Tuesday, November 30, 2010

how my brain works

or at least attempts to...
so, i'm sitting here, reading various blogs, making lists of various things and doing my best to figure out how to push my shop update so things will sell. at this moment i feel like throwing in the towel. i make and make and then i have bags and bags full of handmade items that no one wants. guh.

so as i am working and listing and writing and thinking i am feeling less and less secure in anything that i may have previously felt secure in. i am looking at my lists of ideas for articles and wishing there was someway to get more published. i like making things. i like sharing how to make things. how can i turn this into something that will pay the rent?
my mind is hopping here and there and skipping just about everywhere as i ask the people in my family who wander by random questions. well, not random to me but it takes them completely off guard but that is just how i roll. like right now, i am sitting here staring, staring at a tiny glass votive holder and wondering what to make with it. not just what, but which as the ideas are tumbling forth like some great montage of flashback clips. my mind is wandering to terrariums but are terrariums overdone? this tiny votive is so simple and pretty, i NEED to do something with it. and to tell you the truth, this isn't the first time i've pulled it out and stared at it. i have stared at it so often i feel like i am in a staring contest and losing.
and as i wonder and ask my family members about tiny plants and moss and mushrooms i remember i need to look for my good glue so i dash out to the garage and grab it. then since i have it i think i should glue something onto something (number 12 on one of my many lists) so that i can have a crafty post up soon and so i do that but i get distracted by the fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin bread i just baked and stop for  a slice which of course needs coffee so i heat up a mug from the now cold press-pot. as i enjoy this sweet almost-lunchtime break i remember that i had plugged the camera in for today's pictures (of said votive so i could tell you all about it) and so i mosey on back to the table and sit down only to get distracted by the tube of glue and my mind wanders all over again.
it is amazing i get anything done.

Monday, November 29, 2010

the week in review: nov 22-28

last Monday we left L.A. for the drive back home and then all fell into a redux of fall ick season. there were walks and bike rides and a whole mess of craftiness. turkey was eaten for days and days and pumpkin goodness was baked and enjoyed as well. the bird baths have frozen over all week and the cold keeps my throat slightly unhappy through the night and into the day. we finished up a 1000 piece ouzzle and enjoyed cup after cup after cup of hot tea. this week will be more of the same. trying really hard to figure out the next step and not panic. but really, panic is setting in. sigh. we'll be back L.A. but only for two days as our honorary nephew has a performance and we aim to see him him shine and perhaps pick up some Cook's as well.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

woke up this morning to frostiness!

i live in california...near the coast. it's usually pretty sunny and absolutely gorgeous. this morning when i awoke (with a cold sore throat no less) it was 34 degrees outside and the garden was a frosty wonderland...so long basil. i hope our local citrus farmers fared all right.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

make your own giftbags

i'm sure there are all sorts of tutorials for gift-bag making all over the internets but here is my non-professional take on it. i never measure, rarely pin and just go with the flow...here's how, have fun!

grab yourself a rectangular piece of fabric that looks like the right size when it is folded in half vertically. give it a press with your iron to chase them wrinkles out and flip over so the right side is facing down.
fold up a tiny smidge of an edge and press in place with a hot iron. next up, fold that fold over about a half inch and press as well. lookie there, you have a pretty folded edge that will become your casing when it is stitched down.
bring your happy piece over to your sewing machine. thread your machine with whatever happy color you like. i like to make my bobbin neutral with my thread something bright that will easily be seen as i stitch. pop your piece in with the folded edge, fold side up under your sewing machine foot. point it either left or right, depending on your comfort-zone. line up the top of the fold with the side of the foot making sure to overlap the other side of the flipped fabric as well and do a couple stitches back and forth before heading to the other end. conclude with a series of more backstitches. about an inch's worth. i like to use a 2 1/2 length stitch...whatever that means, it is small but not too tiny.
remove from machine and snip threads. fold in half right sides facing in and pop it back into your machine using your foot as a guide and making sure you have two pieces of fabric being stitched together. pin in place if you think you need it. beginning from just under the top hem you stitched up, power down on your pedal and do a couple of backstitches before zooming down to the bottom of the bag. slow down a little as you near the bottom and arc your stitches out to make a curve of sorts.  stitch along the bottom of your bag to where your fabric ends at the fold and backstitch into place.
remove from machine, trim threads and the excess fabric outside your stitching. next up, cut a length of twine, string, yarn or thin ribbon that is about three times the width of your bag. make a knot in one end and poke it with a safety pin.
gently guide safety pin into the casing you stitched at the top of the bag. scrunch and pull until you have threaded the safety-pinned thread all the way around the casing. remove pin and tie ends together with a nice tight knot, turn right side out and viola! you are finished! now go make some more and have fun! handmade gift bags make excellent gifts, they are reusable and pretty to boot. you can make them as tiny as you like or as large as you like, just adjust the size of your casing and the ribbon you use. you can leave your ends untied as long as you knot them larger than the casing opening or add charms or buttons to the ends so the threads don't slip back into the casing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

shop update!


