Monday, March 30, 2009

party preparations

I have so many ideas for Olivia's party in May, many of them handmade, somewhat time-consuming. So yesterday, when winter seemingly returned to Ohio, I got a lot done! The top images are of a fabric banner I made which will be hung behind a dessert table. I read so many tutorials, saw this idea in a few books (Amanda Soule and Alicia Paulson) and viewed many beautiful images on etsy. In the end, I just went for it. I made a triangle template and cut each triangle out with that a week or more ago only to read something afterward that suggested cutting a square in half. There is always next time, right?! About the wonky stitching on the letters...I did read that sewing through the heavy heat and bond is not suggested, clearly I did not listen. So now, I am embracing a very shabby chic like look! The font is Century Gothic at about 240 for those who want to copy. I printed that in reverse and then traced those onto the heat n bond.
The bottom image is largely inspired by inchmark journal and her creative ideas. Even my color scheme is echoing her daughter's recent Bday party, which was completely unintended. I bought some Martha Stewart party decor and began to match it to those things only to realize they are all similar. For all I know, she had a hand in the MS design, she did used to work there. Cool, huh? Anyway, if anyone is interested I can kick out some detailed instructions for making this card including how to print and where to punch the circle. Inside is a swatch of the material used in the pennants.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

a sweet girl and her much loved bunny + sunday showcase

Bunny is a bona fide member of our family. She came as a gift when Olivia was a newborn and has been her constant companion for nearly 8 years now. I took this picture Friday morning, while she was still in bed, at her request. She wanted to have an image of her beautiful unicorn face painting, which frankly still looks pretty good after a night's sleep. We had to wash it off before school. When I opened this picture, I immediately loved the sweetness of her snuggled in next to Bunny.

Sunday Showcase:

Family Fun Magazine: I read that they are offering all of their issues online now, even past ones. I could not find it right off but it would be worth the search. They have the best ideas.

The BonBonerie: This place has crazy good cakes and treats. My past fav was their Opera Cream cake until Friday night when I sampled Carrot Cheesecake. Hands down the BEST dessert I have had in years. This is a local shout out, as it is located in Cincinnati.

Super cool, simplified quilt: I have plans for one of these in pink and brown. No recipient in mind, just a desire to make one!!

That's it. The whole fam got in on a little cleaning this morning so I don't want to entirely lose the momentum. I mean, I do, b/c I despise cleaning, but it feels good to see an improvement.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

baby quilt

I saw this wonderful fabric on a blog I have come to really enjoy: Cluck Cluck Sew. This woman creates quilts at an alarming rate! I headed to my local JoAnn's for this fabric yesterday, and I agree with her, it does have a Japanese feel and is far more accessible to me. I paired it with orange flannel, and used another layer of flannel for the batting. I am SO NEW to quilting, that I might be breaking some cardinal rule but it has come together pretty quickly. For the stitching, I used a stitch on my new machine that I think mimics rick rack. I did not come up with this on my own. I think I saw it on flickr, but to save my life cannot find the photo to give proper credit back. If the person who showed this reads my blog, speak up!!
I just appreciate all of the inspiration available. It never dawned on me to simplify things to this degree: pair two solid fabrics and skip the piecing altogether. But by adding the decorative stitching and a binding, you have something very special. I plan to give this as a new baby gift. It is more a "stroller size" blanket as it measures about 1 full yard.
I already created my binding and cannot wait to attach it so I am left with just the hand stitching that allows me to come out of my craft room and into the family room where I appear to be spending quality time with my family. Hey, at least I am present!
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Friday, March 27, 2009

panini maker

By this, I am defining myself as the panini maker. I do not have the appliance. I would have no where to store it but my basement, which would mean I would never use it. However, when I see pictures and recipes like this, I just crave one.(this photo is from Woman's Day, as is the recipe)

I made a variation of this using tomatoes instead of red peppers, only b/c I did not have any. And I made only the sandwich, not the salad. And how did I grill it, you might ask? In my WAFFLE IRON! It may not make for the most beautiful presentation, but it delivers on taste. In the past week, I have made 3 lunch sandwiches in my waffle iron. One turkey club on thickly sliced bread with mayo and the other, on crusty bread with left over grilled chicken from the night before, tomatoes, pesto and provolone. Seriously, good stuff.

By the way, the last time my waffle iron saw any action was probably around 2003. It is happy to be back on the counter and delivering. Pin It

Thursday, March 26, 2009

me and the mona lisa

About 15 years ago (some days it feels like 50, and others it seems like only yesterday) 3 of my close friends, and me, went on a cruise. It was probably one of the most fun and adventurous trips of our lives. We were so young, and mostly stupid, taking crazy chances like hanging out with the cabin steward at a bar in Mexico and nearly missing the ship before it deported. Sigh. As a mother now, I cringe at memories like that.
Anyway, we survived and still laugh at the memories. This is the matted frame that people signed who came to my party on Saturday night. Not sure which friend I have to thank for digging this photo out of the archives, but it is me...and the Mona Lisa carved out of cheese. If you have ever been on a cruise, you understand. They do amazing things with ice and food!

