Friday, November 4, 2011

I Love Fall!

And I'll say it again......I love Fall!!

Here in southern California we don't get a lot of the colors, but there are a few trees that break out in a glory of color...usually red...and I love it!!

The other evidence of Fall is the direction of the sun and the Fall shadows.  The color of the sun seems warmer than the clear Summer sun and I love the longer shadows in the evenings.

We also get Santa Ana winds.  Bleck.  

These are hot, dry winds that make me grouchy...but the worst part is that they are prime winds for big fires.

We aren't in an area that would put us in danger of the fires, but every day that we have them I pray that nobody gets weird and starts a fire.  It is heartbreaking to see fires consume homes, just heartbreaking.

So, the other day we got the winds and I was so excited when I went to bed and hadn't heard of one fire!!


This is my feeble attempt to capture the effect of the wind.  Sorry.....

And in other exciting news I have recently become comfortable with yeast!!

Yes, for years I have strongly avoided recipes that contained yeast.  Oh, sure, I made a loaf or two of bread from time to time, just to see if I could pull it off but the yeast just scared me.

But then I discovered a One Hour Cinnamon Roll Recipe !!!!!  One hour?  Yes!!!

Of all the bread recipes that I've wanted to try, Cinnamon Rolls was the one that always got to me.  I love cinnamon, bread, butter....bread.....Anyway, the usual recipes call for a long time of rising.  At least, a long time if you want to make them for breakfast. :)  But this one you can truly go from the first mix to eating a delicious Cinnamon Roll in One Hour!!!

So I tried my hand at this recipe (reading up on what "warm" water is) and it worked!!

Three times so far!!


Holy yum!!!!!

Sue at Mrs. Micawber's Recipe for Happiness does an amazing job of explaining the recipe and the steps and then, to finish it off she gives a stunning array of toppings!!!  Trust me, you will want to try every single one!!

And then, that got me so brave that I tried what for me was the pinnacle of bread making...French Bread!

I'm sorry to say that I didn't get one picture.....mainly cuz we ate it so fast!!! :)



I've got a few projects started but I am completely at a stand still with them and believe I have Analysis Paralysis.  And this is the totally wrong time of year for this!!  Must. Make. Gifts.

I guess I'll figure it out.  I'll probably just have to take the plunge and just force myself into it.  That usually does the trick...just doing it.  Thank you, Nike!! :)

I hope this finds you enjoying your Friday and that you are cozy and warm!!


Friday, October 14, 2011

What a Whirlwind!!

I feel as though I've just been on an exciting vacation but I haven't left town!

Alyssa's 17th birthday was Tuesday......17.........

I'm still getting used to this age as it is too darn close to 18!

We didn't do anything major for this one, just lunch with family, but it was really special.

Backing up, on Monday she got her driver's permit.  

That's probably why this week has been so difficult for me....a birthday AND gaining the ability to get behind the wheel of a car all in 2 days!!

It is exciting, scary and fun, all rolled up!!  It's like a life burrito around here!! lol!!!

As I type she is in the middle of her first driving lesson!!

......sigh.....

But on to things that don't remind me my babies are growing up!

I've picked up some neat things to try and redo!  

I have gotten so much inspiration out there that it's time that I start to at least try!!

