Thursday, January 31, 2013

hearts and chocolate

Oh goodness me.  I am ashamed to say that I have perhaps been a little too generous ... to myself LOL!  

I'm having one heck of an unbelievable rolling birthday over here - it's turned into a month long event hahahha! It started early with a membership in Little Stitches Handwork Club from Notforgotten Farm (can't wait to receive my first kit!), classes at French General, the miniature show and the quilt show and yesterday I received these cuties I treated myself to from Sweet Nellie on Etsy for my Valentine's Day decor (I've been following her blog for years and always wanted something of hers and now that I'm as old as dirt, I thought this year was the year!). 

AND to keep the birthday bash rolling along, in today's mail came the bestest birthday card from my friend Pam - I fear she has had me under surveillance as this card is a perfect depiction of my relationship with chocolate!

I ordered the most darling of Valentine angels 
and a Valentine garland for my mantle from Sweet Nellie.
Everything was charmingly wrapped and perfection in person.
Can't wait to unfurl my garland and get to decorating!

This is my favorite card Pam, thank you so much!
You have captured my chocolate loving heart to a tee!
Or is that to a "T"?! 
I have indeed spent the month of January like this,
how did you know?!  I laid out too many clues, left too 
many literal crumbs to my true nature, haven't I?!
Can I have a napkin please?  MWAH!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

and then there was the quilt show

The continuing birthday saga ... after the miniature show, we went to lunch ... no, make that we got lost and then we went out to lunch LOL. Then we made it to the quilt show and it was insane! Ginormous and packed with people.  Very hard to see anything.  But that did not deter me, nuh uh! I was on a mission for blue fabrics and buttons for my Charlotte Lyons Traveling Needlebook project.  Eureka!  Found some pretty fabric (at Shabby Fabrics) and wonderful buttons at The Button Box (be sure and visit her booth if ever you go to the quilt show).

I also got some oh so yummy hand dyed cottons from Liberty Homestead and they also had some darling antiques toys and stuff at their booth and I had to grab these three little chicks for Easter.  I did briefly lose my mind and buy a bunch of patterns at one booth, ay yi yi.  I better tackle them soon with my squinty middle aged eyeballs and arthritic thumbs.

Hitting two crowded shows in one day was a bit overly ambitious in retrospect but it was a fun birthday gift to myself. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

prim littles

Yesterday was my birthday and I decided I wanted to go to the miniature and quilt shows that were in town this weekend. 

The miniature show turned out to be rather small but there was still plenty to see and wish one could come home with! 

My mom and I shared a love of dollhouses and miniatures (as well as so many other things!) and we used to go together to shows many years ago.  It was such fun to see two names I remember from long ago on the program.  

But the most fun of all was I found a third miniature artist, Jane Graber, whose work my mom had bought some for each of us about 25 years ago!  She turned out to be so darling and sweet, so delightful.  

The redware and the doggie shelf above were all made by this same artist and then her friend, who accompanied her to the show, made the one basket on the left and another friend of theirs made the trug on the right.  She also had wonderful cabinets and hutches made by other artisans and I am kicking myself for not buying one in particular.  WAH!

You may see more of Jane Graber's charming work here, on her family's website. 

I was so thrilled to come home with these little charmers, which are my new favorite things and I can't wait until next years show!

Joining Claudia for A Favorite Thing Saturdays at Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Saturday, January 26, 2013

happy birthday to me happy birthday to me

Another year has completed and it's time for chocolate cake WOOHOO! 
We found the little chair I'm sitting on in the photo 
at my parents house, what a wonderful surprise that was!  
At this same table and chair, I sat outside of our house and 
sold lemonade and (chocolate) cupcakes when I was little.

Friday, January 25, 2013

it's raining it's pouring

it's raining
it's pouring
the old doggies are snoring ...

It's raining here today so we're all cooped up in the house.  Some of us are dreaming doggie dreams while I've been reorganizing and consolidating drawers in my craft room. 

I've emptied three small drawers, one large box and two small boxes ... there's still much to be done dagnabbit! 

What to do with all of my magazines???  I thought I'd get rid of my Somerset Studio magazines since I never find the time to look at them anymore ... but no, I had to go and start thumbing through a couple of them and now the craft hoarder in me doesn't want to get rid of them. WAH! 

Are you a keeper of things or a minimalist

And by the way, do you have any insight into WHY I had to have so many craft punches?!  Sheesh!  There must a special name for this disorder LOL.  And all the rubber stamps I had to have that I never use. 

I'm starting to twitch ... better not think about it anymore hahahhahahhahha ...

Happy happy weekend to you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

down in the doldrums

Oh! I've got a case of the blues, blogging and otherwise.  I don't know how you guys do it - manage to keep up with your lives, your homes, your crafting and your blogs (and visit other blogs)?  I am so overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I need to accomplish and so frustrated that I can't just craft or read a book.  

