Sunday, January 31, 2010

New designs

I have been playing with the idea of making the "chalkboard " on my personalized lunch totes smaller and adding more design work on them.
Here is an original:

Here are some new ones I should have finished in a few days.



I am also designing a new drawstring bag. The finishing touches are always a huge decision. So many choices!


                                                                                                           Should I add this?
or this....

                     or this?
Any opinions would be very helpful!! Sometimes I need a little help from my friends.. Thanks for sharing!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ode to My daughter

My daughter and son-in-law  spent  a week with us during Christmas. Its always wonderful when the kids get to come home. But this is a very special visit. It will be the last time they visit alone. She is expecting their first child in March. My Grandson, my daughter's child. My baby's baby! It all seems so surreal  right now.  What a wonderful new year this is going to be!! My studio is set up in her old bedroom. It is an inspiration every time I go in there to work. She is my best friend. I miss her alot since she got married and moved to Portland. No more shopping trips,or stops at our favorite coffee shops at a moments notice. Change is BAD, change is GOOD. The start of a new generation in our family is a very exciting prospect!
I am going to visit them for a weekend in  February, one more time " before baby". Then, I'll be back in March for the birth! I can hardly wait to be a grandma.
I had a book when the kids were little. It is " Love you Forever". I have never been able to read it aloud without choking up into tears. The line that got me every time was this:
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."
  My daughter used to think it was funny that I couldn't read it without crying! Until I gave it to her for Christmas. I dared her not to cry.... And she couldn't help herself. She is definitely a mother! My baby....... I'll love you forever!!

My "Baby" and Me 1984

Monday, January 25, 2010

Finally watched -" Slumdog Millionaire"

I don't usually review movies. I'm not even an avid movie watcher (as my family will attest to). All I wanted to do was take a nice leisurely Sunday afternoon nap. So I laid down on my comfy sofa, turned on the tube, nothing, out of 4 zillion channels you would think I could find some lighthearted, no nothing, fall asleep to, show. Then I came across "Slumdog Millionaire". A movie I have been avoiding for a few years now. For some reason I decided to force myself to watch it, good reviews, awards and all that. FORCE- is the operative word. It took at least half and hour to get totally sucked in. It is a little hard to catch all of the dialog, very hard to watch the heart breaking scenes of poverty and utter callousness of people. You absolutely fall in love with Jamal and root for him through out the movie. I would become emotionally drained and had to take numerous breaks! It was an amazing life's journey of one young man.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend taking the emotional roller coaster ride through to the great end! Loved the dancing and music during the credits!
Have you seen it? What did you think??

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dena's Treasures

I've mentioned before, what talented friends I have! Today I'm am featuring the beautiful card making and scrapbooking talents of my friend, Dena. First of all, she has an office/studio to DIE for! The whole thing done in Pottery Barn furniture.( I'll have to get a picture sometime). As some of you may know, I am going to be a grandma in March (YAH!), a little boy! So Dena made me a beautiful photo album for Christmas:

Here are some of the pages:

                                                    I also received a few thank you cards:

How appropriate for a handbag designer!

Beautiful work! Thank you Dena! You have inspired me to try some of my own. Thank you for being such a good friend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Big Thank You!!!!

I would like to thank Finding Charm, for awarding me the Kreative Blogger Award! It was awarded to her by Capricorn One Vintage. Finding Charm is paying it forward. She has chosen  and 6 other wonderful bloggers (and me) to give this award to, and followed the rules listed below. What a creative way to let our fellow bloggers know they are appreciated! Also a great way to find wonderful new blogs to follow!

Here are 7 things you might not know about me:
  1. I drive a convertible that hauls as much as a pick-up truck!
  2. I've been married for about 31 years (OMG)!
  3. Expecting my first grandchild in mid March (a boy)!
  4. I love to cook.
  5. Sewed my first dress in high school home Ec class (lime green with turquoise dots- mini).
  6. Tried and LIKE a zillion types of crafts.
  7. Have 2 cats, a nice one and a mean one.
7 Blogs I am Paying Forward (Rules for you outlined below):

I will be letting them know they've been chosen.