And I'm typing this now so that I can hold myself accountable! :)

~~~~~

Have a super day!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ladder vs. Small Car

Posted by Picasa

I saw this in a parking lot last week and how could I _not_ take a picture of this level of awesomeness?

It still makes me smile!!!  :)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Sky


The sky here was so pretty yesterday evening that I wanted to share!

The first few were taken from our backyard...





And the rest were taken at a local high school football stadium.

As sunset came it got even prettier!



The kickoff!!

It rained!  Not much but the drops were big!
I really like my umbrella!

Game over and the good job line commenced.
It was "our" homecoming game and "we" won..that was nice!
Posted by Picasa

So, there's a nice evening in southern California!

I'm trying out Picasa 3.  I've not liked Picasa in the past but this version seems okay.
It imported these pictures into Blogger and that was nice.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Slowing Down

I've been reading this book:



It's about ...well let me share this quote,

"How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too is for every mother who’s ever wondered if it’s possible to pursue her own passions while investing in her family and managing a home."

It's not a long book but it has made me pause quite a few times to think!

I'm in the section on living intentionally.

Now that is a word that I think I could have used years ago!!

It's a concept I've never grasped but felt that it was out there...somewhere.

Now that I have the word bouncing around in my mind I'm reassessing a lot of what I do.

Even down to folding the laundry, if you can believe it!!

I'll notice from time to time that I move around like I'm in some type of hurry.  Sometimes it's a necessity and sometimes I think it's just my default.

My grandma (my mom's mom) was a hustle bustle woman.  I didn't get to visit her often but one of my strong memories of her his how busy she always seemed to be around the house.  She always had something to do and she did it quickly. 

A few minutes ago I was folding laundry and I realized I was really rushing.  Sure, it's not an interesting thing to do so getting it done fast seems reasonable.  But once I made the observation I deliberately slowed down determined to just enjoy the moment.

And you know what?  I did!  I was in the garage, folding laundry and I just enjoyed the moment!!  Slowing down just felt really nice!

I'm not finished with the book yet...it's a book to savor.   Yet, if all I take from it for now is living intentionally, it was a great $9 investment!!



**  Just a note to say I get nothing for mentioning the book and if you buy it I receive nothing.  It's just a good book worth sharing!! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

23 Years is Detritis, Right?

Today is our 23rd anniversary!

Wow, 23 years.....sounds longer than it feels.  And that's probably a good thing!! 

Not being ones for tradition we headed out to the local swap meet!!
There's nothing like celebrating romantic anniversaries than meandering through someone's old junk!
But it satisfies my retail therapy needs and keeps us on budget....see, romantic cuz it makes the hubby happy!!

About 2 minutes from our house is a community college and on weekends they fill a few of their parking lots with all sorts of vendors.

Old stuff = like junk in boxes from a yard sale.  I see a lot of family and baby pictures out there which I find kinda sad.  
But I love the old junky stands the best!!
New stuff = you name it really....pet supplies, personal care stuff, furniture, socks, shoes, clothes, jewelry, rugs.
And then there's the food =  fruit, vegetable and nut stands, food trucks and churro carts. (yum!!)
It's got something for everyone!
No really, I saw one guy carrying around a HUGE stuffed animal!! (???)
And there's a rasta guy who's been there for years selling incense.

We took a break for a romantic lunch at this purple truck.

Tacos for two! 
The chicken one was really good and Ed liked the fish...see?  A match made in heaven!!

 When we got home Ed picked a cantaloupe from the garden.
We've usually (and by usually I mean last year!) picked them too soon but today it was perfection!!
The juiciest and sweetest cantaloupe I've ever had!!

Now, after that deliciousness I can decide what to make from the yarn I got at the swap meet!!
(Edited to add that it was a $1 a skein!)
I think it feels like a cotton but I'm not certain.  
I don't tend to buy neutrals but it has a natural look to it and I think it will suit the project.

I have an idea of what I'd like to make and hopefully it will turn out nice enough to share!!


So, any other old married couples like us out there?




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Figured It Out!

In my last exciting post (showing off here that I speak Irony!!) I mentioned how I'd like to have the side on the right be white so that the text would be easier to read.  Cuz, you know, scads of people are wanting to read all about me! ;)

Sue at Mrs. Micawber's Recipe for Happiness (who you should go visit because her pictures and prose are very pretty!!) (oh, and her recipes and crochet are equally awesome!!) suggested I seek help in the forums.

So, I went over there to do that but got sidetracked.  
Not unusual.
I ended up playing around with the design again.
And I did it!!

All I did was pick a new template that was designed to have the sidebar on the right be a color.
I did have to go and reset the background, fonts and colors, but I enjoy playing with that stuff anyway!!