Last Sunday was our "19 year anniversary since we met" Anniversary and we had a lovely dinner out in celebration. 

Oh my gosh - we went to see the Oscar nominated French movie "Amour" on Monday (after watching the inauguration on TV). It was beautifully crafted and acted but so very intense and painful. I was very shaken by it and it took a long time to let it go. 

YIKES!  This weekend I have another one of those things, um, birthdays.  The good news is that I'm planning to go to a quilt show and a dollhouse miniature show too. WOOHOO!

The doggies are doing well.  Georgie is on an at-home chemotherapy med, in concert with two other regularly prescribed medications. He was only thought to have a few days to live the beginning of December and weeks have passed now.  We are so very thankful for his presence in our lives. And Gracie is a bundle of mischief and very funny and makes us laugh with her hijinks.

I miss all of you, my blogging pals!  Happy Hump Day! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the art of craftiness ... or um, not

On the left hand side, journal given to all participants by French General.
On the right hand side, items from my kit for Charlotte Lyons Traveling Needlebook

So ... last Friday and Saturday I went to French General for three classes over The Art of Craft weekend.  On Friday I had two classes:  "Traveling Needlebook" with Charlotte Lyons and "Stitched Jewelry" with Rebecca Sower.  On Saturday I had one class:  "Souvenir Journal" with Pam Garrison.

Not only were the projects fun but I got to sit with the most fun group of ladies. We laughed through all three classes.  So much fun!  The three hour class time flew even faster than when I went last year, if that's possible! I only got a couple of super poor photos taken since I was so busy having fun with these ladies. 

Under the best of circumstances, I don't hit upon my concept right away (it takes me several go-rounds, trial and error and lots of mulling it over!).  So to have limited time to do something new and performance anxiety on top of it ... WAH! 

I'm rethinking and redoing or tinkering with, all of my projects.  First off, I'm not artistic, I'm just crafty.  I was in awe of the women around me who could just throw together great stuff in three hours time.

Charlotte gave us charming quilt pieces for our needlebook covers ...

 I'm playing around with colors and placement ... 
those are my grammies buttons I'm thinking of including.
The cross stitch graphs and loteria card are from Charlotte's fabric line.

I'm not happy with the beginnings of my fabric bracelet at all ... sigh. 
Everyone was merrily and creatively embroidering inside these little boxes
that Rebecca had stitched on our linens, adding beads and doodads and I
was just lost ... completely lost. WAH!  I've never done the "inchie" thing
before or little bits of embellishments and I was just thrown. I had thought
to print out photos of my grandma on linen beforehand but that wasn't
enough.  I need to practice my foofing-it-up skills big time!

And I'm not pleased with how my inside pages turned out for my journal.
It's supposed to be a spontaneous, no rules, project and I guess I'm too anal for it.
sniffle sniffle ...

Anyway, I'm going to tackle all of these at my own pace ... I know I can do better.  I just don't do well with time constraints. I also get caught up in comparing myself to others and there's no benefit in that.

I will enjoy attending again (even though I suck at it!), so much fun to get to meet the wonderful teachers and spend the day with the other attendees and share a love of the handmade.

Friday, January 11, 2013

there's gonna be some crafting going on

Very shortly I'm off to French General for The Art of Craft.  
Yabba dabba doo, so excited! 

Happy Friday and Happy Crafting to you!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

antique wooden plate

Sometimes I'm such a noodle head.  I nearly gave this plate away several times.  Thankfully the fog and inertia of grief kept me from doing so.

I found it at my parents in 2011 after my father passed away. I thought it was charming but I only have so much room in my teeny tiny 1000 square foot home and could not keep everything from my parents house (two and a half times the size of mine).  

It bears an inscription that mystified me but also gave me deja vu.  I could remember my mother showing me the plate but for the life of me, could not remember what she had said about it.  The inscription is very hard to read but somehow as the months passed and through working on our family genealogy, I was finally able to decipher it and recognize it's meaning and origin. 

It reads:

Born 1771 died 1864
Beech wood
From Grandpa
Always ate on this because an "arthen"
plate dulled his knife so.

The key to it all was discovering a long ago family member with the last name Anjavine, which I had never come across until recently.  And then one day I picked up this plate again and looked upon it and turned it over and finally, FINALLY, read the words and read Anjavine for the first time and it made me cry.  A piece of family history and I nearly gave it to the Good Will!  My guardian angel sure had been watching over me and protecting me from myself on this one LOL. 

Joining in the Vintage Thingie Thursday fun with Suzanne at Colorado Lady.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

random reds

My grandma's vintage notions. 

Vintage holiday craft glitter and adhesive, 
sent to my mom by her friend in 1962.

