Monday, December 31, 2007

Mosaic for debs

I purchased a Christopher Radko ornament for my friend debs for Christmas--a disco Santa (Santa striking a John Travolta pose ala Saturday Night Fever).
Well, I was moving it or something, and dropped it...
and I broke the toe.

Hmmm...what to do?

I decided to mosaic a rectangular box, and place charms applicable to debs around the ornament.
I figured she could use it to hold Christmas cards.

(click on image to enlarge)

I had intended to just glue a few items to the corner of a metal box, but I couldn't find the right box.
I ended up choosing this terra cotta planter box, and just mosaic'ing the rim with broken purple and white plate pieces in a Notre Dame/Parisian theme.
I supplemented with some gold tiles and a few other items, then grouted it in purple.

Around the Santa are items that are significant to debs--a pencil because she's a professional writer, a fleur di lis because she loves that symbol, Bobby McGees buttons from our clubbing back in the day, a pig dressed as Santa (long story), European coins representing her love of travel, and miscellaneous sparkle.

Kind-of a fun, one-of-a-kind item that is no longer broken, but useful and memorable.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Video Sunday

I was going to post Jane Moneheit's version of this, but there was no option to blog it.
This, however, is the 'it', the classic bossa nova beauty.
Elis Regina and Tom Jobim--Waters of March.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Do you know?

This image is lifted from Men's Vogue, January 2008.
This is Harry Connick Jr, with his daughter Charlotte, and his dog Sammie.

Does anyone know what kind of dog Sammie is?
Thank you.


Making the magic last

I saw something sweet tonight...made me smile.

I was walking the dog by the bay.
There's a sidewalk at the end of the sand--a boardwalk for pedestrians, skateboarders, bladers, etc.
It's lovely, especially in wintertime when the tourists have gone (just sayin').

A couple rode past me on bikes, and in mid-pedal they leaned in for a quick kiss.
It was the kind of fun thing you do when you're first dating.
They seemed full of life and energy, and love.

But then I hear "hey, that's illegal"
"that's what's called hormonal bike riding"

That was their two kids.
They've made the magic last between them, and here they were on a family outing.
That's what everyone is looking for.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Photobooth Friday

Me with two of my best friends in the world.
Starting to fade already, but taken sometime in the 90's (when will I learn to date the back?).
We ritually attend the San Diego County Fair (formerly, the Del Mar Fair) and get photobooth shots of us squeezed in (up to five people sometimes) making faces...

I have strips of us all the way back to the early 80's.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mt. Helix

Mt Helix Cross
I haven't posted anything about San Diego in awhile, and this seems the perfect opportunity to share one of my favorite places.

I grew up at what locals refer to as "the base of Mt. Helix".
Meaning I grew up in the east county, and my parents' home was on a street at the base of that mountain.

The mountain is special, because at the peak is a concrete amphitheater,
and a cross.
Mt Helix Cross
(click on images to enlarge)

"The location now includes a wooden cross, erected in 1917 for an Easter service and an amphitheater. The cross area is now owned by the San Diego Historical Society and the amphitheater, besides providing an incredible 360-degree view of San Diego County, is a venue for weddings and community theater offerings". (source)

The cross atop Mt. Helix.
Mt Helix Cross

I like the rugged amphitheater, with lots of nooks and crannies to hang out and reflect.
I've been to sunrise services here--it's lovely.
Rugged amphitheatre at Mt Helix

It has been a spot of controversy in our politically correct climate.
The property used to be owned by San Diego County, but years of court battles about religious symbols and a conflict concerning separation between church and state engendered the city to transfer ownership, thereby saving it.
Note the controversy continues with another cross in San Diego, Mt. Soledad, despite citizens overwhelming support to retain it (including voter approval).

