Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Marcel the Shell with Shoes on

This little video of happiness has launched a whole new series of bedtime stories and short films around here... but none of them are as unbelievably cute as the original.
You needed this today.

We LOVE Zucchini. (even my picky picky kids)

I've had this conversation with so many friends and neighbors lately that it merits a blog post to share with everyone. I have two very picky eaters and zucchini is a tough veggie to get into them. This time of year it seems to be something that everyone is looking for recipes to use it in... so here's my zucchini post.

Recipe #1 - PASTA SAUCE
I literally take store-bought pasta sauce (my faves are the Classico brand) and I blend in zucchini and parmesan cheese. I prep the zucchini by cutting it into chunks, microwaving it in a covered dish for 3 minutes and then add it to the sauce.  I make sure it's pureed really well and my kids eat it even faster than they normally eat pasta. And mommy seems to smile bigger when serving it, too.

I can't take credit for these, nor would I try, but I will tell you that we are on our third batch of these this summer. My kids beg for them. I actually make them without the frosting that is recommended - instead we warm them in the microwave and butter them up as muffins.  The picture is not mine (as we don't use the frosting)... but it's super pretty and they're really easy to make... you can find the recipe by clicking here.

Recipe # 3 - ZUCCHINI SOUP
My kids won't touch soup. I tell them they are crazy in the head, because this is so good. When we make it here, we often make double batches because my hubby and I love it so much.
It's my mother-in-law's recipe, but J says I do a pretty good job of it on my own. (duh, it's a little hard to mess up, but that's okay, I'll take the compliment) - you can serve this cold or hot with sour cream garnish.

1/2 c. onion
3 Tbs butter
6 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. brown rice
5 med zucchini, sliced (approx. 8 cups)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dill weed
sour cream
Brown onion in butter. Add broth, rice, zucchini, and cool till done.  Salt and pepper to taste. Add vinegar and dill weed. Puree in blender. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
(may be frozen)

This one is from my mom and I love how fresh it tastes. It is the perfect pasta salad to serve to guests or to take on a picnic.  It also goes well as a side to grilled or breaded chicken. (Plus it's pretty)

3 cups cooked orzo
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped zucchini
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tomatoes, zucchini and garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.  Saute 1 minute or  until zucchini is crisp-tender. Combine tomato mixture, 3 cups hot cooked orzo and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss well.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Colored pencils

I don't know about everyone else's kiddos, but mine are at the edge of sanity. It seems to be an end of summer thing. They've been so challenging these past few weeks that I've had to lay down the law today. We cancelled today's trip to Disneyland and even had to turn down two impromptu superfun playdates. It was a hard morning. The afternoon got better though and when I pulled out a set of colored pencils to sketch out some quilt ideas I had, the kids ran over and started drawing too. Not sure why snails were the order of the day, but we definitely got some cute art out of the inspiration...

3 hour quilt top

I wanted to see if I improvised with some favorite leftovers and a large block size if I might be able to make a quilt top on a sunday afternoon. (it's possible) very simple. Good fabric choices make it even easier.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mimi sewing by hand

Mimi, aka the Design Director, is a very busy little girl. She has her momma's energy level, which isn't hyper at all, but it never ever stops.
She also has a brain that does well with tasks that help her organize her thoughts, as they can be scattered, also like Momma.
The problem when you are five is that fine motor skills aren't fully fired up yet and since she's so much like me, she tends to excel in activities that are more artistic than athletic. (read: I am horrible at sports. It's hideous. I feel bad for passing any portion of that on)
So keeping busy can be frustrating for a busy soul without an outlet. Today, Mimi struggled through the afternoon, unable to do what she wanted to do creatively, until we stumbled onto this inspiration.. She saw a sewn beaded crystal heart my friend gave me this summer and decided she wanted to make one.. It was her first time using a sharp needle or beading anything, but after I showed her - she picked it up pretty quickly. Much faster and better than I'd expected. We even brought the project with us to our concert picnic this evening. I'm very impressed.

Friday, August 27, 2010

More quilting bee blocks

I love my quilting bee. Don't i say that every month? I love the challenges that the "homework" presents and I love using my brain to make things I wasn't going to make otherwise.
Last night's task was to help Melissa make her pretty red and aqua baby quilt for her new baby. She specified that we should make 2 squares, both 14" and one of them needed to have circles. The other could be a favorite of ours...
Such wide open directions! I thought and thought. Because I've wanted to make some of those freezer paper circles that I've seen (but not attempted yet)... But I've also had these two raw edge circle patterns that I wanted to try... So in the end, I improvised. I practiced with my funny green and yellow throwaway fabrics and made a weird (but i like it) square with raw edge bubbles over a log-cabin-esque type background. Okay, but not quite tight enough for me to send out. So I just went for it. And made up this weird spectrum with a spinning wheel on it. I actually really like it. The end result is quite modern (not very "me", but I may want to pursue the idea further as a creative project, because a whole quilt of this would be cool)
I'd gotten an email from Melissa earlier in the week saying she was concerned that she'd not sent us enough fabric for our squares, and after my spectrum spinner square, well... There wasn't much left. When faced with that, i decided to make a Wonky Square for my other block because it's so much fun to make and also the best use of random scraps I know.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Collage prints

I've found a place to get museum quality giclee prints of my collages onto canvas. Up to now, I'd simply ordered small prints, and been pleased with the quality, but today I received 4 big canvases that I'd been waiting for. Three of these pictured are 20"x24" - and the other is something like 16"x20".
I've been asked to show my artwork as a featured artist in a one-night showcase at a gallery in September (the 18th, North Hollywood if you're interested!) so I used the occasion as an excuse to order these bigger prints of my collages.
It's kind of weird to make something so permanent from something that is as temporal as my junk mail collages. There's not much that's archival when it comes to junk mail and glue sticks, and I'm still working through the irony.

