Thursday, January 29, 2009

Knitters' Coffee Swap Four

One of the requirements for the Knitters' Coffee Swap is to answer the following list of 14 questions - Kind of fun, actually!

1. Whole bean or ground?
Ground, please
2. Fully-loaded or decaf?
Fully-loaded, of course
3. Regular or flavored?
You know, I like both
4. How do you drink your coffee?
5. Favorite coffee ever?
Boca Java's Hightide Hazelnut
6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do?
I'm a little fussy
7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee?
I like cookies! In the morning I usually have an English muffin with jelly.
8. Anything else about your coffee preferences?
I like a mild blend, no French Vanilla or overly sweet flavors
9. Yarn/fiber you love?
Natural fibers
10. Yarn/fiber you hate?
I don't like acrylic yarns
11. What's on your needles?
Well, it's confession time! I have a scarf on one set of needles, a shawl on another set, and another shawl or wrap on yet another set of needles!
12. Favorite colors?
I love red and shades of blue
13. Allergies?
I don't think so
14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest?
I really really don't like when it gets below 35 degrees in Florida!

The scarf pattern above is from Purl Soho. The yarn is Malabrigo from Yarnzilla, one of my favorite yarns - it has the nicest hand.

Looking forward to this swap!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vintage Valentine Swap

Today the mailman brought me the most wonderful box of goodies from Denise, my swap partner in Heidi's Vintage Valentine Swap. It couldn't be more perfect and I couldn't be more pleased!

Denise is a master of presentation and packaging! She had everything arranged just as you see it in the picture above and still managed to package it so not only was nothing broken, nothing was out of place! I knew I loved it before I even took it out of the box.
A closer look - those are bath truffles inside that adorable little bowl. The silver heart is heavy - just right to use for a small paperweight - and so lovely! There's a tin of pink hot chocolate in the center - I love that! And a jar of specialty shop pomegranate jelly, which I will admit to tasting right away - Yummy! I'll add it to my list of favorite jellies. (Seriously Denise, how did you know I was a big fan of jelly?) Don't forget to check out the beautiful ceramic dish that's holding all these wonderful goodies! What's that on the other side you ask? Let me show you!
It's heart shaped, softly scented rose soap tucked inside one of the prettiest little boxes I've ever seen! I'm sure I'll find a use for the box.

And last, but certainly not least, look at this beautiful mug! I told my husband, who doesn't drink coffee, tea or hot chocolate, that I wanted a new mug. He totally didn't understand as I have several mugs and can only use one at a time after all. A new mug is like getting your haircut. A pretty new mug, like the one above, is like like getting the perfect haircut! You just can't help but smile!

Thank you Denise, for such an awesome gift! I'll swap with you anytime! A big thank you to Heidi for hosting amazing swaps and introducing me to such lovely people.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ready for Spring

It has been very cold here. We had 3 or 4 nights with temperatures in the 20's for long periods of time. That may be normal for many places, but I live in Florida! And in an old drafty house! I'm so glad it's warmer now, so ready for Spring, so much so I bought these pretty hydrangeas to put on my front porch. (They are in an old enamel bucket I bought at my favorite antique/junque store, so if it freezes again, I can easily move them inside.)
When Bryn was in high school and driving himself to school, I used to make him muffins on cold winter mornings, put them in a lunch bag and hand them to him on his way out the door with a travel mug of hot chocolate. Bryn's long out of high school and far from home, but still, when I make muffins, I think of him.

These are from a recipe that StudioRose shared with me for pumpkin bread. It makes two loaves, but I learned you can also make a loaf and a dozen muffins just as easily. They are pumpkin muffins loaded with raisins and nuts - YUMMY!!
When it's cold outside, my cat, Ezra or Ez-Man, spends a lot more time inside. He still likes to keep an eye on what's going on outside - you know, a stray cat might try to come in our yard and Ezra will have none of that!

Earlier in the day there was sun streaming in the windows, so Brutus moved his bed right in the middle of it! He bunched it up and settled in. He's either too lazy to move it back or he's waiting for the sun to come back. Or maybe he knows I'll move it back eventually and save him the trouble.

I'm sure you can't tell from this photo, but Stella is wagging her tail to beat the band! I really don't let the dogs up on the furniture, but sometimes they just can't help themselves! It also doesn't help that I take a picture of them (because come on, aren't they cute?) and THEN make them get down! Oh well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cupcakes and Valentines

They opened a cupcake shop very close to my house, so close I could ride my bike there and back - if I had a bike that is! We stopped in over the weekend and since I couldn't make up my mind we got 2 Red Velvet, 2 Coconut, 2 Mounds Bar and 2 Peanut Butter Cup! Oh my gosh they are so good!

While I was there a little girl got a frosting shot! Can you imagine?