View of El Cajon
View of El Cajon from Mt Helix

Mt Helix Cross


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The incomparable Astrud Gilberto, The Girl from Ipanema

No time to post right now, so it's video week.
One of my favorite songs of all times.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Sugarland - Baby Girl

When I listen to the radio, it's usually talk radio. For music, it's usually alternative. My own collection of CD's forms a full range though.
This song is in the country genre, and if you haven't fallen in love with Jennifer Nettles' voice yet, you perhaps aren't familiar with this song. I cannot get it out of my head.


Christmas already??!

Wow, Christmas Eve already.
The year has just zoomed by and left me standing in its wake.

Christmas Eve is traditionally the day in my family for celebrating.
The 25th was just sort-of a regular day.
But that didn't happen this year.
It's just me and a lab this year, but that's okay.

My gosh, I never even got around to mailing cards this year!
(much less the fact that I had originally planned to make my own cards).
I had every intention of sending them out to friends and blog friends and to deliver, like I usually do, treats to all my doggie clients.
But, as I've said, it's been a weird year.

Piles of good intentions unfinished, finances in the red, reconnections with special friends but tension with a new one...
fewer festivities attended, fewer homes sparkling with lights, but a lot more people saying "Merry Christmas".

Anyway, to those of you who I still owe waaaaay late projects (Kelli, Jen, Catrina, among others), I WILL come through eventually.

I guess my New Years resolution is to get more organized, and learn to finish what I start.

I recently came across some old family photos from the 60's that seem fun to share today.

My mom, all decked out in front of the silver tree with the red ball ornaments.
She was really proud of those shoes--they were pink glitter.
I think she may have had a matching purse or something.
Mom at Christmas, 1960's

Damaged photo, but still a fun image.
Me in front of same tree.
I'm guessing I was around five.
Childhood Christmas photo

And my oldest brother, Rog, working as a department store Santa.
At the time, I didn't understand why kids would wait in line to see a fake Santa.
I mean, everyone knew, didn't they?, that the REAL Santa was at another store...
Rog as a department store Santa

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Video Sunday

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Inspiring friends

The best holiday card EVER!
from my friend, the lovely Miss Aubrey, of course :)

Check it out.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Photobooth Friday

Nanny in the photobooth, 1930's
(click on image to enlarge)
My grandmother again.
1930's, I'll assume.
I called her Nanny, but her maiden name was Mary Ellen Barnum.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

An inspiring reminder

I was walking through an Asian grocery store last year, and all of a sudden I was stopped in my tracks by a Peach tree they had for sale.
It was in blossom, you see, and it was magnificent.
It was the first time I had ever seen that, and it was powerful.

So you know when you maybe see something, or notice something, or read something, and it has a breath-stopping effect like that?
Isn't that awesome?

Well, that's how I felt when I read this post by Andrea, at Hula Seventy.
It's a reminder we all need this time of year.

(for those of you new to blogging, highlighted text is a link, so please click on the link to her post, then click on her link to fully understand what I'm talking about.)

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Paint your own ceramics

My friend Brandie and I went to another one of those ceramic cafe places (this one, in Carlsbad, we didn't like as much as the one in Del Mar. But you have to try....)

I apologize for the poor quality scans, but I was excited to share with you, and I don't have a digital camera.
I don't draw or paint, so I was pleasantly surprised by my efforts here.

I chose a flower pot for my garden, and I painted a fruit theme.
Painted pears

Painted cherries

There's also a small apple on the rim.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Japanese Craft Book: Baby items sewn from towels

I love sewing patterns that utilize towels in the construction.
This is a Japanese Craft Book of baby items, all sewn with soft towels.
Japanese Craft Book  Baby items from towels
I don't see anything specifically labeled ISBN, but the two sets of numbers on the cover include 68315-30 and T1068315300887.
Japanese Craft Book  Baby items from towels

Adorable wrap shirt bordered in a cotton print
Baby shirt from a towel

Having fun with prints
Dressing Gown from a towel

Embellished with machine embroidery
Soft baby clothes made from towels

Bibs (look at that cute cap sleeve!)
Towel bibs

Toys and quilts made with towels
Toys and quilt from towels

This washcloth quilt is my favorite
Washcloth Quilt

Diaper bag (great idea, and inexpensive)
Diaper bag made with a towel

Baby organizer made from a towel

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Video Sunday

Yeah, I know it's only Saturday, but I may not be able to post tomorrow, so I'm being proactive.

