Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Love This Post Card

This weekend we had the pleasure of visiting with our good friends (and grandparents to this cutie) Lee and Phyllis. We went to dinner at Pane Vino and then headed over to the Boulevard Music Store in Culver City for a Janet Klein show.  

Janet and her boys play "lovely, naughty, and obscure music of the 1910's, 20's and 30's." Her website is loaded with vintage photos and music samples. Just going to her website is a treat. Kinda like sneaking into someone's gorgeous vintage steamer trunk. Truly, it is worth a look. Grab a cup of tea and slip into her "parlor" for a visit.

I have seen her a few times and each time it's just pure fun. She is a the local treasure. And, her promotional postcards...little artworks one and all.

Monday, January 28, 2008

For the Love of Spuds

Potato Love
One of the great things about Flickr is that no matter what your interests are, there are others "out there" who share them. Take heart shaped potatoes, for example. I thought I was pretty nuts to be snapping a shot of this lovely spud. Come to find out there are a whole bunch of romantic heart spud lov'n photogs on Flickr. Maybe I am not so weird after all!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

When Bad Ceilings Happen to Good People

Friday morning moments after I brushed my teeth in the bedroom, the knee of my pants split and I needed to walk back to the bedroom. Upon my return I felt some drops on my head,  a wet spot on my sock, and discovered this.

I panicked and called my mother in FL. Cliff thinks my reaction was ridiculous. I know, I know it isn't a big deal compared to flooding, mudslides and avalanches. Still, most of the time I can accept a popcorn ceiling as just a part of renting and force it out of my mind.  As soon as the rain stops, the building crew will repair it. They will do a good job, but until then...

Mr. Popcorn Ceiling
this ceiling is mocking me!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Modern Valentines

Record Album Display
At first, Cliff approached his rotating decorating project with the theme of "Guitarists from the 60's who were still rocking in the 80's." As you can imagine, those guitar "heros" with 20 year careers had images of themselves rock'n it out splashed across their album covers. While the narrative theme of that concept was strong, most people (meaning pretty much only me) looking at our wall wouldn't appreciate it. That display would be cool at someplace like a record shop.  

"I don't want to take over your decorating project, and I really don't care what you do, but maybe you could focus on aesthetics."

I think this modern display of black and white albums is really nice and I tried to complement it with a rock display of my own.

Heart Shaped Rocks on Cake Stand

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cleaning Up

Christmas Tags
I know it's late for a Christmasy post. I am quite behind with cleaning up Christmas this year. The pink kitchen project consumed me and I fell further behind.  Last year I started hanging my Christmas cards on our kitchen curtains. I just love this tradition and it's a bit hard for me to take them down. Each card is like a visit from a friend. Then there is the whole idea of throwing those cards in the trash. This year I used my new cutter to make some tags from the cards. Made the whole dismantling Christmas process just a bit easier.

Crafty Goodness

Now that Christmas is cleaned up, I can play with the loot my mother in law sent me. She is preparing to move and threw all her crafty stuff in a box as she cleaned. This week the big box arrived and it is a bounty of all sorts of stuff. Truth be told, my mother did the same thing when I was home for Christmas! I am swimming in fabric right now. Certainly, a happy problem.

Fabric and trims

Sunday, January 20, 2008

She Liked It! She Really Liked It!

A wonderful time was had by all! 
(Photos used with permission from mom & dad.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Photo Hunters: Important: It's Done!

Pretty in Pink

I think it is really important for kids to play house. Kitchen center was always a favorite when I taught kindergarten.  That is why I am so excited to present this play kitchen to my friend's daughter for her second birthday tomorrow. I know she will get many years of play out of it. I used a lot of recycled materials and recycling is important these days too!

More pictures and a "How I Made It" tutorial-ish set on my flickr page. 

