Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday blog love

A Heart Felt Living
anything goes here
Bird Nests & Paper
concrete and honey
Dandy Bread and Candy
Jaszmurkowe Krzywulce
latarnia morska
Nic Nac Maniac
Ola Smith
Salley Mavor
Tea for Joy
Vita Ranunkler
Wytwornia Mamuty

Pooped out with a side of culture

Whew! Made it through Thanksgiving. Good gosh, that was stressful. I'd like to go back to bed for a couple of days. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend filled with all the people and things you love!

After the insane lead up to Thanksgiving Day and the family dinner gathering, we didn't really do much of anything the rest of the holiday weekend except eat out at some of our favorite spots. And eat some more. And watch movies. And be lazy - with a brief but gallant, housecleaning effort hahahhahahaha.

We went to the charming Fowler Museum at UCLA yesterday and caught the closing day of an exhibit about Tea I had been wanting to see (procrastinating again!) and also one about basketry. Both exhibits were so lovely.

They included lots of wonderful quotes about tea throughout the exhibit - I wish I had written them all down. I remembered the gist of the title of two of them and found them on the internet:

The 10 Virtues of Tea

(When the Zen monk Eisai brought tea seeds from china to Japan in the twelfth century, he also imported the following ten virtues of tea.)

1. Tea has the blessing of all the Deities
2. Tea promotes filial piety
3. Tea drives away the devil
4. Tea banishes drowsiness
5. Tea keeps the Five Viscera (organs) in harmony
6. Tea wards off disease
7. Tea strengthens friendships
8. Tea disciplines body and mind
9. Tea destroys the passions
10. Tea gives a peaceful death

Seven Bowls of Tea

The first cup moistens my throat.
The second cup eases my loneliness.
The third cup searches out my withered entrails,
After the fourth cup, I break a light sweat,
After the fifth cup, my bones and sinews relax.
After the sixth cup, I entered the realm of the immortals.
After the seventh cup, a wind rises beneath my arms.

and an alternate translation - perhaps preferable to the withered entrails, huh?! ;)

Seven Bowls of Tea

The first bowl of tea moistens my throat,
the second breaks my loneliness, and
the third bowl racks my brains, bringing to light the texts of 5,000 volumes.
The fourth induces perspiration whereby all ills evaporate through my pores.
The fifth makes my muscles and bones feel light, and
the sixth links me to celestials.
Be careful when drinking the seventh bowl,
as it makes you feel as if a cool breeze were coming from your armpits.
~ Lu Tong, Tang Dynasty poet. ~

oh and also, the seven rules of tea ... cool!

The Seven Rules of Tea
Sen no Rikyu's Seven Rules of Tea

Arrange the flowers as they are in the fields.
Lay the charcoal so it boils the water.
Create a cool feeling in summer.
Make sure the guests are warm in winter.
Be sure everything is ready ahead of time and do not fall behind.
be prepared for rain even if it is not raining.
Always be mindful of the guests. They're your first, your last, your everything.

The baskets were so beautiful! There were several that were made by different generations of the same family - their artistry passed down, kept alive.

Afterward, we went to one of our favorite Indian restaurants for lunch. Then I briefly lost my mind and decided I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble since it was across the street - bad decision. I think the entire neighborhood was there at the mall. I lasted about five minutes and had to leave - so surprisingly, there is a limit to my book and magazine addiction after all! I thought it was surely boundless ... as I ponder the purchase of some of my absolute favorite authors new books: Barbara Kingsolver, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jon Krakauer, Michael Pollan and of course craft books!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I dreamed Michelle Obama ...

... came to help me out with my holiday prep last night! bwahahhahahah!

That's how stressed out I am, the wife of the Commander in Chief had to be called in. YIKES!

Oh goodness me.

I made pumpkin boxes yesterday to hold the cookies. I bought this template online. I guess paper crafting is not one of my talents. You really have to finesse the bottom so that it fits under the lid. WAH! And then they were too big for the cellophane bags I assumed they'd fit in. sniffle sniffle SOB. The pumpkin boxes are pretty cute but they're also rather flimsy (read extremely) and the lid doesn't attach in any way, so they need to be inside of something for presentation.

Thank heavens for rolls of cellophane that I kept buying, thinking I didn't have any! Don't let them tell you that shopping is a bad thing teehee. So I'm hoping they'll look okay wrapped up in cellophane. Oh please please please!

As I write this, I am still debating the cookie recipes I will be baking today. I wanted to make a pumpkin blossom one - you know, like the yummy peanut butter one with Hershey's Kisses on top, except this is a pumpkin cookie with a cream cheese blob on top. But that means they need to be refrigerated and then packed tomorrow, as close to departure time as possible ... which means I'd be scrambling before leaving. And I hate that. It makes me unpleasant. ;)

I decided I wanted pumpkin cookies because of the you know, pumpkin boxes. Oh me and my thematic excess. ARGH!