A little Storm to add to your


A thrifting we will go...

I haven't talked about thriftstores in awhile, but it doesn't mean I haven't been shopping there.

In fact, three of my friends and I decided to lower our standard dollar limit this Christmas (usually we spend around $40 or so for each gift).
Now, each gift will be around $25, PLUS we are to give a gift we got at a thrift (or similar) store.
And no dust collectors or items for funny or shock value (though that might be fun too).
It has to be something the person would actually like. And use.
Since at least one of those girls reads this blog, I can't divulge what I found,
but I can post a couple recent finds.

I buy stuff all the time, but without a camera, it's hard to capture things that are three-dimensional, so I often forget to post here.
But I recently got this art nouveau-inspired frame for $2.95
Thrifted frame
Actually, I found another almost identical to it, but less finished looking, and silver in color. I'm going to give one of the girls that, even though she's not a silver person, because she loves frames so much.

And of course I always look for sewing patterns.
I just found this timeless nightgown pattern, dated 1969.
I paid 29 cents.
Vintage Nightgown Pattern, 1969

And this cute little handmade felt angel ornament.
I love the red hair!
Price: 25 cents.
Handmade felt angel


Friday, December 14, 2007

Photobooth Friday

Vintage photobooth Nanny and Gramps
My grandparents, "Nanny" and "Gramps".
My mom's mom and stepdad.

My mom thinks this may have been taken in 1935 at the Pike in Long Beach.
They were crazy in love always.

More photobooth fun over at Andrea's blog.
If I could switch places with anyone, and just step into that life, I think I would choose hers (girl hula)--with bright colors and communication, and introspection, and pretty pictures, and warm smiles.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Every time I make a recipe off the Baking Bites site, it's a keeper.
I under baked these to get a soft cookie and they were good,
and I over baked a batch (um, by accident) and they were just as tasty.

Malted Milk Ball Cookies (read the original post--it's interesting)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped maltesers/whoppers/malted milk balls

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in milk and vanilla, then gradually blend in the flour mixture. Do not overmix; stir only until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chopped Maltesers/Whoppers/Malted Milk Balls.
Drop into 1-inch balls (tbsp sized balls) on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until lighty browned.
Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3-dozen cookies.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Sewing with Neckties

I've had quite a few people ask me for information on projects and instructions for making quilts and other items from recycled neckties.
So I'll share what I know.
I will probably post more on this soon, as there is much to say.

Why sew with neckties?
Well, first off it's a great form of recycling, and it's a fun way to use whimsical fabrics that often make bizarre neckties, but great quilting fabric.
Too, it's often a cathartic project in that people often use ties to memorialize a loved one (a mourning quilt, for example).

Are there any books available with ideas and instructions?
Most of the books with instructions are currently out of print, but you can sometimes find them on ebay or places like bookfinder (or their affiliates, like Alibris).
Unfortunately, they've gotten quite expensive--far more so than what they originally cost new.
These include:
Quilts from Neckties, by Sharon Newman (1995)
Tied Up!, by Gail Ellspermann and Frances Krupka (a Design Originals booklet, 2002)
Love to Quilt: Necktie Sampler Blocks, by Janet B. Elwin (1996)
Ties, Ties, Ties: Traditional Quilts from Neckties, by Janet B. Elwin (1996)
Threads and Ties that Bind: Exquisite Quilts from Tie Fabrics, by Jean Johnson (currently surprisingly affordable on Amazon)

and the only one in print:
Daddy's Ties: a Project and Keepsake Book, by Shirley Botsford.

