have a day off (with pay!), sleep in, catch up on reading.
Enjoy today whatever you do.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Great ideas

Oh my gosh, my brother Rog came over today and fixed my computer!
I am sooo happy to be online again!

I have a new post up on my purse blog that links tutorials to crochet yarn made from t-shirts, so check that out.

Other goodness I've found includes Make a Memory Jar

Beautiful lamp made from recycled jars

Pique Assiette

Matchbook notebooks tutorial

How to make a notebook using an old record cover.

From prints to journals

Make a passport cover

Make a reusable sandwich bag

Tutorial to make fabric by fusing platic bags!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blue Siamese Apron

My collection of vintage aprons is growing by leaps and bounds.
I just purchased this blue kitties design, in mint condition.
Cats and bumblebees apron

Some of the kitties have bead and sequin eyes!
Vintage Apron detail


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Video Sunday

Andrew Johnston, contestant on Britain's Got Talent.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Photo Friday

For some reason I don't seem to have many pictures of my cousins or their home, but I did find this one.
(click on image to enlarge)
Family Gathering
This sort-of goes hand-in-hand with my post earlier today about gathering and dining (though this one seems more about drinking, oops), and my post yesterday about my Aunt Mary.

This is an image of my Aunt Mary (on the right front) and my Uncle Ben (left front), and my parents in the back left and center.
I don't know the identity of the woman in the back right.
I'm not sure of the date this photo was taken, but I'll guess early 70's.

My Aunt Mary was my one of my dad's older sisters.
I have fond memories of her home, because it was a wonderland for a little kid like me--it was filled with clutter and art and music.
I remember a life-like monkey my aunt had carved in wood.
I remember in my cousin's Bob and Rick's room, an inflatable blimp hanging from the ceiling that I thought was so cool.

My aunt had ceramic glassware she designed and fired herself.
There were musical instruments everywhere.
An above-ground pool out back, and a big tree out front to climb into.
The ocean near by.
Walking to the store for bazooka bubblegum (weird the things one remembers).

My aunt sold that house recently.
It is not located in the best part of San Diego, but I think it will be revitalized eventually.
Had I known she was going to sell it, I would have cashed out my 401K.
I loved that place.



I feel very strongly that food should be about joy.

Not how many calories, or how much time do you have to scarf before your next errand or your next television program.
Not how much fat is in it, or what package it came it.
Not artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or dye colors.


At its best, dining is an event.
It is a child's giggle over sugared toast.
It is conversation with friends and family.
It is quality time.
It is meaningful moments.
It is memories.

Yes, joy.

I think too many people have forgotten that.

A wonderful post by Orangette offers a great example.

A previous post I wrote about baking bread is another example.

Or this quote (also from a previous post) by Tessa Kiros, author of the cookbook Falling Cloudberries.
"There are some things that don't change much. I find the smell of a dish, or the way a certain spice is crushed, or just a quick look at the way something has been put on a plate, can pull me back to another place and time. I love those memories that seem so far away, yet you can hold them and carry them with you, even forget them, and then, with a single taste or hint or a smell, be chaperoned back to a beautiful moment."

The PBS cooking series Diary of a Foodie, by Gourmet Magazine, features chefs, farmers, and artisans.
Do yourself a favor and watch the episodes (online here).

The book Joie de Vivre is more than a cookbook, but an example of living life to the fullest--and let me tell you, exuberance in living involves enjoying food.
Eating can be, should be, a joyful event.

Another quotation (from yet another previous post), by Elizabeth Gilbert, from the book Eat, Pray, Love says it well.
"But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one's life, is it so awful to travel through time with no greater ambition than to find the next lovely meal? Or to learn to speak a language for no higher purpose than it pleases your ear to hear it? Or nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then do it again the next day?"


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Tia!

(photo from 1943)

Today, my Aunt Mary is celebrating her 93rd birthday.
I wish I was there, at her party celebrating with her.