Anyway, I've got to go and tell Michelle what she can help me with. :)

Happy almost Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cards ... check. Bday ... check.

Two down.

A gazillion to go.

WAH! I have entered the land of the fried and frenzied. I was already plenty stressed and then ... last night at dinner for my dad's 91st birthday, my dad told me that four people are coming on Thanksgiving that I didn't know about!!! Huh? What?!

I am now a blithering and twitching idiot. Breathe in breath out.

Saturday we ran errands and also went to the so fab store, Traditions. Oh my gosh. Not only do they have wonderful Christmas decorations, they have decor for every holiday! They have an online store, check them out and be prepared to have a bad case of the "I wanna's"!

I bought a feather tree (and some vintage looking small ornaments) for the wonderful ornaments I bought from Stephanie at Old World Primitives. Stephanie has a wonderful blog and Etsy shop. These are the three darling sets I bought from Stephanie, aren't they charming?!

We had lunch at our favorite vegan restaurant, Madeleine Bistro.
A trip there must always include their Red beet tartare (with warm tofu cheese crouton, English cucumber, balsamic glace)! So delicious!!!

OH! I had an Apple Cider Cinnamon Caramel juice to drink. Tasty goodness! To die for. Some experimenting will be going on to replicate that. Wow.

Saturday night was a lot of fun. One my husbands students invited us to see her dance recital. Not only were there tiny children (so cute in their costumes!) on up to teenagers, the mother's of the students were also a part of the group. And to top it off, several of my husbands students from years past were there to see their sisters and mothers perform and they all wanted to talk to hubs. A very lovely evening, beautiful costumes, smiling faces, sweet memories of days gone by. Oh and conchas and hot chocolate! YUMMERS!

Sunday was the final push on completing my Thanksgiving cards - argh, I'm slow - and then Dad's 91st birthday dinner. I wished him a Happy 10th Birthday - nine + one = 10!

Today is errands and a return to square one and rethinking what I'm making for Thanksgiving. If you have any spare creative vibe mojo, please send it my way. WAH!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The best laid plans ...

... go awry! WAH! I'm a later tater. I got derailed last night. No work done on the cards. Boo hoo. Hubs came home and we had dinner and then he wanted to watch stuff we had on our DVR and time just went. Blink of an eye. Poof!

And then today - I went for my hair appointment earlier, to banish my gray hair and I heard such sad news. Another client of the salon, who I've talked to for years - we used to always have the same appointment time on Saturday and her stylist was next to mine in the shop ... my stylist told me that this other clients son had passed away from the Swine Flu this past weekend!!!

The son had had a cold, had gone to his doctor, was told he just had a cold, to go home and rest and take tylenol. My stylist wasn't quite sure of the passage of time inbetween the doctor visit and the son getting worse but the son ended up going to the hospital because he was having a hard time breathing. He had developed pneumonia and had a 105 temperature which they couldn't bring down and he passed away.

So heartbreakingly sad and so shocking. 35 years old, in excellent health and had gone to the doctor. How impossible to process this has got to be for his dear family.

So please everyone take the most exceptional care of yourselves and your dear ones during this heightened cold and flu season.

Hugs all around.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PSA: Do not confuse the canned jalapenos

... with the canned mild green chilies!!! ARGH! Can you see the steam rising out of my head?!

I left you earlier to go to the market for the caramels for the apple cider cookies ... SUCCESS! wahoo! ... and then came home and made a soup recipe I had wanted to try.

I had seen this Brie and Green Chile Soup on the gorgeous, Once in a Blue Moon blog. So I searched for a recipe with ingredient amounts included (she seldom includes the amounts, she's such a great cook that I guess she can just wing it)on the internet and found one. So today was the day! Make the soup and then hit the ground running and begin my Thanksgiving cards.
Brie and Green Chili Soup at Once in a Blue Moon
Brie and Green Chili Soup at Big Oven (with ingredient amounts)

Well ... as I'm getting ready to dump the chilies into the soup, I see that I have picked up two cans of jalapenos, instead of two cans of mild green chilies. Okie dokie, so I decide to just add the one can to be on the safe side.

Well then ... I lost my mind and decided that maybe I should put half of the second can in after all.


Whoa! I nearly spontaneously combusted right there on the spot! I had to load my soup up with crackers and just take a teeny tiny bite.

My left ear even started pulsating from the heat of the jalapenos. bwahahhahahahaha!

Anyway, the good news is that my sinuses are no longer congested AND I've got the prototype for my cards made. YABBA DABBA DOO!

So I'm off to do some housework and then begin my assembly line of cards. :)

ACK! The list is too long!

