Monday, January 28, 2008


I was lucky enough to leave town yesterday without kids--surprisingly, no alarms or sirens went off as I left the Central Valley for the City. I was invited to attend the SF gift show with my pal Deborah who owns the sweet shop, Bower Bird. She thought it would be fun and inspirational..and boy-oh-boy. Think three football fields filled with vendors of all kinds. You had your cutesy, your indie, your vintage and your flea market imports. And your $9 tiny spinach salad. I woke this morning with a crampy back, not realizing how far I must have walked in my flat-arched (but sooo cute) shoes. It was a blast, followed up by a yummy Spanish dinner complete with Flamenco dancers. On our way back to the car the wind was gusting, rain was spitting and we nearly forgot where we parked. It felt like quite the adventure for someone who usually functions in kid-centered, predictable suburbia. Now if I could only bend over.

Some of my favorite booths were Tinsel Trading Company (been lovin' their website for years), Flowiestyle (wonderful screen-printed yummies) , FluffyCo (wanted one of everything) and Joli Jewelry (think six year-old in a candy store).

I came home with some vintage buttons, teensy doilies, glass hearts and bunches of business cards from people ranging from tiny start-up to mega ribbon corporations. I went to bed dizzy with ideas and possibilities. Because, that's what keeps us going, isn't it? The chance to create and the excitement of what's next.

the sun is shining
clean, clear, blue freshly washed air
open the door wide

Friday, January 25, 2008

sometimes she does...

I love it when she wears these jammies. It's a nice visual reminder. Even if she doesn't say it often enough. Have I mentioned the rain? I have? Oh my...well, it's raining. Still. I'm having Pacific Northwest flashbacks and checking the walls for mold. Pretty soon my fingers will be all pruny.

Look below. See! I have been crafting. I just keep taking things to Deborah's little shop before remembering to take pictures of them. These little aprons started out as McCalls M5551 but I found them to be too long and dowdy. A little shorter, a little ric-rac, one pocket instead of two--well, now they aren't really the pattern at all. But I like how the pattern has both kid's and women's sizes. The pictures are far from lovely, but it was the only dry spot I could find outdoors.

no haiku today. i'm not feeling that poetic...can you write one for me? tgif.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Blogger, brew and random bits of craziness

So, lately Blogger has been a little wonky. Pictures disappear from posts (where do they go? to other better, more popular blogs?), posts get published twice after I go back to edit something..I'm not sure what's going on. All I know is that I hit *publish* and hold my breath. It's a crapshoot. But it's free, so why complain.

That bubbling bottle is my hubby's hobby. That disgusting slush of goo and liquid becomes beer. It's amazing. This particular batch is gluten-free since his sisters have Celiac disease. We'll see how this turns out. Gluten free=no malt=strange brew. Which also means there's no danger of this batch blowing the top off and spraying cat-yackish globs on the kitchen ceiling. It's happened. Twice.

I was thrilled to shop with Claire today. It turns out she also suffers from last-minute-buyers-regret-dump-it-all-on-your-way-to-the-checkstand disorder. We are our own little support group. We want it, we really do, but when it comes time to pay for it, we just can't do it--kids are yelling and whining and our husbands' floating heads appear to haunt us--"dooo you neeed it???" Pretty soon, we're bailing out stuff faster than a sinking ship. Sorry, Ikea employees. We can't help ourselves. Please forgive us. Until next time.

(a new haiku for you)

my messy kitchen,
cold toes, dreams of warm springtime
greet me each morning

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

my new keyboard

Last week my keyboard died. Specifically, the letters a,s,d,f and j,k,l (you know, the ones your fingers rest on and you use the most). I thought it was very cruel of my computer and I think it got secret joy out of me trying in vain to punch on those keys (I won't tell you how long I tried. It's rather embarrassing.) My solution? New computer! Yes, I'm impulsive like that. My hubby gave me his usual who-is-this-crazy-woman-and-why-did-I-marry-her look and sent me a link to this keyboard instead. It's felt! It's washable! Freakin' adorkable. Check out the plastic bag laptop carrier and USB bracelet, too. Unfortunately they're still in development. Right now I'll settle for the scavenged iMac keyboard from the kids' computer. All the letters work--at least until my computer decides otherwise.

(a haiku..for you)

cold drippy tuesday
but at least it's not monday.
i'm in my jammies, and you?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Quick Getaway

As land-locked dwellers, we frequently find ourselves drawn to the ocean. Our favorite spot is the area around Pt. Reyes where farmlands and grazing cows greet us on our trip to the sea. It's a beautiful journey--grassy marshes lead you to the dunes and gusty beaches. I was saddened to see how much trash had washed up from the winter storms--specifically plastic. It strengthened my resolve to get more plastic out of our lives. It's hard to explain to a six year-old why all that junk is in the ocean. I recommend reading "Plastic Ocean" by Susan Casey in the compilation book The Best American Science and Nature Writing, edited by Richard Preston, if you need that extra push to start thinking about where plastic goes after the trash can. Twelve powerful pages that will make your stomach turn.

