Monday, January 28, 2008

Cupcakes, Ladybugs & Wormeries

Yesterday was a glorious day. Full of sunlight and spring temperatures, it was the kind of day you dream about. One that makes you wish you could live outdoors.
So, we did just that until the sun went down and the cold came again.

Inspired both by Noggin and a book we checked out from the library, we decided to catch some pet worms. First we needed a house for them, so we created a wormery. We started by finding an old oversized beaker shaped glass vase I had lying around. We then added a layer of soil, then a layer of sand, then a layer of peat. To top it all off, we put decaying leaves on top to give our worms something to munch on.
Here's Amelia putting the leaves in:

The next step is finding some worms. We had to dig a bit more than I expected. It seems like during the summer months they're everywhere, but not so much in winter we found. But after some fun time spent digging in the dirt, we unearthed a few. Hurray!

Here are Amelia & Coop watching in wait to see where the worms will wiggle to:

After we got all done, I read that the worms prefer a dark environs which mimics being underground. Of course, that makes sense. The book suggested a paper wrapper, but I thought why use paper, when you have fabulous rainbow striped leg warmers just begging to be used as wormery cozies! Voila!
While making the wormery we had a surprise visit from a dainty ladybug who took a liking to Amelia. Amelia was a bit disappointed when the ladybug flew off eventually as she had thought that the ladybug made an ideal pet (evidently much better than a worm).

Matthew decided to make his own wormery and really got into the worm searching part of it. I had to call him in as it was getting cold and he was still digging. (Note: In all fairness I should mention that he knew once he came in, he had to either read a biography for his English class, clean his room or work on his Science leaf project, so that might have had something to do with it). :-)

When the sun did go down and sadly we had to come in, we decided to cheer ourselves up with some cupcake baking. I had lots of help.

The finished product:

So were they good?
Cooper thought so. As did Amelia, who asked to lick the bowl. That's frosting on her left eyebrow.

Hope your Sunday was as fun & yummy too!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Teeth, Fairies, Pillows & Patchwork

So lately I have been wanting to make all things patchwork. I started first with little tooth fairy pillows-
and have since moved on to miniature dollhouse quilts, sofa pillows, big doll quilts, regular quilts and patchwork Barbie clothes. Where I will stop, nobody knows. I love vintage fabrics and have waayyy too many for any one person. My hoarding in this department borders a bit on the maniacal. I have been stockpiling for much too long, after taking an extended sewing hiatus. It's nice to find piecework projects to really blend everything together for fun colorful, pattern-filled, unique statements. And it's such a good feeling to use your stash, and a good variety of it, and see it come to life in all its various forms.
Each tooth fairy pillow is replete with a felt tooth shaped pocket for tucking away that little tooth safely until the fairy comes to replace it with a shiny silver dollar or other magical gift.
Measures 7" x 6.5" (just right for little hands). Filled with new hypo-allergenic polyfil.
If you'd like this particular pillow, just leave a comment or email me-
$12 + nominal shipping.

The front of me

The back of me

Friday, January 25, 2008

Blogarage Sale 2 & Salsa Soureal

*Handsome Mr. Picador Torero Matador*
Always daring, exuding much machissimo, Mr. P.T. Matador will not only mesmerize bulls with one wave of his red cape, but you as well, when he gazes at you with his piercing blue eyes.

Glossy hand painted ceramic, and hand made to boot. Signed on bottom by its creator, known simply as, "Gwen". This handsome, rugged athlete/artiste measures 11" tall x 5.5" wide at his broadest (where the cape flares).
He has a couple of nicks here and there such as on the sleeve of his jacket and on his mantera (hat), which surely must have occurred in the ring. He is no worse for the wear, and actually even better for it, in my book.

$12 + nominal shipping via USPS-
Just email me or comment here if you'd like him to come and live with you at your humble abode.

I have some more fun things to add to the sale, but will do so tomorrow, as I am feeling lazy about taking measurements. Can't things just measure themselves? It would really make my life easier.

Speaking of lazy, I also wanted to own up to something a bit gross that is a result of my winter sloth.
I ate this today.