All Play Kitchen All the Time

You are probably getting sick of the play kitchen posts by now. Frankly, I know Cliff is probably fed up. As Piper and Kate can attest, I spread out when I am involved in a project. My little corner wood shop has morphed into the apartment size wood shop. The varnish is drying now and tomorrow I will hang the little curtain, (squeel!) and post the finished pictures. Then the massive clean up begins. I am so glad my vacuum has a hepa filter!

The party is tomorrow evening. I can hardly wait. I am not sure if the overstimulated birthday girl will even notice, but I am sure the grandmas will be as captivated as I am. We will have fun playing with it!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cute Overload

apron 001

I think I may have mentioned that I am having a bit of fun with this play kitchen project? This bitty apron was improvised roughly using this pattern. To size it for a two year old, I measured Sunshine Yellow's little brother. When I say "measure" and "two year old", I really mean that I held my arm up to him as quickly as I could and his torso is aproximately the distance from my elbow to my fingertips. Sort of.

The oven mitt was my hand traced and sort of oven mitt shaped.
Anyway, this will also be my submission for Febraury's Tie One On-Polka Dots.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Can You See It?

Can you see what I see? The curbside cabinet is slowly being transformed into a little kitchen! 

It's taken a few days, a few trips to Home Depot, Lowes and OSH, and lots of elbow grease. I am getting really excited to add the fun stuff in the coming days. So far I am on schedule for the Saturday birthday party. See the hole for the sink? Well, I do not have a jig saw, so I had to use my drill to make holes all around the circumference- Woody Woodpecker style. Then I used my screwdriver to pick and hack my way between the holes and punch out the wood. It looks like a beaver made the hole, but it's nice and snug for the sink.  Tonight I added the first coat of primer and what a difference that makes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Channeling Amy Wynn Pastor

When I was about five, my dad built an  addition on our house. I loved "working" out there with my dad, brother and grandfathers. 

I was always told that I could be anything and frequently listened to the pint sized feminist album Free To Be You and Me . Even so, girls weren't carpenters. At least I didn't think so. Too bad too, because I am having a ball working on this little project of mine. 

I have trolled Home Depot and OSH discovering all sorts of neat stuff. Today I nearly bought myself a power saw.

If I had roll models like Amy Wynn Pastor and Paige Hemmis I sure would have paid better attention in wood shop! Still, I am amazed by how much I do know. I am feeling really proud of my problem solving skills and the things I have learned from watching hours and hours of Trading Spaces. I am getting so excited to finish and share my vision with the birthday girl!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In My Urban Workshop

Welcome to my workshop living room.

It is a little known fact that I truly desire to have my own woodworking set up one day. My Grandpaw has a full shop in his basement. He has become quite a carpenter. Grandpaw can look at the Pottery Barn catalog and create stuff to order. He made my parents an amazing four poster bed from a picture in an Ethan Allen catalog. I so want to be able to do that!

For now, I am playing carpenter in my living room. This was a small cabinet that I found on the curb. Tonight, after Cliff went to the movies, I took the doors off with my power screwdriver! I heart power tools! I am going to transform this little cabinet in the next few days. I actually have one week to complete this project for a birthday gift. More details to come. In the meantime, I need to pick up my tools before Cliff gets home.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Target Nirvana

Oh me oh my! I was at Target to pick up some film today when I spotted a mob at the back of the store. I asked a Target guy if they were giving out free money and he said, "Pretty much. All Christmas is 90% off!" 

I could have gone nuts getting gorgeous gift bags and wrap for 0.10 a roll, but I tried to think outside the box and get stuff that could do double duty. We don't have a lot of storage or many people on our gift list so I don't need tons of wrap and bags. 

Still I cleaned up!

I got some darling red and white pom pom garland. I think this could be cute for Valentines Day too!

Recently on some blog I read about using two candy canes fused together in the oven as heart shaped cupcake toppers. Check. Target had pastel mini candy canes and pink and white striped candy canes for 10 cents! Perfect for the Crayons Valentines Day party.