Click the picture to view Mona and Me larger.
***eta: do this at your own risk! I guess when I cropped in on this, and took it in extremely low light, it = super poor picture quality. My apologies to the cheese sculptor.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

sunday showcase (one day late)

I am starting to feel more human now that I have had some decent sleep. I have been doing much smiling recalling Saturday night, all the fun I had there, and all the gladness and appreciation of all the details that went into pulling it off. Kudos again to my friends and family.

One of the seriously funny treasures is the 80's CD shared as a party favor. I listened to it today in my car and was grinning from ear to ear!

Here's what I collected last week:

kidlet free tutorial: love this, I have made one and will make more
Jeffrey Gitomer Seminar: Wow. I enjoyed this immensely. I learned a ton and need to promise myself to make changes and implement his ideas. And it was a pleasure to "meet" him in person and now know how to apply his personality to his books. He also showed pictures of his entire family, including his new baby daughter. Today when I saw his picture on this blog, I felt like I had a true appreciation of the warmth felt under those smiles.
Super Buzzy japanese fabric:I am developing a real love for Japanese fabric and this is a great site. I have yet to make an investment but I want to!
Allison Strine:I am in love with this "camera girl" pendant.
Lisa Leonard: I have mentioned her before but I fell upon her new site, and coordinating blog, this week and am back to coveting a few more items. Such as the bracelets. Must.Have.One.This is the necklace I got from her one year ago.
You Can Quilt This: free sewing machine giveaway. I know I just got a new machine but this one looks to do everything but the dishes so why not try, right?! Pin It

Sunday, March 22, 2009

saturday was brought to me by the letter S and the number 40...

Last night, I thought I was going to a friend's house for a SMALL, casual get together with a FEW friends only to descend their stairs and find MANY friends and family members gathered for my 40th Birthday celebration.
Mission accomplished: one surprised, 40 year old woman!
I know, it has already been celebrated, but that did not stop my husband and many others from planning just an awesome bash. One that had been in the works for a loooooooong time and I was totally and blissfully ignorant until I walked in.

I am humbled and grateful. And tired :)

This week's Sunday Showcase will have to occur tomorrow b/c right now I have the attention span of a 2 year old and the same mental capacity. Pin It

Thursday, March 19, 2009

as a blogger, you have access to statistics

I get some from sitemeter, and more recently, google analytics. Both are free and immensely interesting in what they can tell you. For instance, do you remember my glee surrounding the Vera Bradly mini cooler? Apparently, some combination of those terms is googled frequently. And what shows up? Apparently my lil' ol blog. Around 150 people have been brought to my blog by that topic over the last few weeks. What does it mean? Pretty much a big heap of useless knowledge but interesting, nonetheless.
Off to bed as I am attending a Jeffrey Gitomer sales seminar tomorrow. He happens to be Ali Edward's sister's partner. New papa too. Pin It

if there is anything cuter...

than a sweet girl in a tu-tu learning ballet, I surely don't know what it could be!
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(frame from Designer Digitals)
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

what i did last night...

I attended Billie Jean King's presentation last night as part of the Smart Talk Connected Conversation Series.

Let me start with the experience of arriving in downtown Cincinnati, on St. Patrick's Day, at rush hour. It was madness. A sea of green. People enjoying themselves and some, clearly plain drunk! This made parking a bit harder than expected but I found a spot, briefly chatted with my friend Amy by phone, who was meeting me, and within 10 minutes we had our tickets in hand from Will Call and were headed to dinner at Bootsy's.

Jeff Ruby is a restaurateur extraordinaire in these parts and Bootsy's did NOT disappoint. Truly one of the tastiest meals I have had in years. We chose several items from the tapas menu and they were all super delicious. I have already googled how to make tomato confit, so I can try to copy the Margarita Flatbread. Amy had her favorite sushi rolls but I just could not seem to go there, plus, I do not now how to use chopsticks.

We headed across the street and found our seats and saw a short fashion show presented by Fabulous Furs (faux furs) and let me tell you, these garments have been places: Sex and the City, the Miss Universe Pagaent and they have been featured in many magazines. And hey, the catalog even shows faux fur leg warmers!

Next, Carol Williams introduced Billie Jean King who was a very comfortable and engaging speaker. She truly is a legend and has helped for women's tennis, for women's sports in general, to make GREAT strides. I think her most compelling message is her dedication to equality. Her goal is not to elevate just female sports, but sports as a whole. Her goal is for everyone to work and play together but receive equal pay and treatment. It is a good message. When asked who inspires her, who she considers a legend, her immediate response was Reverend Bob Richards. Carol then asked who who she admired in sports and she responded with Althea Gibson and also Arthur Ashe.