What is it you ask?
You know how some people like chili with crushed saltines on top? Well, this is that meal's less popular relative. What? Is this a recipe? Ummmm. No. "Oh, you came up with this on your own? How creative!" Well, I am happy you think so, but in reality, this is what happens when you open a bag of tortilla chips found in the pantry only to find broken teensy-tiny crumb remnants, left lovingly for you by your husband and children, peering up at you with squinted eyes from the bottom of the bag. And if you, like I was, are desperately craving chips & salsa and have no corn tortillas to make fresh chips, and are too lazy to get dressed and go to the store, you too, may decided to dump the rest of the bag into a bowl and then pour salsa over it. Sort of like tortilla chip cereal with salsa milk. Pretty gross, right? Well, the amazing and semi-embarrassing thing was that it actually tasted good. Not to say that I'd recommend it. Or on second thought, maybe I would, just when alone. :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Falling Behind.....

Just a commentary on how life gets the better of you at times, despite all best intentions. But, rather than feel guilty, I think it is a reason to rejoice, then recollect when the time is right (or shall I say write?) :-). I mean who can really complain that life is a blur?
Actually, I often do. But I don't really know why. Other than I guess I am enjoying life so much, I just want more of it. When we are all hustle-bustle, non-stop raising kids, pursuing our dreams, making a difference, creating happiness for ourselves and others or just kicking back and taking it all in, it is all time well spent. And when the calm finally does roll around, (and it does eventually), you can stop, smell the roses and put it all on paper (or in our case, screen). Getting so caught up and ensnared in life almost helps make blogging easier, as once a few days (weeks or months even) have passed, I already have those stand-out memories and know what I want to keep with me forever about each day. Blogging is such a wonderful way to chronicle time. Even the itsy-bitsy things you might not think important in the grand scheme of things. The tiny things can be the most important, being so truly telling with all the insightful glimpses, becoming miniature genre portraits. So, either way, the function of blogging remains the same for me, a way to see what really made me tick and beam and marvel at the different stations in my life, creating small highlights that filled the gaps between the milestones. And sometimes when those milestones get in the way, you don't have to feel guilty. Just scoot over and make room for them too. And as soon as your own personal calm strikes again, take time to reflect and catch up. It's all life's way.
P.S. Also please note that my "crime" of not blogging daily isn't even listed on the guilty man (shown above which is actually a poster entitled "Guilt" by Scorsone/Drueding and can be purchased here), so it looks like I'm off the hook! Hurray!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mother Goose Swap!!

Swap officially closed. Partners have been assigned.Thank you to all that joined and for any who missed out, I will be hosting a sweet little birds swap soon, so please bookmark my blog and check back!

I am very excited to announce that I have decided to host a Mother Goose themed swap!
I hope you will join in the fun!
Here are all the details:

Sign up to swap by: Friday, February 8th

Partner names will be sent out via email by: Monday February 11th

Send completed swap out by: Friday, March 7th

Swap Description:
This is a "use what you have" craft swap. So, don't buy anything new, just scavenge around and make do with what you have. It's more challenging and fun that way, right?
Select your very favorite nursery rhyme(s). Make a handcrafted item that is inspired by this rhyme(s) and mail it to your partner.

*Hint* Be sure you include the rhyme you are inspired by somewhere in your swap package if it is not incorporated into the craft itself.*

Anything your creative mind and able hands can conjure is fair game, as long as it ties in to the Mother Goose/nursery rhyme theme. Think mixed media, collage, paper crafts, needlecraft, softies, screenprint, dolls, jewelry, painting, terrariums, pet rocks, decorated socks...really anything goes. Just don your thinking cap and get crafty! Brownie points for all things vintage!

Who Can Join In?: Everyone & anyone who is interested in participating. Just *please* remember that if you sign up, it is so very important that you maintain your commitment, or kindly email me or leave a comment and let me know if you can't stick with us. Also please be sure you meet the mailing deadline.

How to Join:If you are interested in joining, please email me at to sign up (or with any questions). Please be sure to include your name, mailing address, preferred email address & blog name/link(if you have one). Also, not sure yet if any international participants will be playing along, but please let me know when signing up if you are open to being paired with an international swapper.

How Do I Know I Am In?:I will confirm that you are signed up via an email reply, so if you don't hear from me within a day or so, please leave me a comment here and I'll investigate!

Please feel free to add our swap badge to your blog.

Happy Swapping!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blogarage Sale (Please help me clean house!)

Some people are spring cleaners. I'm more of a New Year's gotta get organized type.
While it is in the spirit of renewal, I think it's more a habit derived from necessity. Those after Christmas/End of the Year clearances get me every time. A little spent here and a little there, adds up to a whole lot everywhere. Plus there's all the new Christmas booty to make room for. So, time to purge. Hence, the "Blogarage Sale"!