I'm turning into a nervous wreck over here with all of the to-do's and gotta do's and wish I could do's. All of which means, I shouldn't even be on the computer, should I?!! So I may go silent for a bit ... or ... I may babble on nervously ... maybe a bit of both, in the days to come! ;)

WAH! whinnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeee

Shop for caramels before "those" people (you know who are, gobsmackers and thwarters of dreams!) buy them all!
Make Thanksgiving Cards, so I can get them into the mail on time!
Find what I did with and wrap dad's 91st birthday gift!!!
Make dad's favorite ginger cookies for his bday.
Family dinner out with dad for his bday.
Make cookies and see if they are holiday wonderful enough.
Go insane and make something else if they turn out to be poopie.
Figure out and make whoopdidoo packaging of holiday cookies.
Make holiday tags for whoopdidoo cookie packages.
Figure out wrapping for holiday chocolates for everyone.
New dress for Thanksgiving???
Hair appointment.
I just know I'm leaving something out?!
Oh! Order wonderful vegan Thanksgiving for us from Real Food Daily for Wednesday night:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Testing out my new found marketing skills

I found this cookie recipe which requires Kraft caramels - I'm warning you now because judging by my keen eye on the "got to have" status of the Turkey Tablecloth - Kraft caramels are going to fly off the market shelf!

Ready. Set. Go. Go, I said. Now. Go buy your caramels before those Turkey Tablecloth buying people buy them all!!!

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies from the Cooking Photographer!!!

And look at this wonderful Thanksgiving Garland from Rawbone Studio! Run on over at look at all the flickr images of this holiday delight! Can you hear me squealing, next year, next year, I'm going to make one like that! oooohhhh! So cute!
Rawbone Studio flickr

And for some goofy fun, check out the participants in last year's Turkey Shaped Jello Mold Contest at Danielle Spencer. It will have you wondering where are those 2009 creative people and their turkey mold entries! (I couldn't find anything for 2009 - perhaps it's early days for bringing out the jello mold?!) Oh! Please note you can see prior years entries as well - links at top of page.
Turkey-shaped Jell-O® Mold: 2008 Competition

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do you suppose I'm single handedly responsible for

... the complete sell out of the aforementioned darling (and coveted!) PBK Turkey tablecloth? Because it's all gone. No longer available. I have powers of persuasion unbeknownst to me. Apparently I am a mover and shaker. I think I deserve a commission, don't you?!


Look at this cute turkey to make!
At Smashed Peas and Carrots, found via one pretty thing

I made a turkey box like this one from Family Fun a couple of Thanksgivings ago to transport the little gifties I made for everyone to the restaurant. It was a lot of fun to make!

I want to make one of these adorable turkey softies from Bella Dia!

Here's a cute turkey paper garland at Woman's Day for fast, festive decor!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In the shape of a heart

(gosh, I love that old Jackson Browne song!)

A while ago I was invited to join a group (organized by the wonderful Jane of Wyldhare's Hollow) and celebrate a fellow blogger, darling Elizabeth of Creative Breathing. Individually, our love and friendship would take the shape of a heart. The work of our hands and heart would then form a chain, a garland of our esteem and admiration made visible. Heart to hands, hands to heart.

My gift has been received now so I thought I'd show it here also. (Elizabeth has taken much better photos of mine than I have!)

I haven't sewn anything in years and it has been such fun to dip in again. And it was also surprisingly moving emotionally, like going home again. I had forgotten how much I love fibers. Ideas are swirling around in my brain, wishes for more time going out into the universe.

& It was so much fun to dig around my stash and find heart paper and make a gift card also with the heart garland theme.

From me to you dear Elizabeth. Heart to heart!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nah! Thanksgiving can't be in less than two weeks!

ACK! There are Thanksgiving cards to make and gifts for guests at Thanksgiving dinner - I'm rethinking the pie in a jar. I got so caught up in their cuteness but I forgot that everyone will have to reheat them at home - rather than I would be serving them these adorable little pies in person, all ready to eat. So putting the thinking cap back on and hoping to find something SOON!

I wish I had time to make this cute Thanksgiving banner at Holiday Crafts and Creations for us.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pie in a jar and Show and Tell

I was blathering on here the other day about how I like to give everyone little gifts when we meet for holiday dinner. Well ... I think I may have found this years idea, I hope I hope! Look at how fun and cute these are - Pie in a jar!