I liked this one especially as it allowed for the sidebar to be transparent so the neato green scrolly stuff peeks through!!!

I have to say Blogger is nice and easy for people like me!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Having a Little Fun!

I'm gaining some confidence in playing around in Blogger!

So, if you have visited before you will notice a difference...I hope it's not too painful on the eyes!!

If you have any feedback, please share!!

I'll take positive and negative...hey, a girl has to learn, right!?  

Thank you!!! :)


Edited to add: I'd love for the sidebar to have a white background.  Is that possible?  I mean, possible for someone like me?  ;)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Expanding Your Foil

One of the things I brought with us on our camping trip was a birthday cake.
Adam likes my chocolate cake with butter cream frosting and as cake always tastes better a day or so later it was perfect timing.

I wasn't sure of the washing up facilities (turns out there really aren't any) so I covered the pan with foil first then put in the batter and baked it.

As I was getting the foil ready for the pan I remembered where I learned this little trick.
A wonderful man named Dean Slocum taught this to me when I was in my 20s and it's been a great thing to know!!  Dean's no longer with us, but his tip lives on!!

And thanks to this post on the wonderful blog The V Spot I realized that maybe I know something that I could share!!  If you don't already read Vivienne's blog you are missing something great!!  She is clever, funny, smart and entertaining!!!! :)

Now, down to business!

This is for when you have a pan that is larger than your foil.  It is really useful when you have something liquid, too, like cake batter!
I also use it to cover large platters.

What you do is cut two pieces of foil to the size you need.

 Lay one right on top of the other.


Along one of the long sides, fold up about 1/2" or so...just eyeball it.

 This is the first fold.

Then fold it over once again.

Crease it really well along the fold.

Take the top sheet and fold it back over the fold and crease.

 And now you have one large piece of foil!

It's not totally secure, but for transporting, lining a baking sheet,  or lining and or/covering a roasting pan, it works!

When I need it a bit more sturdy I'll fold it over one or two more times.

They do make the really long foil, but this tip helps save drawer space if you can even fit that long box in your drawer.  Which I can't.

I'm off to wonder if I know anything else.............;)

So Camping...I Loved It!!!

Nobody was more surprised than me how much I enjoyed camping!!
Okay, possibly my sister....she was shocked!!
:)

It was SO fun!!  Of course, being at a campground that is run much like a cruise ship helps!!
At the Silent Valley Club camp ground if you are bored it's cuz you wanna be!!

My sister, my dad and I entered a pool tournament!!
The gentleman in the orange is my cute dad!!

It was double elimination....I played two games...yea..

But, I had a blast!!!  

Also, this cutie turned 13!!!!
He is truly a kind hearted young man.....Love!!!! 

My sister and her family drove up just for the day, too!!  That was a huge blessing as it was a two hour drive each way!!!  They are Adam's favorite people so it touched my heart!!

I also think these are acorns!!
Just last week over on Mrs. Micawber's Lovely Blog I had mentioned that I didn't think I'd ever seen an acorn.  Then over the weekend these things kept dropping out of the trees on us.  These aren't the type that I think of when I think, "Acorn" but it is something!!

Also, see those pointy parts on the ends??  They hurt.

This was a great trip and I'm looking forward to doing it again!!
Did I really say that???

Adam on the rock, Alyssa at the table on the right hanging with their cool cousins!!
The camper is my parents, btw!!  (I wish it was mine!!!)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Good Life Lesson

Nothing crafty going on here this week.
We are going camping this weekend and so I've been getting ready.
Mentally mostly as it's been 12 years since the last time we camped!

Our son Adam will turn 13 on Saturday and he's been wanting to camp since forever.
And so, for him, we are doing it!

I've avoided it for years but now that it is planned I'm looking forward to it.
Adam is a sweet boy and I'm excited to live in dirt for him!! ;)

***

I also want to share an experience we had today.
It really effected me and was a good reminder in life.

To preface, there was a commercial I remember...it may have been for insurance.. it was one of the ones where the commercial really had nothing to do with the product, but they were sending a good message.
It showed a woman doing something nice for someone, someone sees the act of kindness and they in turn show kindness to someone else and so on until I think the original woman is the recipient of some else's act of kindness.

So, today.

We had just had a frustrating experience at the DMV.

Shocked?

Didn't think so.

Anyway, we decided to stop at McD's for lunch.

As we were walking toward the door a man pulls up in his car.
He hops out and kinda does a slow jog toward the door.

He gets to the door maybe 2 seconds before us, opens the door, walks in and lets the door close in our face.

Now maybe I'm a stickler for manners or expect too much from strangers but in my book if someone is literally right behind you at the door, you hold it for them.

It was obvious to all four of us that he jogged to the door in order to get in before us.