Joining in the Rednesday fun with Sue at It's A Very Cherry World.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

pg wodehouse and the bbc

This Saturday I'm actually sharing two favorite things ... my love of author PG Wodehouse and the English Television network, the BBC.  When my husband showed me this article in the Los Angeles Times yesterday morning, "Brits anticipate a Wodehouse tale",  I thought "That will be my A Favorite Thing Saturday" post.

The series will start this month in the UK, lucky ducks! It will be based on the Blandings Castle stories and star Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders - love them both!  Doing my happy dance ... well, that is if we are able to get it here please please please.

I discovered the wonderful productions of the BBC (via my mom and her love for all things cultural and British) when our local PBS station (KCET) began airing programs from them.  Good gosh, it seems like that was several lifetimes ago - I think it was in the late sixties, early seventies?  Anyway, many many years of enjoyment and wonderful stuff to watch.

One of the early productions that I adored and led me to PG Wodehouse was a series of his short stories, "Wodehouse Playhouse", starring Pauline Collins and her husband John Alderton. After seeing this charming group of stories, I ran to the bookstore and picked up "Meet Mr. Mulliner" and so began my great love. Wodehouse's stories are filled with silly gentle humor and delightful.

This is my Wodehouse shelf (I've moved the books around a bit so you could see they are two deep). I think I have about forty of his titles ... I think there may be something like ninety? I stopped collecting them long ago but of late have felt the itch to begin again.

I previously shared some of my PG Wodehouse book collection here for Vintage Thingie Thursday.

Joining in the A Favorite Thing Saturday fun with Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage.

Friday, January 4, 2013

ringing in the new year

(I'm such a later tater getting this post written. I have a little bit of a bug (or perhaps it's just allergies or stress over our Georgie Porgie Poochie Pie?!) and haven't felt like doing much of anything the past week.)

Being the old fogies and stay-at-homes that we are, New Years Eve found us out on the town for an early dinner and swift return home.  We're morning folks, not night owls and I think we've managed to make it to midnight once in the years we've been together.

After tossing a few ideas around we decided to try a new and much talked about, restaurant in Venice that had a vegetarian menu option for us and so convenient, only minutes away.  Well ... except for the nonexistent parking, that is.  Good old Los Angeles, land of automobiles and no parking! 

We just lazed around the house NYE, hoping my stomach would rebound and feel up to dinner out and thankfully we were able to enjoy our evening out.  

We were the second table seated and watched the room fill up with merry revelers.

We forgot to take a photo of the first course ... 
"saffron arancini & gold flakes with smoked tomato soup 
and tea sandwiches"  
 It was very good - 
the saffron arancini turned out to be risotto balls 
and my husband said they were like Tater Tots ahahhahahha!  
The smoked tomato soup came in demitasse cups and was rimmed 
with intense spices.  They gave us the most yummy dainty grilled 
cheese brioche sandwiches for our tea sandwiches.

This is the second course ... 
"porcini crudo and ricotta salata"
Tasty, although I couldn't distinguish the paper thin sliced 
porcini mushrooms from the paper thin sliced ricotta salata 
(a dry ricotta) by either taste or by sight in the dark restaurant.

 This is the third course ...
"buckwheat tajarin with truffle caviar"
I'm sorry to say I hated this one! It was AWFUL to me. 
The truffles and creme fraiche were good but the 
buckwheat noodles were so yucky tasting. 
I've enjoyed them before so this dish just didn't work.  
I ate a couple of bites and set the plate aside as did the man 
at the table next to us.

 This was the fourth course, the main dish ... 
"fall vegetable ragout with truffled egg".
Now this was so YUMMY!  
Doesn't look impressive in the photo
but it was so good.  Loved this. 

And then they gave us two desserts.  
First one was a sorbet, to "refresh" us 
and the second was a hot chocolate pudding.  
I liked the lemon sorbetto 
but hated the prosecco granita that came with it.
And first and foremost, I am a total chocoholic but the 
hot chocolate pudding was really just an undercooked lava cake. 
Not that I don't love melted chocolate ... um, I most certainly DO,
I just thought it would be something different than it was. 
So I was disappointed and underwhelmed.

So half of our six courses were yummy and the other three, less so.  WAH!  Oh well, that's what sometimes happens when you try a new restaurant.

New Years Day the hubby made me french toast and we ate and watched the Rose Parade. I guess this is now our New Years Day ritual as we've begun most of our new years this same way.

I still feel yucky and not up to any of our plans (see some museum exhibits and go see The Hobbit and Les Mis).  PHOOEY! 

Hope you had fun ringing in the new year and have been enjoying the first few days of 2013! 

Georgie is to start a sort of "at home" chemotherapy tomorrow.  My husband picked up the new medication yesterday and was given gloves to wear while handling it. YIKES!  This totally freaks me out.  If we can't touch it, what will it do to his insides?!  I know, I'm such a knucklehead - chemotherapy is toxic.  I'm so unhappy and rattled about all of this.  WAH!