Although she works quite avidly behind the scenes in the world of tennis, her current passion is Micro Financing, with the objective being to help women overcome poverty. She is inspired by the book: Banker to the Poor and it's author. I had never heard of this idea before but it makes a lot of sense.

As for the legacy she would like to leave behind, she immediately responded that "we can decide for her" meaning the audience could designate her legacy. She then followed up with this:

-live each day
-be dedicated to your truth
-do what you love

Simple, yet poignant advice. Two other messages I took from her presentation:

-pressure is a privilege
-champions adapt

I welcome the opportunity to see the next two speakers in this series, especially Diane Keaton. Pin It

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

a girl after my own heart

Some people just look good behind the lens. I happen to think Shelby is one of those people! I could not resist snapping her in action with my "big" camera. She tired of it quickly though so I handed over her old faithful.

It seems somebody inherited the trait that makes them take self portraits in the mirror. In my own defense, I only resorted to that b/c I am in so few photographs around here, being the sole photographer. However, it appears I have an apprentice that soon will be replacing me and then I should have as much face time as I could possibly want...
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Monday, March 16, 2009

sewing overload

Late yesterday afternoon I happened upon this free pattern to make an adorable, and in my case, seemingly do-able, kids bag. The concept is to hang it on a doorknob and then fill it will all the cr*p your kids clutter your house with, and then send them upstairs with it full of said cr*p at the end of the day, to be put away in their own rooms. In a perfect world, this would happen. At my house, probably not. Which is why I made the first one to match the stuff in my evolving, window seat/hallway, remodel project. I might just hang a hook next to the window seat and put magazine in it. So there.
Seriously though, I did it! It may not be perfect but it is cute...and lined. I made a lined bag. I see so much potential in my future. In my very near future I can see 5 loads of laundry on my bed, waiting to be put away. Reality bites.
P.S. Thank you Orla Kiely for making affordable stuff at Target that I seem to be morphing into 100 other items. It makes me very happy.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

creations from the new sewing machine + sunday showcase

A few things created yesterday with my new sewing machine. Proof that I mastered threading a bobbin and threading the machine!
Pennants being prepared for a bunting I am going to make for above the "dessert table" at O's 1st Communion Party.
My second Orla Kiely pillow!, love this one even more than the first.
My sewing machine on it's perch in my office/craft room.
A simple (yet mind blowing to me) stitch done on the bottom of a linen napkin. I had this pre-made napkin and just added this decorative stitch so I could check things out. I truly did not know what I had been missing in the sewing world! This took about 1.5 minutes. Oh, the possibilities.


Local Edition:

Women's Smart Talk Series-March 17, the speaker is Billie Jean King...and I am going!
Kroger--$25 to spend if you transfer a prescription to the Kroger Pharmacy. They add it right on to your Kroger plus card. I am feeling like that "found" money could be used to my some magazines :)
etsycincinnati: a local blogger has a feature periodically on local etsy sellers. I'd love a connection to this is a broader sense, such as where locally they sell their goods or if they attend local art fairs? If you know, please leave a comment!

Worldwide Blogosphere:
(photo from pink lemonade's etsy shop)
pink lemonade: crazy cute bags from this etsy seller.
the meanest mom blog: darn, this lady is funny, however, i can also appreciate that she is really just posting from the trenches. the day i read it, i delivered my own child to school tardy and had to laugh out loud at her account.
modish biztips: good advice no matter who you are, and presented creatively. i am so drawn to the whole entrepreneurial spirit, especially women, who are becoming independent, crafty, business owners. there is so much opportunity to do what you love...and to do it well.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

a new sewing machine for me!

Last night, the old Singer StyleMate pretty much breathed it's last breath. I had my sister's basic machine here and knew today, I would have to start using it. And then, I met my mom for some shopping and we went into Hancock's Fabric store for me to look for fabric to make a bunting like this for Olivia's First Communion Party. About an hour later, I was the proud owner of this machine, courtesy of my Mom's generosity. The price was SO right and it is a huge step up from where I was. Who knows if I will outgrow it but I can tell you this much, the last 6 hours have been great fun! Once the sun comes up tomorrow, I will photograph some of the things I did just today. It is lightening fast, enough that it catches me by surprise when it takes off. I made another Orla Kiely pillow and lots of flags for my fabric bunting. The biggest change besides all the fancy stitch options, is that it can free motion quilt, if I ever get to that level. Pin It

Friday, March 13, 2009

social networking: linked in, facebook, twitter...

Are you hip to it?!