     Rules to Pay it Forward
    1. Copy/paste the Kreativ Blogger Award picture onto your blog
    2. Thank the person who awarded it to you and post a link to her/his blog
    3. Write 7 things about yourself we might not know
    4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award
    5. Link to them
    6. Notify your 7 bloggers of their award

    Thanks again, and have fun exploring new blogs!

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    From sweater to clutch

    I'm trying my hand at "up-cycling" lately. A little diversity is good for the creative soul! I found this sweater vest that had some great shell motifs and a large crocheted edge that I just had to incorporate into a bag. Because of the potential bulk, I made a simple rectangle shape added the sweater piece and will just sew up the sides. It is turning out so cute!


    Just adding some bead work, a button or two and it will be finished. Up-cycling, good for the country, good for the soul! Do you have any projects you'd like to share? I'd love to see them!

    Rainbow before the storm.

    This week parts of Californina, (I'm in Sacramento), are supposed to get about 10 inches of rain and 50 mile an hour winds gusts. Supposedly the worst storm in 15 years! So, again, we batten down the hatches. Hopefully, I won't have to go driving around in it. Yesterday, we did drive down to the valley about 150 miles through flat green fields and beautifully green foothills, citrus orchards and farmland. In the summer all the hills turn golden and dry, hence the title "The Golden State". The sun appeared through the clouds and I was able to catch a few pictures of a growing rainbow. It will be a nice memory this week.......


    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Estian needlework

    I've been enthralled with applique and needlework lately. I love all of the tiny details and intricacy of it. Even when I paint, I tend to detail things. I've never been able to do light sweeping strokes with a brush. There is something about detailing that completely pulls you into your work, like nothing around you exists!
    Here are some of my favorite Etsy examples. Stunning work!





    I made a few hearts for Christmas presents last year, it was so much fun! Here is one:
    ( back )                                                                                                           ( front)

     There are some very talented people out there! Hope you enjoyed the beautiful work by just a few of them.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Our family tradition - Beef roll-ups


    Ever since I was a little girl, my Mom made these roll-ups for special dinners. The kind of dinners that are spent at the dining room table.The ultimate, mid-western comfort food. My Dad (stepdad) is German, and I as far as can we remember, the recipe came from him. All I really know is that I started making them, every Christmas, years ago. I even ended up with the official serving dish, which is a beautiful, hand-painted, (Italian) bowl, on a stand.

    They are a little involved, but sooo good, it is worth the trouble!
    -A few things you'll need to start:
    -1 meat tenderizing mallet
    -saran wrap
    -round steak ( figure about 1/2 pound per serving)
    -dried onion flakes
    -yellow mustard
    -your favorite dill pickles (spears, cut in 1/4 or 1/8 lengths)
    -large frying pan

    Now, place between saran wrap and start pounding. Turn over and pound again. Trim all fat, and cut into pieces about 3" x 6", set aside. Don't fret over the size too much.

    Spread each piece with mustard, sprinkle on onion flakes, salt and pepper. Place the pickle on and roll up the meat. Secure with a toothpick.
    Brown the roll ups very well in the frying pan. You will do this in batches. It is important to brown well, that makes the gravy dark and rich. Set each batch aside until they are all browned. Then put them all back in the pan, add water just to cover,(a little red wine can be added too) and simmer for about 1 or 1 1/2 hours. When they are tender, take them out and make your gravy as usual.( The pickle adds a delicious flavor to the gravy! ) Served with mashed potatoes, you have a wonderful dinner fit for your favorite friends and family. Don't forget to remove the toothpicks before serving!
    This post is dedicated to my brother, Joe, who apparently has been asking for this recipe for years. Here you go, Joe!! Enjoy.( Love ya)

    Note: leftovers freeze well.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Old shorts-new bags

    "Upcycling" is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of equal or better quality." Like my hubby's old shorts, or my old jeans. You know the ones, we all have them. We will never fit into them again, ever, never. So I decided to figure out how to use them for my handbags. A little different from my normal bags I've been making from the upholstery samples I have. Here are two that I have come up with so far. The pink one, I gave to my niece for Christmas. The yellow one might end up on my Etsy site. This process is old to many of you, new to me. Although I do remember, long ago, we used to turn our old jeans into skirts.... What do you think?