I picked up a darling Santa hat and collar for one of my colleagues who has had a rough time lately. Just .45 cents to cheer up a co-worker, delightful!

I certainly couldn't discriminate against two bags of dark chocolate peanut m&m's on sale just 'cause they're red and green!

Just the other day my mother was saying that she wanted to end our life long tradition of getting Pez in our stockings. She felt it was a waste of money for something so silly. So, I picked up a bunch of Pez to keep the tradition alive... 0.09 cents each!

I stocked up on white tissue paper which I use in spades all year long. 

My best find though was a really pretty box of Christmas cards. They have glitter and a frame space to hold a photo. With gold foil envelopes these cards were a *steal* at $1.45 for 42 cards!

Then if I wasn't giddy enough, my Smart Ones meals were on a mega sale too! Usually at Ralphs these babies are almost $4. Today at Target just $1.75. Smart Ones vegetable lasagna is the Cadillac of frozen meals!

I could go on forever, there was a great price on TP and the Dollar Spot did not disappoint either! 

To think I just was stopping in to get my photos.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

It's Gonna Take a Miracle!

This is the kitchen at My Awesome Church. During World War II this kitchen served 3 meals a day to hundreds of GI's on leave in Hollywood. They would take their meals in our dining halls and sleep wall to wall in the Sunday school rooms. 

Today, this kitchen is used to prepare meals which are taken to AIDS patients awaiting treatment at 5P21 Clinic. Since 2002 this kitchen has been pressed into service each Tuesday to make 12o sack lunches for the homeless. Sadly though, in recent months the numbers have been climbing towards 140. 

This Christmas in conjunction with a local temple, 1,000 people received a free hot meal served from this kitchen.

Times have changed, but this kitchen hasn't changed at all. So, I have decided to pursue getting us  grants, donations, miracles even, to fix up this kitchen and enable it to live up to it's impressive legacy. 

We have the space, the man power and some equipment to expand our service to the homeless and needy. However, the layout is inefficient and even dangerous. We would really like to go "green" and serve meals exclusively on china. We have the dishes and the dishwasher, but they are stored in cabinets so high that it is impractical and unsafe for most of our volunteers. 

I would like to follow the example of my childhood church and expand our care to include laundry service for the homeless. Right now our members scour the circulars to buy socks and underwear to give out on Tuesdays. There is room in the kitchen for a row of industrial washing machines. Clean clothes would go a long way to improve the quality of life for these neighbors.

The ideas for improved missions are endless. Our resources seem to be limited, but I know that with faith all things are possible. So, here I go.

My first plan was to write to Tide. I am so impressed with this program and I am hoping I can get them to swing on by. We could host a washing day along with meals and maybe get a mobile health clinic to come by. This kind of corporate partnership would help us get other grants. So far, I haven't heard from them.

My next plan is to write to Nate. He is my favorite TV decorator. Wouldn't it be a joy to work with this cutie? He has done some miraculous makeovers and he has connections to other big companies. And, uh...Oprah.

Wish me luck!

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Favorite Christmas Present & Two Movies

 The Madonnas of Leningrad: A Novel by Debra Dean has to be one of the best quick reads I have read in years. It is about a tour guide who lived in the museum during the siege of Leningrad. Her descriptions of the paintings were so inspiring.  I read it on the flight home on Monday and I am still thinking about it today. 

My parents have been to Russia twice and love the Hermitage Museum. This book made me want to go there too. I am so envious of my father who actually had the chance to read this book while in Russia. Even more impressive, this book has sparked a deeper interest in this history.  I'm so surprised to report that I actually think I might read the  640 page book The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad. I haven't read an adult history book of any length since college, so this is really something.

Yesterday we went to see the movie Juno. It is a smart and sassy story of teen pregnancy. All of the performances were awesome.  I think Ellen Page, who played Juno, deserves an Oscar nod. Each character was believable and smart. I have no doubt that this thoughtful portrayal of adoption will save some babies. Cliff liked it too.