headbands and yo-yos and picture packs...oh my! please take a gander and spread the lurve...i need all the help i can get! happy weekend friends!

scenes from thanksgiving

we spent a slightly quiet Thanksgiving with family. we had good company, good eats, great cake, good treats, wine, gingerale, holiday tunes, a little hide and seek, a walk and some puzzling. the weather was perfect, chilly but not colder than cold with a crisp blue sky. today it is a wee bit cooler (24 degrees at 7am, the bird baths are still frozen!) but we think we can still manage a bike ride into town and a sandwich somewhere as sustenance. no shopping for us today, just projects, projects and a bike ride. have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

holiday gifts you can make!


i set up a flickr set fuller than full of handmade ideas for the holidays. most of the pretty will include a link to a project and a few are just eye candy to get you inspired! let me know if you have any questions or wanna see a specific project tutorial up here. happy thanksgiving for those of you in the states and happy almost december if yer not!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

put them yo-yos to use and make a happy advent

you can find the How To over at craftzine. and i have to tell ya, i am so tickled with how this project came out! so click on the link, take a gander and spread the word! i could use yer help, thank you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

panic mode

Turkey day is this week, this week! Which means Christmas is just, just, just around the corner and I have MUCH to do. There are pretties that need to be made and sweets that need to be baked and sales i hope to achieve as things are still a bit slow on the job front. For now, here is a wee peak at some of the busy I have been up to.

Monday, November 22, 2010

the week in review: nov 15-21

there was sick and recovery and the mister getting IT. there was a long drive down to los angeles and the really NOT seeing of friends because of the ick. there was dagla's and banh mi and ice cream at scoops and paradise. we tried visiting oxnard (and it was awful awful) and so we went to marukai in gardena instead. we watched young uns tango and do bollywood and lunched on yummy indian food. we vistited two parks, enjoyed the rain, played with a pooch, drank cocoa by the fire and rescued a bag of too-hot ashes from burning down the house. (and i have to say i do NOT like the new blogger editor, can't seem to size my photos correctly.)

today we drive back up the coast to our new hometown. first we hope to hit up a thrift and visit two of our favorite shops. happy almost thanksgiving!


**where is our domenico?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

today in pictures

tango, bollywood, indian food, scoops, free bread, puppy, grilled cheese,...a very good day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

sneaky peek...

before i got sick i had been feverishly working on something great and grand for you all for the up-and-coming holidays...i'm still working on it (well, not NOW NOW but you knopw what i mean) and will reveal it all the first week in december. Tara & I have another fun week planned for you, this one will be a mad and merry craft frolic and we cannot wait to share it all. for now, i'll give you a little peek...here's a glimpse of my Christmas palette...don't stray too far...we've got inspiration galore and tips and tricks for crafting up a fabulous handmade holiday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

big sigh

i'm s l o w l y recuperating. i'm in that after-sick-fog. i sound worse than i feel which can be a good thing as i sound mawd-awful. need to remember to take it easy. grrr. mister & i are hitting the road tomorrow for a los angeles visit. our wee almost-niece and nephew have a school show that we're attending and i do like them school shows (even if they do make me all teary eyed).

here's to happy & safe travels and um...getting healthier. i'll hopefully post more next week.

Monday, November 15, 2010

cake therapy

well folks, today i woke up feeling much better than the day before and proceeded to do all sorts of craftiness. probably a bit too much as i dashed about painting here and stitching there...taking pictures of this, taking pictures of that. i even climbed atop a rickety chair for a bench monday picture (which left me out of breath and whoozy). it's not even 5pm and i am pooped with a capital P. sheesh! methinks i should have just stuck with the cake baking. cake baking? what cake baking you ask?well, you know you must be feeling better when you manage to wrestle an assortment of ingredients into the oven to create something sweet and delicious. you know you must be feeling even slightly better than better when you manage to do so sans coughing fits and using up interesting ingredients. the best part though...the bestest of the best part is discovering you have wonky ingredients that will bake up a nifty cake, a bundt cake no less on National Bundt Cake Day!**so here you go my friends, happy bundt cake day!
**though for some reason, my bundt cake looks more like a giant donut...but shhh....it was still baked in a bundt pan so it counts!

the week in review: november 8-14

it was a slow week and i got sick. luckily there were walks with pretty scenery, and a wee bit of colorful crafting. let's hope this week is healthier...i'm on the mend about 75% so yay for almost-healthyness