Back home, my mind is floating with thoughts of aprons + matching potholders for Valentine's Day. Pretty large projects for someone who's used to making teeny tiny hedgehogs. I've got fabric piled up on the floor, ready to go. It's just easier to make a cup of tea and disappear into blogland instead.

happy weekend, wherever you are.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scrumptious Hummus

By popular demand (okay, just Melissa and Claire) here's my hummus recipe, which actually originated from some friends in our Fresno days. I love it because the recipe has no oil but still whips up light and fluffy.

1 can garbanzos
6 T tahini
salt to taste
2 cloves garlic
5 T lemon or lime juice
cayenne to taste
1/2 c water or more, depending on desired consistency

I start by putting the garlic, a few beans, 2 T of the tahini and a bit of water in the processor to get smooth. Then add the rest. That way, the garlic isn't too chunky. One time when I made this recipe, I accidentally doubled the garlic (how, you say? I don't know--I had two kids hanging on me, probably!) and it still tasted good. I just had a green aura for a few days.

I am loving Peptogirl's series of posts on getting your craft business jumpstarted. Check it out--she shares some wonderful resources.

happy thursday!

Friday, January 11, 2008


Just when you think the day is going to be drizzly, slow and torturous, you hear the UPS truck pulling up (screeek!) in front of your house. I don't care what's being delivered--today it was crochet hooks and beermaking supplies (two separate boxes, that is). That *thump* as the packages hit the doormat is the most beautiful sound ever.

I'll tell you a secret. Although I have a deep appreciation for the finer arts of sewing, when it comes to sewing for my own house, I'm a lazy a## crafter. I needed pillows for our new (well, new to us) sofa STAT. Nothing frilly or fancy. No hidden zippers or button closures. And washable, for god's sake. Because they only stay on the sofa about 37% of the time. The rest of the time they are stepping stones, weapons and trampolines. And when mom's not watching, they make handy napkins. Yes, the throw pillow has a limited lifespan around here--about 4-6 months. Then, I dissect them for their fluffy middles and we start over again. My favorite type is the envelope back and I found the easiest instructions here. They can be adapted for all pillow sizes. I usually have to make a few adjustments because my pillow middles have been used many times and have lost some of their pouf. These took me about 30 min total. I used Erin Michael's Loft 1800 sale fabric and Mr. Dewberry always comes in handy! And now the sofa is looking slightly less like a tent from M*A*S*H.

have a great weekend

Thursday, January 10, 2008

a little less about me

My painting friend gave me this print as a belated Christmas gift. I admired it one evening when I was over visiting him and his wife and checking up on the status of the new (and wonderful) studio he is building behind his house. The print is very small and I'm keeping it close by until I find a good spot for it. I'm not sure who the artist is--it's just signed "Julia". It's such a pleasant reminder of all the blessings I have in my life. How time is so fleeting--first they are babies and before you know it, they are teaching YOU new things they've learned at school. I'm beginning to feel like one of the outdated textbooks I studied. You know, the history ones that ended with the Vietnam War.

I haven't been making many things these days. I am trying to not pump out things like a machine. Having my crafting be *purposeful*. Thanks, Claire, for that inspiration (and for putting my blog on your list--she has some great blogs to check out). This little break has allowed me appreciate what other people are doing, making and talking about. Melissa's rocks, Amy's papercuts, Tamie's book... I'm really enjoying their excitement and successes. This does not mean I won't be crafting soon--I have sofa cushions to make and vintage pillowcases to transform. The house is looking more shabby than chic.

happy thursday!

Monday, January 7, 2008

i know...enough with the mushrooms

These days, whenever I manage to pop in a local thrift store, mushrooms grow in my basket. A few months ago it was this and now these just magically appeared yesterday. Mushrooms are tricky like that. I think it's serendipity. My hubby thinks they should multiply in someone else's home.

More from the depths of the WIP basket. These are little girl purses that I dressed up with a little applique there, a button here...and there we are. The fabrics are a mishmash of Ikea, JoAnn and vintage from my estate sale stash. The tree one has a little red bird in it that you can't really see in the picture. They were fun and easy, the perfect size for little hands or for big girls who don't want to carry a lot of stuff.

And, last, but certainly not least, I had to snap a pic of the yummy cupcakes I made to share with the SCM ladies tonight. I ordered this book to expand my cupcake repertoire (but hopefully not my pants).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

That storm was a-rocking..

And it came knocking in the wee hours on Friday. Wowsa. I was mesmerized by it all at our front window. Trash, umbrellas, our Christmas tree, small dogs--all flying down the street. Okay, there weren't any dogs but I swear that wind could've taken your Chihuahua into the next county. Do they make teensy-tiny leg weights? My littlest almost soared into the sky in a parking lot, umbrella inside out. It was all very exciting and a little scary at the same time. Why don't we get to name our West Coast storms a la hurricanes in the East? This one should have been "Hammer" (as in MC "I'm gonna knock you out" Hammer). Our DSL went out briefly when the power started flickering. I took that as a sign to turn the computer off for the day. I hope that everyone who had to go somewhere made it back safe and sound and my heart goes out to those who may still be without power.