How do I use the ties?
There are two ways of approaching sewing with ties:
using them as is,
or removing the 'guts' and using the fabric (including cutting templates, etc)
I do both, though surprisingly I more often just use the fabric.

How do I clean neckties, especially the fragile silk ones?
You might want to wash your ties first.
I combine all the fabrics in my projects--cotton, wool, silk, and polyester, but you can certainly only choose the silks if you so desire.
I throw all of them into the washing machine--the ones that disintegrate, well...better now then in your project. There may have been worn areas not visible to the eye.
Yes, I wash the silk ones too.
Don't just toss the ties in loose, or you'll get one big knot.
I take five or so, place them in a pillowcase, and close it somehow (rubberband or a knot).
Hang to dry.
The polyester usually washes beautifully.
The silks may come out all twisted, but if you're going to take them apart anyway--it doesn't matter (if you're not taking them apart, you might want to dry clean).
article about cleaning neckties

How do I take the ties apart?
Let them dry, then clip the two anchoring stitches on the top and bottom of the underside (horizontal tack stitches).
Once the tacks are snipped, you can usually take the thread and just pull it out in one swoop, thereby freeing the lining (so much easier than seam ripping).
Now you can iron the fabric and cut as desired.

What if I don't want to take the ties apart?
If you're making a skirt, or if you just want to use the ties 'as is', you can butt them up tightly next to one another and stitch them together with a triple zig-zag or similar type stitch.
And, as I just stated, you might want to dry clean.

Now, how about some inspiration, eh?
I love this unusual quilt by Lori Mason, called Ronny's Ties.
Ronny's Ties, by Lori Mason

Dragon Top by Amy Weis of To Tie For
Dragon Tie Top by Amy Weis
Skirt also by Amy Weis (her website is not longer active)
Necktie Skirt by Amy Weis of To Tie For

Maylina has some brilliant designs

Incredible rugs by Eileen Away
Rug with maker

"straightjacket" by Bespoke by Brouhaha (I like this back detail)
Fit to be Tied - detail

pillow by Carol Sews
Blue Vest
and Green Jacket by Joan Wells
Liturgical Stoles by Janet Armstrong
picture frame
Prom dress made from neckties on craftster
dress by Deviant Art
Vest by T Vindy
tampon cozy on craftster
Quilt on Dacia Ray
Quilt by Precious Relics

Items for sale
Fit To Be Tied--hand sewn clothing line out of Seattle
Necktie apparel
handbags from KB Originals
pail pattern, and crazy necktie pattern, from Henrietta's Handbags

HGTV project for necktie handbags
handbag by Sonya Style
Schoolbag on CraftBits
Backpack with necktie handles, by Crafty Gal
Tie angel project
Snake toy
DIY project for reupholstering a chair
another source for reupholstering a chair

article about designer Frances Krupka

article about Pillows of Remembrance

article about bags made from Rudy Giuliani's neckties

My past posts about inspiration for sewing with neckties:
magazine projects
images inspiration
Easter eggs
my bookmark
my first log cabin block
my second log cabin block
quilt photo
my pincushion
my owl coin pouch
quilted box
tons of Laura's tutorials for purses, skirts and accessories
also Laura's zippered clutch

Posted on one of my other blogs:
Ipod cozy

There are also more inspirational projects (especially clothing) posted to my Flickr group, Sewing with Neckties.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Video Sunday

I first heard this on, of all places, CSI.
The artist is Lamb.
The song, My Angel Gabriel.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Tent City is close to my heart

I was going through some old boxes of scrapbook items today, searching for a card that was given to me many years ago, to prove to a certain man that he did indeed write me a love letter back in the day.
I haven't found the card yet, but I came across some fantastic photographs.