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Sue's Aprons

    My friend has been sewing some amazing things lately. This is just a sample of her beautiful aprons I just had to show everyone! Aren't they gorgeous ?!?! Good job, Sue!!

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    "Twelfth Night" celebration

    Last nite my friend, Ann, graciously hosted a "12th Night" dinner to celebrate the ending of the Christmas season. Ann was born in Scotland, and as a child, her and her family migrated from there to the US to Britain   eventually ended up in southern California. One of her childhood traditions was celebrating "the Twelfth Night". She explains it like this:
    "Twelfth Night....on the religious calendar it's called Epiphany, and sometimes referred to as 3 King's Night.  The carol "Twelve days of Christmas" ends on the twelfth day, January 6...the first day of Christmas is Christmas day itself. (I have no idea what the significance is of all the lords leaping etc.)  In Britain, some people wait until this day to give gifts, as this was the day the Magi finally arrived in Bethlehem and gave their gifts to the baby Jesus.  In our family, we just kept the decorations up until this date, until Christmas was "over".  The dictionary describes it as " a yearly festival celebrated on the sixth day of January, the twelfth day after Christmas, in commemoration of the revealing of Jesus as the Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi at Bethlehem, sometimes called "Twelfth  Night."  To this day, the word "epiphany" is used to mean a profound revelation."
    Ann set a beautiful table, served a creamy fennel soup, spinach salad, baked lamb chops, mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. It was heavenly!!!! If that wasn't enough, dessert consisted of a wonderful currant pastry (also a family tradition), cheeses and pears with Port. We exchanged gifts and had a great time as usual! I am so blessed to have such good ( and talented) friends!!!!

    I have a terrible habit of saying "holy crap", this notebook has a very "appropriate" title!

    Dena made this beautiful photo book for my upcoming "Grandma" pictures!
    Thanks again for the wonderful evening and thoughtful gifts!! Now, NO MORE FOOD,( just until the next time!!) Can't wait........

    Fabric overload!

    I am soooo far behind in sewing right now it isn't funny!!! I recieved new upholstery samples from my friend and we visited a great upholstery fabric shop in Roseville, called Triad. We picked up sample grab bags for an amazing $2.50 each, stuffed with fabric pieces, not little scraps, but large ends of  beautiful fabrics! The bad part is, I have to go through and wash and refold and arrange everything now! At least it is inspiring to look at!! Wish me luck.

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Just thinking......

    What a long and wonderful holiday season its been! I've had family and friends visiting since Thanksgiving until yesterday! Its finally time to take down the decorations, reorganize, and refuel the creative juices. My studio is a disaster and I just got a ship load of new fabric samples in, that need to be put away. My poor etsy store is almost empty. The last of the sugar is out of the house (thank goodness). The solitude of the next few weeks will be heavenly. I am looking forward to sewing some new and exciting handbags for the spring! There are some day classes I would love to take in a few months.I have a list of things to add to my blog. And my grandson will be born. Its no wonder that the new year is always so inspiring. Can't wait to get started.! Just one more cup of coffee............

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Good Friends and Food - the meaning of life!

    What a crazy and wonderful Holiday it was this year!! My kids left for home at 11:00 and my first guest for the second annual "All Girls New Years Day Party" arrived at 1:00! It was a great afternoon filled with girl talk, laughter, food, champagne, games and did I mention food?? The last food hoorah of the year, we outdo ourselves with delightful tidbits like ham,cheese and spinach filo wraps, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, shrimp, cheese, lemon meringue bites, breads, cheeses, dips- even throw in a few veggies for our health! We had wonderful champagne cocktails borrowed from Kate ( ), (who has a great food blog!)
    Poor Hubby hangs out in his room trying to hear the TV over the sounds of  laughter, but does manage to make his way to the food spread now and then! We even manage to turn a boring game of "Apples to Apples" into a good time. (note to self: new games for next year). What a perfect way to usher in the new year. Nothing is better than good friends to celebrate with!! and did I mention food??
    Happy New Year to all my friends!! Wishing everyone a safe and prosperous new year!!