I had the chance to finish up a few projects that had disappeared to the bottom of my WIP basket. I thought I wouldn't see them again but low and behold, I pulled them out sucked it up and just DID it. The bibs are linen on the front and contrasting cottons on the back. Simple seam binding for the ties. I had about 10 started (which is usually the main problem--I try to do too many at once and get overwhelmed) and have finished four. I know linen may be sooo 2007 but I still love it for it's simplicity and feel. Melissa makes some beautiful raw-edged linen bibsters. I think they may be in the new book she's featured in.

Here are a few pics (taken with a dying camera in-between storms).
Happy Saturday.
Stay safe and dry wherever you are!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


The weather persons have been talking about this upcoming series of western storms (that brings up an image of clouds wearing cowboy hats..but my mind wanders..) for an entire week. Each evening, hubby and I would sit down to watch the local 11 o'clock pseudo-news (one of our lamer hobbies, but there's nothing like a good laugh before bed). They kept reporting on a storm that wasn't HERE yet. Sending the poor junior reporter lackeys into the streets to talk about how it MIGHT be flooded once it starts to rain in TWO days. One poor soul drew the short straw and had to go stand in the pitch dark riverbed and demonstrate how high the water level might get. I can just picture him twisting his ankle among the river rocks, ruining his best suit and dress shoes. Poor guy. It's almost as entertaining as watching them bring the snow report from the same spot just above snowline. It goes something like this: "Hey, it's snowing. It's white. It's cold. My job sucks." So worth staying up for. Now it is actually raining.

Thursday's mission: striped tights. Saw them somewhere with cute red clogs. But every time I look online, my search results are mostly "clown supplies". What does that say about me? If I was one of those gifted knitter types, I could just whip up my own. But I'm not. I am going to give crocheting another try with this and this. I might suck, but I'll have super cute supplies. Part of my problem is I'm left-handed. Which usually means there's this tiny convoluted footnote at the bottom on how to do it if you are a lefty. Another (larger) problem is my complete inability to comprehend things spatially. I usually have to have my hubby translate patterns for me..I can't wrap my brain around them sometimes. That's true love--sitting down late at night to calmly explain instructions to your hysterical wife who can't figure out how to make a friggin' purse.

We are currently enjoying this CD in constant rotation. Thanks, Auntie B. If you're a child of the 80's, then you will know these songs by heart. I wanted to change my name to Interplanet Janet. Or Mary Poppins. It was a tie. I've made an effort to work some SR phrases into my daily life. Telling my three year old to "unpack her adjectives" and randomly shouting "interjections!" is fun. If "Three Is A Magic Number" doesn't make you get your groove on, then you need to have your groove examined. Hm, that sounds uncomfortable.

happy thursday. crafting is to come soon. really.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

fresh breath

After our three days playing the snows of Mt. Shasta, it has been really hard to jump back into post-Christmas life. Consider it a cookie/fudge crash. The little ones are stir crazy having a whole week before school starts up again..the joy of being together has morphed into irritation and crabbiness. This afternoon I dragged all the crabby parties into the back yard. They got to watch me rake (and rake..) leaves while breathing in some fresh air. Minus the elusive dog poo we kept stepping in. It seemed to help. The fresh air. Not the poo.

Doesn't my girl look like she's in one of those tic-tac commercials, juggling the two tiny people on her tongue? Ahh. Minty people.

I was very excited to see my lil 'ol blog in Missy's blogroll. She is one of those amazing people who has her finger right on the pulse of the crafting/blog/trend world. It's the first time I have ever seen speckled nest listed on someone's blog. I know it's such a small thing, but it meant a lot to me today. A day where I'm sort of getting through--much less feeling crafty or inspired.

I love these cards...

I might need to buy some to frame for the girls' room.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcome, 2008!

Hi there..and Happy New Year to you all! We had a pretty unexciting New Year's Eve thanks to an all-encompassing round of the barking cough and cold. I could tell where my kids were in Ikea today based on the pitch and frequency of their coughing. Truth be told, I checked them into Smalland to contaminate other kids. I know, I'm horrible. I told them to cough in their elbows--at least give me credit for that. Please tell me that you had some swinging good times last night so I can live vicariously through you. Seriously. I am 33 and I already feel like my swinging days are waaay over. The problem is, I never really started. Good girl syndrome.

I am so excited about 2008, although I'm not really sure why. New beginnings, a blank slate, a chance to become a better person, wife and mother. Letting myself off the hook more. Stop swearing--or at least in front of the kiddos. To not hold everyone up to my crazy neurotic, borderline OCD standards (which I really don't follow myself--I just complain and whine about things, mostly). To make more friends. To listen and not judge. To cook more. To attack with spontaneous hugs. To appreciate what I have. What are yours?

I'm trying to put Christmas away, but some people (uh..I mean, animals that think they're people) seem to not want to see the tree skirt back in the box. Oh well, I'll give it up until tomorrow. Wasn't it yesterday that we were setting up?

Wishing you all the best for your blank slates..thanks for reading.