Saturday, January 31, 2009

favorite things

I'm currently in search of the mystical *perfect* mascara. Something that makes my lashes look like a 40's starlet and only costs a few bucks. Is that too much to ask for? The other day I emailed a few friends who have lovely lashes and asked them their favs. Then it occurred to me...hey wouldn't it be fun to run a list of my fav things on my blog? I'm not trying to focus on materialism; but let's face it, we are all consumers. We purchase, therefore we live. And when I think of how many brands of soap I had to try until I found the perfect one...why shouldn't I share my brand-love with others? Maybe you will love them too. And by all means feel free to comment back with your favs or your experiences trying my favs. It won't always be products, sometimes books, websites, recipes and who knows what else. Why should Oprah & Martha have all the fun ;-)

So here is my first Favorite Thing: Tastebook

This is a great concept! Beautiful custom cookbooks for a great price. I was introduced to Tastebook when my good friend Mary Beth got one as a gift from her daughter. I thought it was a wonderful idea and so I made a custom cookbook for my Mom last Christmas. I borrowed her favorite recipes scrawled on varying slips of paper and recipe cards and put it all in this tidy book. They also offer a ton of recipes and customized cookbooks that are already organized. But I love the idea of being able to make your own. You pick your own cover art, font colors, recipes, etc - I think you can even upload your own photos to print on the recipe pages. Pretty nifty, huh? Enjoy ;-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

yesterday's pants

Part One: The Skinny on the Skivvies

A few months ago I came across this really cool fabric, cleverly disguised as size 20W ladies capri pants. They were brand spankin' new and I loved the pattern. Gotta love my thrift stores - where else can you find a great piece of fabric for $2? At first I was bummed because I thought it was a skirt; that would have given me alot more to work with. But because of the size there was still plenty. So I snapped them up with plans to upcycle/refashion them. Well today, thanks to the ice storm, I am home with some time to spare. Just after checking the local news and seeing that the schools were closed, I went to etsy searching for the perfect purse. For those of you that don't see me often, I have been toting around this sorry excuse for a purse since last summer. And I complain about it all the time. I think you know where I'm going with this...a little free time + inspiration = aha!

Part Two: Measure Twice, Cut Once

I decided to make my own bag with custom interior pockets for my cell phone, notepad, planner and favorite pen. Everything all tidy and organized -- just the idea of it makes me happy! I've missed more calls fishing around in my old dreaded purse because everything lumps up in the bottom. And strap length - very important. It's almost revolutionary making a purse to suit your OWN needs (or maybe rather colonial actually). Now you have to take into consideration that I am no seamstress. Just a wanna-be. But what's the difference really between design on paper and design with fabric? 21 years of graphic design has taught me well about spatial geometry. The pic above shows the leg I cut off of the pants, using the top piece for the main part of the purse and the bottom piece for the interior pockets. I ended up having to tear out one of the side seams which was a bit of a pain but good practice. After a few calculations, some experimental pinning and a little cursing came the end result.

Part Three: Necessity IS the Mother of Invention

Here it is! I can hardly wait for the ice to melt so my tote can make its public debut. It's not perfect, but it houses all my stuff neatly, looks smart and cost me only a few dollars. I learned a ton of lessons that I will apply to my next purse project. And hey, it's almost February. That's our biggest winter-weather month here in central Virginia, so bring on the snow! I know I've got some other fabric stashed away ;-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

working Sunday's magic

I love days like today–Sunday at home. With laundry drying on the line, leftovers for lunch and plenty of baking projects swirling around in my head. Now that I'm working for the man again I relish days when I can just stay at home. So today I decided to modify a recipe for banana-coconut bread by swapping half the butter for yogurt, all of the granulated sugar for honey and baking them as muffins rather than a loaf. They turned out wonderfully! I love to experiment with recipes but as you know, experiments are not always successful. Sometimes you get a gloppy nasty end-result. But not today - must be the magic of Sunday ;-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

sugar and spice girls

Everytime I walk through my kitchen I see these little lovelies on my hutch. They make me smile! I love their vintage sugar-coated look. I just couldn't stand the idea of making them go away when Christmas was over so I decided they can be winter angels and stay with us until spring arrives. Just thought it would be fun to share them with you on this cold January day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

airing laundry and thoughts

Today I hung out my first load of 2009 line-dry laundry. The clothesline is sadly sagging but it held out. As my chilly fingers fumbled with the clothespins, I found myself dreaming of springtime's sunny breezes and the sound of birds chittering. As I type this post, a gray-haired lady is walking her dog down our street. The dog is sporting a pink & white hoodie, oddly enough with the hood ON. That random dog made me stop and look at myself in the mirror. I see tired eyes staring back at me. Somewhere there's a smile but not today. Today is for taking care of others. Some people think that I am too busy taking care of others and that I don't focus enough on myself. I argue exactly the opposite. I think by taking care of others we ultimately fulfill ourselves. Taking care to do our best, with all we've got, for someone else who can't at that moment. I think that elevates us to a level beyond silky smooth hair and this season's line of fashionable dog hoodies. Just a few rambling thoughts today...I hope they impart something of value.
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