Since going back to work PT in the Fall, I have become an avid user, and huge fan, of Linked In. I believe I am using it successfully and often encourage others to give it a try.
Early this year, after much prompting from friends, I entered the world of Facebook. Interesting, that is for sure. Fast paced but really, really puts you out there so I feel like I need to use caution.

What brought this to mind today, was P&G's "test" of the social networking outlets this week. Heck, if P&G is recognizing the worth of these opportunities, perhaps I have been right on the mark! Being right, such a good feeling :)

Read about it here and here. Pin It

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sing us a song, you're the piano man....

Sing us a song tonight
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feelin alright

Last night, I attended the Face 2 Face concert, featuring both Billy Joel and Elton John. Wow! These two are just gifted performers. When they sang their songs together, it was just seamless. I loved every minute of the 3+ hours. Pin It

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

lucky me

I have TWO beautiful girls. So here is number 2! With the same seventies treatment on the top photo. The lower picture is the SOOC (straight out of the camera) picture. This one benefited greatly from some creative cropping. I am no pro, but sometimes I get it right :) Being outdoors, taking lots of pics for no reason, has me in the mood for Spring!

**oh, and the cute little quilt piece a long badge over here ------------------------------>
is a bit premature as I have not started a coin quilt, but I plan to!
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Monday, March 9, 2009

one thing daylight savings time is good for--

Pictures. Outside. After school!
Same photos with three different actions applied.

Pioneer Woman Boost
Boutwell B/W
Pioneer Woman Seventies.

The PW's are free, get them if you have Photoshop. The Boutwell's are not but clearly have awesome potential that I need to spend time exploring!

Daylight saving's time is also good for grumpy, overtired girls :(
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

quilted tablerunner b'day gift + sunday showcase

I am thrilled with how this turned out. It is a surprise for my Mom's Birthday and I am giving it to her today. She goes to great lengths to protect her nice tabletop from hot, cold and wet dishes so I even used Insul-Bright batting. Plus, she is the woman who taught and inspired me to sew and cook so I think this is pretty special and I hope she will too.


whimsiedots: etsy seller where I got my vintage sheet fat quarters, loved everything about the product and the seller. Check her out!
Brighton: love their stuff, rarely splurge on it. Make that never, anything I have from Brighton has been a gift. Last week, my close friends got me a great necklace for my B'day. Yea, me.
Red Envelope: another dear friend sent me a gift from here, a wall frame that is just unreal; it is so cool. She has sent me gifts from Red Envelope over the years and they are always grand and unique.
watch: I needed a new watch badly and that is what I received from Dave and the girls.
Free Resumes Printed: Fed Ex is offering this on Tuesday, March 10. A great gesture and I know there are many people who can currently take advantage of this. Pass it on.
Grosgrain: A great blog, she is one creative clothing designer. Plus, lately, there have been tons of giveaways. Like the one I linked you to right now!
Moda Bakeshop: I almost forgot this one! My tablerunner was inspired by the one shown here. Lots of other equally lovely projects.

Off to celebrate this birthday of mine...again. Homemade turkey dinner with dressing and the fixings sort of softens the blow. Thanks Mom!
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Saturday, March 7, 2009

cupcake pincushion

Made famous by Betz White. I found an online tutorial and it was quick and easy. I need brighter, more cupcake-y wool sweaters now. Need. Interesting choice of words b/c I fear in the current economy, alot of what I consider necessary is going to quickly become more of a luxury. And I am not alone. Sigh.

I finished my quilted gift and I am very proud. I will share that tomorrow along with lots of great links.
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Friday, March 6, 2009

project 365-february

I thought I was not meeting any of my so-called new year's goals. I did not choose any resolutions but I did assign a word to sorta live by. My word is ACHIEVE. Lots of stuff that I'd like to achieve this year. One goal was to work on this 2009 photo book. Rather than it being a burden, I found myself waiting for the month to be over so I could complete my pages for February. I never allow myself to feel "behind" or like "I will never be caught up" in scrapbooking b/c I figure someday, every little thing I did record will be worthwhile...however...being on track is a good feeling too! Sticking with the same basics is really liberating as well. I have SO much accumulated that I normally cannot even find a starting place on a page, even when I have a story to tell or a great picture I want to highlight. I am really enjoying working within this type of blueprint.

Don't forget, you can click the image to view it larger.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I ordered fat quarters made from vintage sheets, and aren't they just lovely?! I had a hard time breaking them open but I did and they are now washed and ready to use. I will share my source on Sunday. I think I might try a coin quilt. I have been following this group and think I want to join! Here is another very lovely quilt from vintage pillow cases.
And this is in anticipation of something I am making for someone's upcoming birthday. So far, I am really thrilled with it. Weird to admit, but there is a certain thrill about piecing fabric together to make a bigger whole. Pin It