I stumbled across this post at Our Best Bites.
Our Best Bites

Aren't those adorable?! Which reminded me of these ones at not martha from 2008 ... cute as can be!
not martha

From what I can glean, the adorable and wee pies in a jar, originated at Lloyd and Lauren.
Lloyd and Lauren

Onto the Show and Tell portion of this post teehee ... you may remember this post about the giveaway I won from the adorable Pam at yoborobo. Well Pam overwhelmed me with cute and wonderful stuff and I wanted to say Thank You back for her kindness. So I found this darling pumpkin pattern on the internet - it was a large sized pattern and I shrunk it into pumpkin ornament size and stitched it up for Pam, included a See's Candies Halloween Milk Chocolate Pumpkin, I made her a pumpkin card and I wrapped it in pumpkin paper. Pumpkin Extravaganza! (Yes, I am anal that way, you found me out bwahahahhahahaha)

Re the pattern I used for the ornament - my silly middle aged brain had remembered it as being a pillow pattern - well it turns out to be a woodcrafting pattern! It is a free pattern from Country Corner Crafts and was designed by Susan Luinge. (scroll down to the bottom of the page and it's on the right bottom - I made the small pumpkin head)
Country Corner Crafts

I also found the stitched pumpkin card pattern on the internet. You can find the pattern at Make and Takes. I only used two ply of embroidery floss because I thought the suggested six was too thick - now I wish I had used more. WAH!
Pumpkin Stitched Card Pattern

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Matter of Loaf and Death

I love Wallace and Gromit! We watched A Matter of Loaf and Death last night, so cute!

We also watched two DVD's of the Shaun the Sheep series recently (rented from Netflix) - I don't think they ran this series here??? I sure missed them if they did, which seems next to impossible since I LOVE everything Nick Park does.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Plumb tuckered out ...

and running on empty. I've been trying to come up with something to say on my blog and I'm just like ... duh, huh, what ... and can't think of a thing. (I think my So. Cal. upbringing is showing with that sentence, huh?!) I think I wore out my middle aged brain with all the Halloween posting. OUCH! So it looks like it's going to be a stream of consciousness post - please forgive me.

I'm so silly - I really want this tablecloth at Pottery Barn Kids! We saw it in the window last weekend and it's so CUTE! No elegant earth tone frou frou table dressing for me - I want turkeys in boats, arriving in the new world. Tune in later to see, will she or won't she succumb to the unbearable cuteness of it! The strange thing is that at the actual store, they have turkey placemats but they don't have them online ... usually it's vice versa, more stuff online than at the store. What gives PBK?! Where you hiding those place mats from me??? Perhaps a subtle message from them that I need to grow up and put aside turkeys in tall ships ...

It's pretty comical since we won't be home for Thanksgiving dinner. Ay yi yi. Well let me amend that, we are vegetarian and we always have our own Thanksgiving dinner the day before at home. Then on Thanksgiving, we go out to dinner with my family and some family friends for dinner. We've been going out since my mother passed away - no one else wants to cook.

Well, I would cook but I dare say anyone would jump for joy over Tofurky other than hubs and I. So we go out.

And I always like to bring a little giftie for everyone who comes. Some chocolates or home made cookies or one time I got everyone pumpkin tea and apple truffles. yummers! And I like to package everything creatively - I like the presentation to be as fun as the gift. I need to get off of my computer glued rear end and figure out what I will bring this year and how I will foo foo it up!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

I love Dia de los Muertos. I love the ritual of it, the craftiness of it but most dear to me is the paying tribute and remembering.

My father believes that visiting a cemetery is feeling sorry for oneself. We cannot talk of loss or shared grief. He is the stiff upper lip, the stoic. I am the softie, the heart on the sleeve. He on one side of the bank and I on the other, with no bridge to meet upon.

So my heart swells as if I have finally found home when I place my mother and brothers photos on my mantle, along with items that they loved. I talk to them. I write them notes. I laugh. I cry. These days my mother and brother sit upon the mantle with my Auntie, beloved friends gone too soon and furry family members.

We drove out to Pasadena yesterday to the wonderful store, The Folk Tree. We love to visit year round but we always make a trip out for their annual Dia de los Muertos altar exhibit, Altars and Ephemera.

I picked up a few darling skulls and skeletons for our altar and some skeleton paper garlands to hang. I hope I can still find some marigolds for our altar. I had hoped to make pan de muerto and sugar skulls but I don't think I'm going to get around to it.

We are going to the Loteria Grill for breakfast and then we'll come home and begin our altar.

If Dia de los Muertos is your kind of thing, be sure and visit the participants of Dia de Bloglandia, organized by the oh so wonderful blogs Rodrigvitz Style, Susanna's Sketchbook and recuerda mi corazon. And if those leave you wanting more, there are last years participants to view too. Read all the wonderful stories of remembrance from the participants of the 2008 Dia de Bloglandia.

Look at all the wonderful Day of the Dead crafts and recipes assembled on One Pretty Thing:
2008 Day of the Dead
2009 Day of the Dead

Video of how to make your face up as a Calavera Catrina for Dia de los Muertos.

Video found via Susanna's Sketchbook