I joined a couple Valentine Swap's and have been busy putting them together - if I'm your partner in a Valentine Swap - Fair Warning! Stop reading now if you want to be surprised!
I actually made this composition book for a swap. The binding cover is vintage wallpaper trim. The tag on the cover came from One Bright Spot, an etsy shop. I guess you've probably noticed I'm really into using a little bling on everything I put together these days. I can't seem to help myself. I bought a good sized lot of vintage rhinestone buttons a while ago and am having such fun with them. After I had the composition book covered, I thumbed through the pages to make sure I hadn't glued any of them together and discovered I had journaled in this book! Breaks my heart to think I have to keep this pretty journal!
I think this one is every bit as nice, and hopefully my swap partner will like it as much. I had a roll of netting (is that what that's called?) on my table and thought it made a pretty closure. It can easily be snipped off if it isn't to her liking. (I checked for previous journaling BEFORE I covered this one - always a good plan!)
I enjoy putting together swap packages, you have to love the shopping! I always pick up a couple of things for myself and find a thing or two for my girlfriends, too, and to tuck in boxes for Bryn. Keeps me from waiting until the last minute, too.
After stitching together the mittens for the calendar pages I decided to try my hand at some other things, including these hearts. I've tucked a bit of Lavender in each one, just a little, as it can be overwhelming. I've also ordered an embroidery book so perhaps I can learn another stitch!

About those cupcakes - if I bought a bicycle, rode to the shop, had a cupcake and a cup of coffee, then had Murph come pick me up in the truck (who am I kidding, I can't ride a bike that far!) - would I use enough calories to make up for the cupcake?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 2010 Calendar Pages

Last year my goal was to create next years calendar pages in the month they were to represent. I managed to do half of the year, which was better than doing all of them at once. I think the pages I was able to do ahead of time came out better as I had more time and didn't feel any pressure to finish them. Today I finished January 2010 - my goal this year is to better than last year!
I've had this vintage postcard for a long time, but it wasn't my turn to do January until now. I love the soft pinks mixed with the deeper rose. The background paper is actually a fabric, the patterned paper is old Anna Griffin I had in my stash.

I can't remember every using a patterned paper for the calendar grid before. If we haven't then I think it's high time we did!

And now for a Brutus fix ~
It's been quite cold here, especially for Florida. Brutus is not fond of chilly weather. As a puppy he would lay by the vent and make 'Brutus Noises' until it came on. He still does that today, without the noises, just with a pleading look! This is his other trick - if you can't find him just look on the bed!
I had already turned the bed down, but hadn't gone to bed. I guess he decided to make himself at home! Look how he's burrowed under the covers! He also looks somewhat annoyed that I'm disturbing him.

Once he realizes I'm taking pictures and not making him get down he snuggles right back to how I found him. Silly dog!

Friday, January 16, 2009

August 2009 Calendar Pages

The last pages for 2009! It feels good to have them finished - such an accomplishment. And I still have time to put together pages for January before Lisa and I get together, which gets me off to a good start for 2010.
A close up of the top of the calendar. The patterned papers are Jenni Bowlin. I use a lot of her products, they lend themselves to my vintage style very nicely. (Did you know she has a class at Big Picture Scrapbooking later this year? I'm looking forward to that!)

I aged alphabet image with a combination of inks and walnut ink crystals, spritzed with water.
The calendar is printed on coffee stained paper - I used a vanilla flavored instant coffee so it smells yummy, too!

Can't wait to start January! I've got an idea in mind.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

December 2009 Calendar Pages

Have you ever had an image in your mind of what you want to create and then somewhere during the process of creation, the project totally changes? That's what happened with the December pages. I had a couple of vintage images I've been looking forward to using on these pages, I even printed them. But the thought of mittens came to me while I was looking through papers and the next thing I knew I was looking for my felt, embroidery floss and tiny buttons!

While I had hoped to finish the pages yesterday, all I managed to finish were the mittens! If your hands were tiny enough, you could actually wear these!
The trim is vintage seam binding that I hand stitched into a ruffle pattern, it looks a lot harder than it is. I really enjoy hand stitching.

I didn't have two of of either the blue foil rectangles or the white lace rectangles, so these two pages are a little different. I think that's fine. I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite.

The center of the blue pieces by the calendar are little rhinestones to 'match' the button holding the mittens in place on the top page.

What do you think the white lace . . . . .
Or the blue metallic?

Tomorrow maybe I can finish August or at least get a good start on it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

October 2009 Calendar Page

I finished October's pages today, "A Night at the Opera", inspired by the sheet music and the photo of the man holding the violets. I actually chose the photo first as I really liked the violets, so different. Tomorrow I think I'll try and finish December. I have a few ideas and I'm still in a bit of a Christmas mood.

Lisa, I think I might even try and do January 2010 before I pass my pages along to you. How different would it be to have January in advance? Don't hold me to it though, you know how plans change!