I have some cute mostly vintage things that I thought I would offer up here first, in hopes that they would make their way to a like-minded feathered nest somewhere in blogland. I will be adding ongoing until I feel like I can breathe in my house once again.

As I am just getting back into blogging this past week or so, I don't have many popping by for visit just yet, so if you run into this post, and see something you don't need, but think someone else might like, please send them my way!

Blue & White Bell Dolls-
Minaiture porcelain blue & white doll bells. These are not vintage. They are each labeled "Hand Painted" and "Made in China". There is a little bead that acts as a bell on a string. These measure approximately 2.5" tall and 2" wide at their widest.
I have about 50 of these. I bought a case at a flea market and had a project they were to be used for, that I ended up opting to go in a different direction with, after I bought them. So they've been sitting here, wanting to be used. Could be cute for mixed media, shadow box type projects etc.
$2 each or 2 for $3. Will further discount for greater quantities and am happy to give you an exact count for anyone who wishes to buy all. Nominal shipping to be calculated once I know how many you need. Just post a comment if you are interested! :-)

Please, don't ask me why I would use a prismacolor for scale, other than it was handy and I was feeling lazy. I realize not everyone has a prismacolor handy (or has even ever been near one) to know how big it is. My brain isn't always turned on.

Mr. Tomato-
Mr. Tomato has had a bit of a rough life. I think he was a drinker at some point (he has a penchant for a nip or two of the tarragon infused vinegar from what I hear), but I digress. While he's a little bumped and bruised from his years of hard living, he's quite charming and his life experiences have really been, well, character building. He is a little uncomfortable divulging his weight as he's put on a few pounds over the holidays, but I did take his measurements while he was sleeping: 5" tall by 5.5" wide. He has a nice little cleft (hook) at his chin where he'll be happy to have a friend hang out and keep him company. He is of sturdy constitution being made of chalkware and has a built in hanger on his back.

$8 plus nominal shipping. Post here if you'd like to take him home.

Hip Modern Egg Cups-

Set of 6 plastic brightly colored egg cups. I love the design. I of course had to take a picture with the monochromatic look, then the mix & match (but I did like every combination of the mix and match. It was fun, but I'll spare you the photo of every combination. Perhaps that should be the bonus question of the day. How many combinations can you concoct with these egg cups when mixing and matching the colors?) These are in excellent condition. What you see is what you get. No hidden surprises to note.
$12 for the set + nominal shipping. Post here if you'd like 'em. Won't they be cute for a retro or mid-century mod Easter table?

Alice Light Switch Cover-
And last, but not least, for today. I am not sure of the technique in which this is made, but it's a very cute, copper backed, glossy coated over the top of a painted front, light switch cover with a cute version of Alice the waitress delivering burgers & shakes at her diner. Works for a light switch with a single switch only. Measures: 6.5" in circumference. And light switch itself measures about 4" in from left hand side with about 2.25" left over on the right of the switch.
Great for a kitchen/pantry/dining room space!
$10 + nominal shipping. Post in comments if this will look perfect and you know just the place for it.

Thank you for browsing my first Blogarage Sale. I plan to offer up lots more where this came from, so do check back. 'Ya hear?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm Puzzled

Just time for a brief post today...still lots going on. Our household has been into puzzles lately. So, I thought I'd share this neat online puzzle creator tool that is fascinatingly fun. I created this puzzle from the photo collage I made for our Christmas cards this past year.
Click to Mix and Solve

There are limitless options...give it a try..Jigzone

Monday, January 14, 2008

In a Funk.....

Today was a tough day. Lots of unexpected events happened that were rather dreary.
It's interesting how life unfurls itself sometimes. I am a strong believer in fate and while I can tend to be a pessimist, I have a rare skill for optimism in the face of uncertainty or adversity. I am not sure where I draw my strength from when the going gets tough. Maybe it's because I always operate in semi-stress mode, so I am better able to cope as I am somehow acclimated. I am sorry to not go into detail, but it's best I leave it at this for now. If anyone is out there, I thank you for listening.
Oh and by the way, the wonderful painting entitled "Sadness" is by artist Tammy Williams, who is currently serving a ten year prison term for bank robbery. I found her work and some other amazing art by chance on the site while doing a google image search. The Prisons Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that promotes the arts and education in prison and alternatives to incarceration.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday is the day I look forward to most, all week.
My darling househerr is home, which means life is a bit easier.
With two pairs of able hands, 4 spry getaway sticks and two sets of watchful eyes, home terrorization is easily reduced by half.
In fact, I can actually get some things done.
Plus, he lets me sleep in (til 8), but still.
And to my husband's defense, it's the kids who wake me up by being their boisterous little selves, not him. He would tiptoe around the house letting me rise whenever I pleased, if he could.