Now, that's not a big deal to me.  I get it. 
He's one guy obviously in a hurry and we are a family of four.
And it is 1pm and somewhat busy.

But to let the door go like that?
That is what really got to me.

That is what really got to me after having a crappy time at the DMV.

So, next we are at the register ordering.
We seem to be ordering with the manager.
The manager who doesn't seem to get how his register works very well.
Oh, and then there is the machine six feet away blending coffee drinks and is so loud you have to stop talking to let it stop cuz nobody can hear you when it's running.

I was not a happy girl.
As a matter of fact I was getting unusually annoyed.

As the rude guy walked by me to leave...and I half thought of flipping him the bird.....it hit me.
Had he just held the door open...he could have held it for my husband so that he could still have ordered before us...I wouldn't have walked in already irked.
At him.

Well, I would still have been bugged by the DMV, but the little act of rudeness just added a little to my mood.

Now, I fully accept responsibility for my own feelings and don't _blame_ the rude guy for my annoyance, but it fully taught me that my sometimes self-involved actions could effect someone else who may also have just been to the DMV or even have way worse life situations.

I'm a true believer in being nice.
I like helping a stranger with the door, picking something up that someone drops....it always leads to a smile (well usually) and it makes me feel good.
And I hope it makes them feel good, too.
I had never thought about or experienced what happens when the random act is rude.

Ack!
So sorry.
This is getting (getting?  gotten!) way too long.

Bottom line here is that just as a random act of kindness gets passed on, so can a random act of rudeness.
And either one can get passed on with differing effects.

Well, I just wanted to share this thing from today.
Sometimes it's the opposite lesson that has the true impact and proves the point.

And hey, rude guy.
I forgive you and thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kickin' It Old School Style!

In the interest of full disclosure I have to be honest.

I believe it is all of our best interest that I just be forthcoming.

I'd hate to think that I might lead someone on here and cause disappointment.

I would feel very, very sad if anyone felt they had been misled.

So, ready?

The truth is I am the old fashioned kind of crafty person

My tools are basic: hot glue gun, scissors (straight and pinking sheers), hole punch (single and three hole), Sharpies, sewing machine (I have one which doesn't translate into knowing how to use it at the moment), staple gun......uuummmmmmmmm...I think that covers the basics.

What I mean to say here is that I don't have a vinyl cutting machine or a serger or actually any crafting gadget that's come out in the 21st century.

So, what you see here is all me, baby.

And when you see something that looks poorly executed (and you will!) remember my limitations and be kind! ;)

Believe me, it's not that I don't want them, oh no!!  It's just that our current financial status is such that this type of expenditure would no doubt send my sweet husband to divorce court. 

Thank you for letting me share and get this off my chest!!

And because I think posts with pictures are way more interesting, I found a picture of a book in which I believe I would have all the right tools!!

vintage_craft-workshop2.jpg

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Candle Holders....Revealed!

Good Morning!!  

I hope that your Saturday is dry, not too hot....or shaky!! :)

We are experiencing the "too hot" part!!  But I'm staying comfortable and I'll share my secret......housework is a no-no as is any movement not necessary to staying cool.  I find napping next to the fan to be especially comfortable. :) 

And please feel free to quote me to your husband...as in "Honey, I just read on the internet...." ;)

But I did manage to fix up these bad boys!!


I want to give a special Thank You to Mrs. Micawber for the suggestion of white!!

I had thought of black, as it is neutral, but white never crossed my mind.

However, it is PERFECT!!!!

First let me share one of my All Time Favorite Things..... 

Handy Sprayer!
If you like to spray paint things and don't have a paint sprayer and rely on the spray paint department (like I do!) please buy one of these.

You will thank me!!!

So anyway, I set the candle holders up on my special spray painting stands.

Paint cans....they're not just for holding paint anymore!!

From the first touch of paint I could tell it was gonna be great!

And they are!!! 



 They have the perfect look now and looked so fabulous for the party!!


I went for an all-white look on the table and it had such a fresh feeling!!

The vase is a cute "milk glass" (I don't really know what that is so I must put it in quotes. :)) number that I picked up at a thrift store.  

I cut some roses off our Cabbage Rose bushes and put it all on this aqua fabric that I use for all sorts of things!  Last night it was a runner of sorts! :)

The white is so nice!!!
  You can't really tell, but I have a lot of colors out on our patio.  You can see a little bit at the top of the above photo...but we have bright green plastic chairs, some bright colored tissue paper pom-pom garlands and that felt flower bunting so the white was the perfect, elegant-yet-casual touch.

Thank you again so much Mrs. Micawber for the suggestion!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Am Stumped!


So, I picked up these little cuties at Savers a month or so ago.