Last Tuesday afternoon as I was bringing in the groceries and taking some boxes out to the garage, Gracie escaped! She's never tried to get out before, but she saw our cat, Bailey on the front porch and decided to go play with her. She's so small and so quick, I lost sight of her in no time. I searched for her until 8:30 -9:00 that night, until it got too dark to see anything at all. I drove around for a while stopping and asking everyone I saw, posting and handing out flier's I'd quickly printed. Then I went back home and got Brutus and he searched with me. I honestly believe he was looking for Gracie as he usually walks right along at a fast clip, with his head up, and his tail wagging. That night he kept his nose to the ground sniffing and looking from left to right, walking slowly and making 'Brutus sounds', if you've met Brutus, you know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday morning I was back out early, replacing signs I'd posted with new ones I had printed with pictures on them. I handed out smaller flier's to the morning walkers. While I was still out looking, my cell phone rang - the neighborhood dog walker, Janice, had Gracie! I'll admit to making a fool of myself by sobbing - no not polite tears of joy, but total mascara running, snotty sobbing!

A big thank you to Janice and to all of my neighbors who were so concerned and so helpful. So many of you have come by the house to see if Gracie made it home. Even more have come up to me while I was walking Gracie, just so happy to see that she was found. I have great neighbors!

And yes, we've all spoiled Grace like crazy since she's been home! Stella and Brutus sniffed her all over, Brutus cleaned her ears, then they both sniffed her some more! She was dirty, hungry, dirty and tired, but happy to be home! (Did I mention that she was dirty?)

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Calendar Pages - Also Late, as Usual

For several years now, Studiorose and I have created calendars together. We each take six months and make two pages for each. Of course we know ahead of time which months we have, we actually have an entire year to put the pages together. Somehow we always run late and this year is no exception! To be honest, I'm still not finished! Since Studiorose posted her pages, I thought I would at least share what I have finished.
In January of 2008 I vowed that I would finish my pages in the month of 2008 they would represent in 2009. In February, inspired by Valentine's Day I put together my February 2009 pages. It was wonderful to have all the time in the world to spend working on them, getting them just the way I wanted. (As opposed to panic stricken that Lisa would be here in a few days and I still had pages to finish!)

In April I was inspired to work with beeswax and had so much fun playing around with different mediums - there is fabric, ribbon, netting, a transparancy, and a tape measure on these pages, mostly held together with beeswax. Lots of fun.
I don't always take a picture of my work in progress, but since I did with this one, I thought I'd share it with you here. You can see the difference beeswax makes.
In June I came across this vintage postcard and since I love working with 'bathing beauties' I decided to play around with it and came up with these pages. The netting behind the calendar and the postcard is glittery, but doesn't show up very well in the photo.

In August, I reverted back to my old habits and am now in catch up mode! I hate it when I do that! My goal now is to have these finished by the end of the month when Lisa and I get together. I'll post my pages as I get them done.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Puppy Love

I decided to share some photos of our dogs this morning. I have some recent ones that I really like, but while I was looking for them I came across this one. It is so typically Brutus that I had to share. That is his bed and he was quite happy on it all by himself before Gracie joined him. The expression on his face lets you know he's not too happy to be sharing, but he's gonna be a good guy and let her stay.

This is Stella's big ol' head resting on the arm of my chair, with me in the chair. I think she wants some attention! (Either that or her tennis ball is under something and she needs my help.)
Stella and Gracie soaking up the sun!
There wasn't enough sun for Brutus, so he found his own little patch - right in the middle of my bed! Notice how he arranged the pillow for his maximum comfort! (And tossed my bear!)

Note: He's NOT allowed on the bed and yes, he knows it, but like all kids, he likes to push the envelope!

Monday, January 5, 2009

What Happened to December??

My husband had joint replacement surgery on both knees December 8th and 10th. Since then I've been his "beck and call girl", wait maybe I should say I've been at his beck and call! He's truly on the mend now - I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I've got time to post to my blog.

So, is it too late to post pictures of our Christmas tree? It turned out so pretty, you have to see it!Here's a close up of underneath the tree which was inspired by my my Vintage Christmas Swap with Heidi. She sent me the church, which I adore, the glittered snowflakes, as well as many of the glittered decorations on my tree.
All things considered we had a lovely Christmas! With that beautiful tree, how could we not?

Moving right along -
I was able to finish this 6x6 bracket calendar from Jenni Bowlin before the new year. On many of the months I used journaling blocks and will go back and record the highlights of the month or maybe add a favorite quote - something that was meaningful to me that month. I think Miss Daisy wears it well, don't you?

January is based on my Winter Journal. The paper is a different pattern, but the same colors. The felt flowers are the same, as are the rhinestones. I liked the look so much I wanted to use it again. The remaining months all use Jenni Bowlin papers and have a rhinestone or two on them.

My husband did his Christmas shopping on on the day before his first surgery. This is a big deal as he is not computer savvy! He actually thought he'd be able to do his shopping after his surgery and before Christmas - Christmas 2008! When I told him I didn't think so, he was shocked! He did so well, I think he should always shop Etsy! I'm hard pressed to chose a favorite, but I do love this vintage jewelry box and had a wonderful time filling it with inspirational goodies for an upcoming Vintage Valentine Swap.
I think it looks great on the sideboard in my studio! There's room for more goodies in that jewelry box. (This was inspired by an issue of Somerset Life.)
And one more thing!
When I logged on to create this post this morning I noticed that I had a follower! How cool is that! I'm so pleased someone is reading my blog that I added the follower gadget!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and am wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! Thanks for reading!