The photos are of my grandmother, who I called "Mom", basically because that's what my dad called her.
I don't remember my dad's father, Gig, as he passed away before I was born.
They were living in Maryland, but for their honeymoon in 1904 they attended the World's Fair in St. Louis, then headed west to stay at "Tent City" in Coronado, right here in San Diego.

They loved it so much, they moved here.
For explanation, here is a vintage postcard of Tent City.
Vintage Postcard, Tent City 3
(click on image to enlarge)

For years there were cabanas on the beach where people stayed, there was an outdoor saltwater pool, and lots of activities, like horseback riding on the beach,right by the infamous Hotel Del.
Grandma on a horse on Coronado 1904

On the back of this photo she has written, "House ain't nothing like this. My it's fun--don't you envy me?"
Grandma at Tent city, Coronado 1904

So they stayed here and raised a family in Coronado, as did my mom's parents.
My parents met at Coronado High School, and married in 1942 while my mom was still a junior.
They were married for 61 years.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Photo Friday

Amish country
Me, in Amish country, 1984.

I helped a friend drive across country to attend Boston College.
Pennsylvania was so green.
I was fascinated by the Amish, who offered fresh eggs and produce for sale at their barns, and the quilts everywhere.
I remember the children played with toy plows.
Someday I'll return, browse the many antique shops, and maybe take in a quilt show.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

An Irish kind of Christmas

On the first Wednesday of every month, the California Center for the Arts in Escondido offers a free show.
Tonight it was a Celtic Christmas special.
It was fun.

It was just good old-fashioned fun by a group of really nice, interesting people.

Music was provided by harper Maureen Brennan(meaning an old-style harp versus the newer and larger harps used by harpists), Kevin Carr playing penny whiste, fiddle, and Irish bagpipes, and the folk duo Men of Worth--two lads, one a Scotsman, the other and Irishman, playing a combination of banjo, mandolin, and some hand-held drums.

It was music that made the audience want to clap along, especially when two dancers treated us to our own little Riverdance.
Makes me want to learn Irish dance steps...

Several CDs were available for purchase after the show, including solo performances, and recordings by other bands the members also participate in.
I bought a CD by Wake the Dead--a Celtic version of The Grateful Dead that is absolutely fantastic!
I bought it sight unseen (or unheard, in this case) and I am so glad I did.

I also purchased a CD by the Irish pipes player, Kevin Carr.
It is a recording of story telling, and I can already tell I'll be glad for this purchase also.
Another member of tonight's band told me that when he first heard the story telling recording, he instantly purchased 20 copies for his daughter and all her classmates.
It reminds me of the old dramas you used to be able to hear on the radio.
I used to be a delivery driver, and I loved listening to the mysteries.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

What's the best part of blogging?

Well, gifts on a whim!!!

When I first started blogging, I didn't realize how enriching it was going to be in terms of making friends--like the friendship I share with Jen (the Felt Mouse).

Out of the blue the other day, a "thinking of you" package arrived in my mail box.
A package filled with incredible goodies!
Like "confectionery" stationery, and vintage trims.
goodies from jen

Aloha salt and pepper shaker set
Aloha salt and pepper

Coasters with vintage Hawaiian images, a mug that says "what if I WANT to look cheap?", collectible honey container from the Bee Movie, some fun post its, and some to-die-for Japanese fabric!
goodies from jen

Vintage (1971) booklet of pinecone crafts
Pine Cone craft booklet, 1971

Vintage (1975) craft book
Encyclopedia of Crafts, 1975

Also copies of Adorn Magazine, Blueprint, Romantic Homes, Cottage Living, and Imaginate.
And some amazing wicker cone-shapes (I LOVE cones) with pretty twisted wire handles, that I scanned but forgot to upload. But they are awesome. Love love love.

And, last but not least, the piece de resistance...
Cat tongue-shaped chocolates.
Cat Tongue-shaped Chocolate

Thanks so much Jen!!!

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Video Sunday

The classic Morcheeba tune, set to footage of New Zealand.
Makes me want to travel...