After Juno, we realized that we could still make the matinee for Sweeny Todd, so we threw caution to the wind and saw two movies in one afternoon! 

Vacation is so divine! 

Basically, I just wanted to see this because Emily raved about it. We like a lot of the same movies like Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. Still I had my doubts. 

Sweeny Todd is one dark, disgusting, and unbelievably beautiful movie. Cliff said it was "perfect." Six years and a billion or so movies with this guy, and I don't think I have heard that before. I am not one for slasher movies and there was no way I could eat meat for dinner after seeing this movie. Still, Sweeny Todd surprised me. I really enjoyed it. If nothing else, it is beautiful. The mirror and old glass scenes killed me.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Linus, I Get You

This is a photo of me and Blankey, my favorite blanket.  Blankey and I hung out for quite a while. I slept with Blankey every night until I was ten or so. Eventually, it was just embarrassing to still sleep with a security blanket so I packed Blankey into a drawer. Somewhere in my late teens or early twenties I opened that drawer and found a heap of rag. I could finally see that it was time to toss Blankey.

In college, my new pink comforter was truly a comfort and even my roommates would borrow it for naps. When I moved in with Kate, she named it "Woobie" after the favorite blanket that Michael Keaton burns in the movie Mr. Mom. 

Woobie is still on my bed today, so many years later. I still find it comforting. Early in the marriage, Cliff was a bit jealous of the Woobie. He hated sleeping next to what he calls "the pink cocoon." He has adjusted or given up. Either way, there will be no Woobie burning in this house!

Recently, on several blogs and in the Urban Outfitters catalog, I have been seeing quilts and blankets made for the Project Linus. This charity gives children who are ill or in crisis situations a new blanket to love. 

Also, while in Florida, I went to the Fort Lauderdale Art Museum to see the Quilts of Gees Bend. The women of rural Gees Bend Alabama made quilts out of necessity using the scraps of whatever they could salvage from clothing. They sewed without patterns making up their quilt designs on their own.  The quilts were unique, beautiful and very inspiring. 

All signs are pointing me towards a quilt. I think it is time to give back some of the good woobie karma I have enjoyed. So, one of the goals on my champagne list is to make a quilt for the local Project Linus chapter. I think I am going to start with this pattern from Bend the Rules Sewing, but I would really love to make an I Spy Quilt

So Far My Champagne List Includes:
Go to TJ for a mission trip
Make a quilt for Project Linus
Try a new recipe once a month
Take a yoga class

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams

Happy New Years! I home and mostly unpacked. We are waiting just now for the airport to deliver the last of our luggage. Nothing too important, just my Christmas presents!

Christmas was wonderful. We met Baby Abigail and she is a charmer for sure. I was struck by how smiley and confident Abby was just two weeks after her adoption and move to the US. We met also met my brother Joe's new girlfriend, Annie, and she is also charming and smiley. I think she adjusted very well to our "adoption" of her too.

While catching up with my friend Kate, she told me about the movie The Bucket List. She and Piper went to see it over break and enjoyed it. They decided that a "bucket list" was a bit morbid, so they adapted the concept and made a "Champagne List."

The idea of the Champagne List is that the items on it are adventures for the year...until the next time you have champagne, which for most of us is New Years. Piper has a visit to the Statue of Liberty on her list and Kate wants to go to the top of the Empire State Building and to take a class. Their items are not resolutions or "must dos", but something with less pressure and more emphasis on fun.

Hmm??? It got me thinking about my own Wish List for the year. So much of 2008 will be spent with big events. Cliff has a big birthday and he will be celebrating with a trip to Scotland. My parents celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. My mom has a big birthday too. My cousin is getting married in Houston and who knows, maybe Joe and Annie will tie the knot?

With all of that I feel that the year is pretty laid out. My biggest wish is to be there for all those important celebrations.

In the meantime, I am going to be thinking about that Champagne List. How about you? What fun goal or adventures do you want to set for the year?