Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creating in action

This is my scrap studio in the midst of a creating frenzy.  My mojo has been flowing lately and this is the result.  
And yes it's small - just 8 feet from the edge of the white dressers to the window and 6 1/2 feet from side to side.  What's not visible is a HUGE closet  which houses even more scrappy treasures.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Explosion box swap

This is an explosion box I made for my partner on My Scrap Room.  I got the pattern from a YT video by Laura Dennison of Follow The Paper Trail.  The sides and flaps are all made from envelopes.  I pulled paper from my stash and made all the felt flowers myself.
I just used cheap craft felt and hot glued them in place. Some I used die cuts to get the shapes; others I cut free hand.   I also made one of the stick pins.  The other 2 I got in another swap.  
I just love border punches.  I think I have about 6 now! 
These are Bo Bunny papers from about 2007 or so.  Pays to hoard until you find the perfect project.  I had to plan really well in order not to run out of paper.  
A bit of bling sets all things off to a T.
There are pockets on the outsides formed by folding up the bottom of a business size envelope.  The flowers on the corners are pull tabs for hidden tags.
Pop off the top and this is what you see.  
The small inner pockets are made using coin envelopes.
There are lots of hidden tags with room for photos or journalling.  

My partner loved it and this beautiful box is what I got in return.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feed the birds... tuppence a day....

This was Norm's idea.  It's fun to watch the birds feed from inside the house.  The blue jays aren't very nice, though. We get a lot of birds here feeding.  The thing needs filling every time I turn around.    

Monday, October 24, 2011

How To Eat An Apple

My dad loved apples.  MacIntosh apples to be specific.  Home grown Macs.  Long before the Mac was a computer and reigned king among computers the humble MacIntosh apple was king in my house.  The other day while at my favorite produce stand, Andy's Produce, I saw these locally grown MacIntosh apples.  To be honest it's been at least 30 years since I last bit into one.  They were very popular at home in BC but when I came to California  I couldn't find them any more.  I moved on to the more prestigous Gala or Rome or here in Sonoma County, the Gravenstein. Imagine my surprise, last week, when I found home grown organic Macs - a whole heap of them just waiting for me to take some of them home.  

The following is a bit of prose my dad wrote about his love of apples.


You start to eat an apple around August, long before they are ripe.  When the last of the June drop is over and the July sun starts to put a coy blush on the apples' delicate skin, when the tree is taking up moisture, you begin to size up your harvest.  The saliva begins to flow just thinking about it.  By September you have estimated the size of your crop.  The apple spray warded off disease and pestilence and October seems a long way off.  When the day comes, the apple picking ceremony is almost sacred. 
 But they are not ready yet.  

So you store them somewhere close and cool, and wait.  Every day you say,
 "They are not ready yet."

You choke down the lump in your throat.  By and by, in about two weeks, your cellar greets you with an exquisite fragrance.  You look into the box and are overcome with an uncontrollable passion.  You take one, polish it up and polish it to a brilliant crimson on your shirt.  Nothing else will do, it has to be your shirt.  In your hand you hold a precious jewel, full of sun and the taste of robust earth.  A gift touched by the hand of God.  

You bow your head for a moment over this rare specimen of heavenly love and say, 
"Thank you God for such a splendid thing as an apple."

Then you close your eyes in reverence and open your mouth.  But first... let me explain.  there is only one way to eat an apple.  Don't try to be polite and quiet and delicate.  An apple (I'm talking about good apples, something like British Columbia MacIntosh reds), must have a snap to them.  They must crack at every bite.  And juice must fly and run down your chin and you've got to chew loud to bring out the taste of sunshine and and spring rains and December cold.  And don't ever peel an apple. 
 How would you like to be eaten naked in the public gaze?

An apple must be eaten in it's entirety.  Anyone who throws away the "core" throws away half an apple and the best part.  There is no core to an apple.  You eat the blossom end where the goodness is.  You chew up the seeds and the little seed pods, and you even eat the stem.  Give it all a good chewing.  Ruminate until nothing but a kind of die-hard cud remains.  Now here comes the punch line in apple eating technique.  Whatever is left you just shotgun out of your mouth in a loud explosive escape.  Just let the chips fall where they may.  For the sake of courtesy it is wiser to carry out this last performance outdoors.

Your apple is gone.  You've cracked loud on the bites.  You've sprayed the juice around, masticated it all from seeds to stem and nothing remains but a rosy glow in your stomach.

Thank you, God, for apples.
G.P James

And yes, he ate apples just like he described!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall and Thanksgiving Decorations

I found some great fall and Thanksgiving ideas to share with you.  Choose one to do for your house and share it with me.
Got a short candle?  Just elevate it on a box or can or something similar inside the bowl and the apples around it will hide it.
Spray adhesive would work I think to adhere the leaves to the glass.  Don't you just adore the little bird?  So sweet.
Use beans or birdseed or sand or rice or gravel or whatever you have handy in the bottom of your vase. No vase? A canning jar would do the trick just as well.