But, it's not just the fact that he's helpful that makes this my favorite part of the week, it's his wonderful company I crave as well. No one makes me laugh harder, or more frequently. No one understands me as well. No one knows all my flaws like he does, and still embraces my imperfect self. No one likes to do most all the things I like to do just as much (or sometimes more) than I.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I thought it appropo to take time to really think about and appreciate those we love. I often get caught up in the shuffle and take my relationships for granted, despite my best efforts not to. It just happens.
It's nice to have sweet occasions as gentle reminders to dote on all those you love.

And in the spirit of Valentine's Day, here are some fun postcards from my vintage collection-

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cutting Curls

Part of me still regrets it. There is another part of me that is happy to not dread brushing tangles out EVERY day to the sound of tears and shrieks. But there is the part of me that wants to embrace my baby and never let her, or any child, grow up. And I associate sweet curls with babyhood. Once they're gone, your baby is somehow now grown up.

Little Ladybird's hair has always been her signature. Long, gingery auburn curls that when slept on just the right way, would wake up looking like a big 80's Cindy Crawford supermodel mane.
But it was tangly. Not just any tangly. The kind of tangles that become so ensnared, combs enter, but they don't come out. And she would run at the sight of me, even with "No More Tears" in hand, she would run and hide, then squeal and scream when caught.

Eventually I grew tired. And the curls were looking long and tired. So out came the scissors. Ladybird was actually fine with it. I was the one who had been holding on for too long. She had actually been asking quite regularly to have her hair cut like a poodle's. Don't ask. So, I cut and cut and then said, how about some bangs? So I cut some more. Actually I thought the curls would spring to life and be bouncing and behaving, just shorter versions of their former selves. But I was wrong. Once I cut, they just came off. They sprang nowhere, then just fell to the floor. I scooped them up quickly, not wanting to lose the slightest wisp so that I could preserve them for posterity in the baby book. At first I tried admiring my (sloppy & uneven, thanks to a won't sit still, three year old) handiwork. After all, Ladybird looked cute as a button. What was not to like? Then I cried. What had I done? I fretted. Could I glue them back on? I mean Ladybird looked cute and all, but almost a little too grown up for me. All of a sudden she was exuding "kindergartener". I lamented robbing her of her beautiful curls. And then a crazy thought leapt to mind. Maybe I could wake up and curl it each day to mimic those carefree, natural curls I had just cut to the floor. Yes! Then, reality set in and I realized I was me, and that would never happen. I think the last time I curled my own hair was over twenty years ago and it was like, once. For prom.

So, I've come to terms with Ladybird's new straighter, shorter hair. And there are perks. She can see better whenever she pleases. Even without barrettes! And now we have no more tears without no more tears.

Ladybird just before:

And after:

See? Still cute as can be and happy about it...oh wait! What's this?

Perhaps she's had a change of heart. :-)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jane Austen, anyone or how 'bout houseplants?

A friend, (Thanks, Ann), recently alerted me to the fact that PBS is broadcasting "The Complete Jane Austen" as part of their Masterpiece Theater series. All six of Jane Austen's novels will be shown in screen adaptations: Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey & Mansfield Park. Plus they will be airing a new drama based on Austen's life. This is the first time in televised history that all of her books will be broadcast as a collection. Quite charming. I eat up conceptual packaging like this.

I am excited and hope to read along! Maybe you will as well? Let me know if you do. We can chat about our readings virtual book club style.
Premiere date is this Sunday, January 13th.

The Complete Jane Austen

*And on an entirely separate note, I just noticed that Lowes has a $10 off any houseplant purchase, with no minimum purchase amount, which could mean a free plant, depending on what you select. Coupon good through 01.31.08.
Lowe's Learn 2 Grow $10 Coupon

So, here's a great freebie that will be a fun project for the kids too. Gather everyone up for a ride to the garden center to pick out the new plant and then come home and identify it online, read about its care, maybe decorate a new pot for it? Perhaps a mosaic? Or, now's your chance to replace that plant you left outside for a little sun & fresh air only to find that a cold front came through overnight and you now have a very sad plant that looks like this-

or this:

And, yes. These are both my plants. So as you can see, I will be using the coupon.