I love that they are low...nothing like having tall candlesticks with tall candles to make people head-bobble to make eye contact!!

However, I keep looking and looking at them to no avail....I have no idea what to do with them!!

I tend to go for color but I think they would look wrong in aqua...or red....

Then I think I'll just redo them in silver to clean them up cuz they are kinda nice this way but do need a little love.

Then, I figure since I'm going metallic is there another metallic that might work??

We are having an "I Survived Vacation Bible School Celebration" party this Friday night at our house and I'd like to make the table pretty......with candle sticks!!! :)

Any suggestions?
What would you do if these were yours???

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Birthday Centerpiece Becomes a Learning Opportunity

So, I had an idea.
It was my mom's birthday and we were headed to the Natural History Museum to check out their latest dinosaur exhibit.
It was my mom and dad, me and my 2 kiddos and one of my sisters her two kiddos and a boyfriend.
Since we would be having lunch together I wanted to make the table special as my mom always does stuff like that.  :)

I'd seen these online:
And I thought my mom would really appreciate it and it seemed portable as I'd have to bring this with me into the museum.

So, I headed to Dollar Tree!
I thought I'd see the foam spheres there and they always have tons of flowers and pedestals/candle holders.
I figured I could make do.

Well, I found cone shaped foam and pink and green roses.

K, I can deal.

Then I bought 3 glass candle holders, 2 rounded votive holders and 2 small round glass candle plates.

I had a vague idea of what I was gonna do with this stuff.  Some sort of flower centerpiece and 2 plates on pedestals.

And if you are an experienced crafter with glass you have already realized my fatal error! :)

So, I cut apart a few of the roses and started gluing from the bottom up starting with the green.

I was still unsure what this was turning into but I forged ahead!

So I got to the top with the pink and then went back and added in petals to make the layers a little closer together.  Then, I cut a circle of felt to fit the bottom and hot glued that onto the bottom.  I then hot glued the  whole thing to one of the glass candle holders.


But don't believe this picture cuz I flipped the candle holder the right way after this picture.

I know, I'm a bad photojournalist. 

But I did get a pic of this while I was crafting...

Our bunnies laying out by the pool!!!

Anyway, then I played around with the other two candle holders, plates and votive holders.

I finally settled on one plate glued straight on the candle holder and for the other one the votive holder glued to the candle holder then the plate glued on top of that.
Then I lightly glued paper doilies to each plate.

The morning of the museum trip I packed it all up into a backpack along with some homemade chocolate chip cookies and a little tablecloth.

Here's a bit of what we saw:

I am apparently not as much of a museum goer as I'd like to be.
You can repackage a bunch of bones into a brand new room and put up all sorts of neat and informative plaques and I'm still just gonna walk around looking at the bones, not reading anything and be ready to go in about 20 minutes.
I'm like this at the zoo, too.
Give me an art or textile museum any day!!

K, so it was time for lunch.
We walked over to the Discovery Science Center cuz they have a McDonald's and a Taco Bell and we had kids. :)
While everyone ordered I stayed at the table and set up.
This is where my fatal error was discovered.
DON'T USE HOT GLUE FOR GLASS!

Yea, the tall pedestal broke off the plate.

But the short one was still good so I still ended up with the staggered look with one on the table!

I was kinda bummed about it all and didn't take a pic of it there but I did a reenactment on my patio...



Oh yes, and I had made this little garland thingy with those metal and paper tag thingys.

So yea, in all it worked and the failure part worked out and I learned that I need another kind of glue.

Lordy this was long!!
I wish the payoff was better, but maybe this will inspire something and if it does let me know!!
Something good should come out of this!!

And my mom loved it, btw!!!

Moms are good like that aren't they??

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Proud Mommy Am I!

I know some parents puff their feathers for great SAT scores.
Some are at every game cheering on their super star.
But me?
I'm bursting my buttons about this!!


My lovely, sweet, talented, beautiful daughter crafted this egg carton!!!


See, we have two chickens.
Yea, you can have them here in SoCal!!
Anyway, we wanted to give some to my parents but didn't have anything to give them in
I thought of wrapping them carefully in a brown paper lunch bag.
But, six wrapped eggs are kinda big.
So, Crafty Daughter found this bottom part of a shoebox, got the tissue paper and went to town!
She padded the bottom with some crumpled tissue paper.  
Then, she made those little dividers!!  
And, she added that beautiful ribbon!!
And check out the opening action!


A ribbon puller!!!

She makes me swoon!! :)

I have realized that often my best ideas come when under pressure to create something in a pinch.
You know, you are invited to something, realize you didn't know one little fact...like bring a gift..and you have no money/time/money....and have to improvise!
And I can see that this skill/concept/last-minute spurt of genius has been been inherited!

Yay me!

Thank you for letting me brag!