Ok so the focal point of this picture are the leaves in the center of the table but the pumpkins hanging in the background are too stinking cute to pass right over.  Love them!
And a bell jar!!  I. MUST. HAVE. A. BELL. JAR!!!!
And this - this is glorious. I bought pumpkins and silver spray paint.  This is the one I'm gonna try. Stay tuned....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Madam Gardener

I kinda like gardening.  I don't love it but I do love the results.  I adore flowers and I like to watch them grow and flourish.   I have always had flowers of some sort but it's a lot of work and Norm HATES it so I'm on my own unless I can really sweet talk him into helping me.  I have usually just had annuals but in the 5 years we have lived here I have planted quite a few perennials.  When we moved into this house there was a big agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) plant in the corner of the flower bed.  It has never failed to produce its comical lavender colored flowers year after year.  I know perennials need dividing but I've never done it before.  I meant to do it last year but lost my window of opportunity when Feb. had come and gone and it wasn't done yet.  The book said fall.  So this year I made up my mind to make it happen.  The book and the guy at the nursery said "In September, right after the flowers are over".  Remember that sweet talking I said I had to do? Well I did it and got Norm on board.  Got some soil booster from the hardware store and made a date.
This is the original plant in all its green glory.
It took 2 days to dig the trench between the few minutes after I got home from work and dark.  Norm said I had to be there to show him EXACTLY where to dig. We piled all the dirt on a tarp spread on the ground.

 Then it rained and rained and rained.  For 3 days.  When it finally stopped we waited 2 days for the ground to dry out a little and then dug out the original plant.  Whew!  Really hard work.  (And when I say we I mean Norm...of course!)  I figured out how many divisions I needed and then he hacked it apart.  I marked the planting spaces with little flags and then it rained again - for 2 more days straight.  I piled the plants in the wheelbarrow and covered them with soil to wait out the storm.  Finally the sun came out and we got the soil booster mixed into the native soil and put them in the ground.

I'm so proud of myself I could just burst.  Just call me Madam Gardener, thanks.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New paint

This is my house after the new paint job.  Flowers all abloom, porch swing waiting.  I wish I had a before picture....  I adore yellow houses.  We drove all over town looking at yellow houses with white trim.  I had to have just the right shade.  Not too yellow, not greenish yellow, not too golden.  I think this is just right.  What do you think?
We got a new roof just a few days before the new paint job, too. (Picture taken in July)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heaven on a plate

I have my sister Carolynne to blame for this addiction.  She lured me with the tomato, bacon and mayo then set the hook deep with the addition of the garlic and basil and then reeled me in with the English muffin and butter.  
 Recipe as follows:
1 Red, ripe tomato cut into thick slices. 
(My favorites are heirlooms I buy at my local farmer's market. 
If you grow your own all the better)
2 or 3 large cloves of fresh garlic
1 tsp of salt
Dollop of mayo
2 strips of cooked, crispy bacon 
1 English muffin
fresh basil
chili pepper flakes
Place garlic and salt in a mortar and grind with pestle until completely smashed and shiny
(Or you can put the salt on a cutting board and crush the garlic with the side of a large knife.)
Put a BIG dollop of mayo in another bowl.  If it'll make you feel better use low fat mayo but what's the point of that when bacon is involved? HA!  Add garlic mash.
Roll and chiffonade (isn't that a marvelous word?  It just means cut it into strips)  the basil and add to mayo mixture.
Toast the English muffin and butter it.  (Don't even THINK about skipping this step.)
Spread on the mayo nice and thick, arrange the bacon on top of that and then plop down the tomato slice.  Top with a sprinkle of grey salt and devour.  The contrast of the cold tomato with the warm toasted English muffin really defies description.

Oh and if you're really brave, add a dash or 2 of red chili flakes to the mayo mixture.

I GUARANTEE YOU WILL LOVE THIS - well except if you don't like tomatoes.  Then I'll just think you are nuts!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 11 A song from the musical which made the most impact on you

About 1992 or so I was going through a really hard time in my life.  I had a friend who was as obssessed with PHANTOM OF THE OPERA as I and wanted to help me feel better so decided I needed to go see it live.  She had seen it several times herself and was, of course, always talking about how fabulous it was.  She paid for my ticket and we drove from Vista, CA to LA to see it at the Pantages Theater.  From the moment I set foot in the theater I began to cry and sobbed my way through the whole play.  A few months after that we moved from CA to WA and I played the cassette tape over and over explaining the story to my kids as I went along.  They loved it.  A few years later we were back living in CA and I took Cody-Anne to see it for her 13 birthday at the Curran theater in San Fransisco. Tyler still has dreams of seeing it someday.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 10 A song from your least favourite musical.

Just can't stand BRIGADOON.  BLECH.  When we lived in Ohio I was hired by the drama teacher at the high school to teach a scenic design class.  We would be working on BRIGADOON.  Building the sets etc.  I taught them how to make rocks out of  chicken wire and paper mache, stone type bricks from styrofoam and several other things.  That part of it was kind of fun but the show just didn't click with me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 9. A song from the musical you know all (or nearly all) the lines to.

The very first musical I was ever involved with was Oliver!  I was in Grade 9 at Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar, BC.  I was the curtain puller.  I sat on a stool just offstage and opened and closed the curtain.  I was able to watch the whole show and memorized almost every word of dialog and all the songs.  I can still still sing all of them, lo this many years later!  LOL!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 8 - A song sung by your favourite male singer in a musical.

I don't really have a favorite male singer who does musicals but the range, emotion, playfulness and originality of this song is incredible.  I have seen this movie more times than I can count and had the privilige of directing this show with both of my kids in the cast.  One of the fondest memories of my theater career.

If I were a Rich Man by TOPOL in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A DIY project I will probably never do

Isn't this fabulous?  My house is way too small to support something like this but I love it nonetheless.  Not just the clock but the whole thing.  The styling is great, eh?  If I was a designer I'd definitely find a house to put it in.  For now I'll just dream.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 7 - A song sung by your favourite female singer in a musical.

The Speed Test by SUTTON FOSTER in THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.  I adore Sutton Foster and this is one of my favorites.