When she was in her mid-to-late 60's, she decided to move just across the Arizona border, to Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
At that time, Rocky Point was small and quaint.
She made new friends,and her neighbors treated her like a member of the family.

That was before then-President Fox decided the port should be built up.
Before Puerto Penasco became a heavy tourist destination, or a gathering zone for rowdy college kids on Spring Break.

Though I still think she enjoys it.

Every year, her friends (who also happen to be a band of mariachis) throw her a fiesta.
She usually provides the food and the booze, and they provide the music.

Here's the invitation this year--a message in a hot sauce-shaped bottle
(click on photo to enlarge)

The contents included a scroll party invitation to the fiesta, sombrero-shaped confetti, and a miniature maraca
Mary's party

I love creative invitations like this.
I posted a tutorial about these previously.

Aunt Mary (Tia) is especially excited that the mariachis have written a song about her puppy, Brisa del mar.

When Aunt Mary turned 88, I surprised her and showed up at the party.
I took a bus from Tijuana to Rocky Point--a full eight hour ride.
The bus, however, was a Mercedes, complete with movies in English.
It was bizarre to be stopped along the road at random so the army could come on board just to check things out, machine guns in tow.
They were at the bus terminals also.
It's a different world down there.

But the party was fantastic.
Dancing, drinking, lots and lots of friends and neighbors present.
Lots of male attention :).

The next day I walked along the water, investigating seashells.
Every year she invites me back.
I do want to go again.

Aunt Mary was a teacher by profession, but she was also an artist.
She made amazing sculptures, all of her children were musicians, and her home was full of liveliness and fun.

Previous photo posts about Aunt Mary here and here.



Thank God Janelle wasn't eliminated tonight on
Step it Up and Dance.
Bottom two with Cody...I was starting to get pissed.
Whew, both were safe.

And Yay!--Oscar is back! What a great bonus.
And next week, I can't wait for So You Think You Can Dance.
Yeah, I know, tv geek.

There was a time, when I was late teens to early 20's, when I considered following a career path in dance.
I think I made a mistake not pursuing that.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I had better brush up on my embroidery skills

Seagull embroidery pattern
I recently purchased this embroidery kit on ebay.
This is called Circle of Freedom, and makes an afghan.
The kit is new in package, old stock from 1973.

Most of you already know I collect seagulls, plus Gina and Floresita have me thinking about improving my embroidery skills.

more of seagull embroidery pattern
Click on the images to see the detail.

Finished, it will be beautiful.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I'm able to use a client's computer all week, so hopefully I can play catch up on this blog and on blog reading.
Whew! It's exhausting!

I posted a new theme for my purse challenge today, and a killer prize too, so check it out.

For now I think I'll just show a cute vintage children's cookbook I picked up on ebay.
The illustrations are precious.
The book was published in 1952.

Little Mother's Cookbook, 1952

Here are some of the images associated with certain recipes:
Dicky Dog's Hot Cocoa Special
Dicky Dog's Hot Cocoa Special

Pixie's Marshmallow Delight
Pixie's Marshmallow Delight

Kitten Kitten's Snickerdoodle Cream
Kitten Kitten's Snickerdoodle Cream

Ronny Rooster's Sugar Toast
Ronny Rooster's Sugar Toast

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Video Sunday

This cracks me up--An Engineer's Guide to Cats.

I'm dog-sitting for a week, so I have a computer to use and cable to watch (woo hoo!).
Hopefully I can play catch up a bit here.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Another link

After the link to the leather pet bed I posted yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a link to How to make a cat bed from an old wool sweater.

Still computer problems, hopefully to be fixed soon.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Ideas...a couple anyway

I'm having computer issues.
So bear with me.
I do at least have a couple of links to share.

If you're bummed about having to find a substitution for Timtex (like I am), Craft Apple has already done some research for you.

Queenly Things inkjet prints onto fabric.
Here's the tutorial.

Make a pet bed from an old leather coat

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy May Day

Maypole, 1920