In the meantime, I'm considering making the giclee prints available in time to order for Christmas gifts. Any of my collages would be possibilities. I'm considering doing limited edition runs. Which specific collage would you consider owning?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Victory's Quilt

Another quilt I finished last week. This one was for my sister and is the first big (non-baby) sized quilt I've been willing to part with yet. The benefit of being my sister is that she gets the first of everything.
I bought the fabric in January at that craft and hobby show I attended because it screamed "your sister!" to me. And it is really her colors... 

In fact, as I was making it, I learned that I didn't have enough fabric in the two "layer cakes" I'd bought to make the quilt, and though I supplemented with some of my own favorites that I keep on hand here, there still wasn't enough. Until my sister, pregnant with her first boy (after 3 girls) asked me to make a new baby sling for her with some fabric she bought. There just happened to be exactly enough scraps from her sling to fit into this perfectly coordinating quilt and to complete it. So fun!
Oh, and another fun thing to note is that there wasn't enough of anything to use for the binding. So the stash got a little raid and an old patterned satin got used (bias tape makers rock). That turned out really great and I think there will be more satin bindings in my future.

She got this quilt at her baby shower on Sunday - which happened to also be her birthday...

Picnic blanket therapy

Yesterday was a tough one. We "almost" got to pick up an abandoned newborn at the hospital and the high and low emotions that we rode between the first call and the final one which said, "nope, the hospital's paperwork got messed up, we are so sorry, not your baby this time" - well, it's almost inexplicable.
I texted J after the final news... "I'll be sewing tonight" ... And this is what I used to process my confusion and clear my head...

These were a bunch of fabrics given to me by my mother in law and my hubby's two grandmothers (excluding the back) many years ago. I made the 5x5 grid as a practice piece when i was learning to sew and dreaming about quilting years ago and recently found it, neglected. I pieced it into this 60x60 picnic quilt with the other vintage fabrics and used the whole project as "stippling practice." it had been sitting, pieced and pinned until now, waiting for the next step. Last night I cranked it out and sewed and sewed... I finished the self-binding today just as I learned some great news... My much blogged about pal, Christy, gave birth to Cade around midnight last night. (remember his quilt?)
Happy news, sewing, prayer and time are all some of my greatest, brightest ways to cope with this crazy crazy ride.

Monday, August 23, 2010

An unexpected visitor

Remember my nesting pal that has already made it here on the blog a few weeks ago? J and I came home on Saturday and found him IN my office. (which has a door that is never opened, we've got no idea how or when he came into the house)
I was a total mess considering i'm terrified of birds... And it took us a solid half hour to get him outside. He ended up fine, made it back out, but needless to say - I'm still scratching my head.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Earrings on Etsy

If you've known me or my creations for a while, you know that I started off on my own many years ago when I left my textile design job to make handmade jewelry. It was a lot of fun, but a little hard on my hands to be wrapping wire for 8 hours a day.  I still have all my supplies, though, and lots of jewelry that I keep finding stashed places that I simply stopped putting out at sales, etc.

Today I've listed a few pairs of earrings on my etsy store - I used to sell these for $22-$30 each, but now I just want them out of the boxes and onto people.... So they are all less than $20.  Depending on how these sell, I might be coaxed to put some of my clearance necklaces onto etsy as well.  We shall see.

And I also have a sale on my profile charms, too... They're only $10 (because I am crazy like that) just for a week. snatch them up.... supplies are limited.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I have the coolest friends - Rachel, the Artistic Doctor

So I've written about my pal Amy on this blog a lot.  Last summer we worked a ton on fun projects for her wedding. One of the fun side effects of all that work was becoming friends with Amy's super great sisters.

Rachel (pictured here with me as we did the flowers for Amy's wedding) is not only a new doctor, but a super artistic and creative gal herself. She's multi-talented and SO fun to be with. One day, she even sent this awesome drawing in the mail to us!

This week she sent me these pictures of this awesome laptop bag that she made with scraps from my scrap bins.
 I was amazingly impressed,  and THEN when I read further, I realized she made this by hand! She doesn't have a sewing machine! Wow, Rachel, you rock. Great job!

another cutie in a onesie

I made this onesie for my friend a long time ago... now her baby is big enough to fit it!
super cute!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Red Dot Boutique - you've got my number.

My neighbor calls it the "Red Dot Boutique" - but let's face it, we all love Target, right?
A few weeks ago when I went in (mind you I was already aware of my attraction to their Liberty of London collections), there was a new collection right at the entrance to the store that caught my eye.
  It's called the Stephen Burrows Collection and it's inspired by the art of Harlem. How fun is that? Target, must you continue to entice me? (answer: yes.... apparently, they've got me pegged.)

I may not be a mod-type gal in my decor (even though I spent years in love with mid-century modern design as a textile designer in the Interior Design industry), but you can bet I'll wear it...

I bought this dress and the shirt below (looks cuter on than in this pic, trust me). I've worn them both already and been asked both times if I'd made them... I think they scream "LIBBY!"... but I won't be offended if you buy them too... After all, it is the "red dot boutique".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ticker-Tape quilt for baby Maile

Those of you who see my flickr pics will know that this was done a little while ago... I didn't want to post about it until my friend who it was for actually received it. She's got it now.

 This is a ticker-tape style quilt that I made for a friend's new baby. The fabrics in it have a lot of sentiment, there are pieces that are new and vintage, pieces that she and I shopped for together, pieces from J's grandmothers, pieces from AJ's one receiving blanket that I held onto...  There are pieces from all over the world and many of them have deep meanings to both my friend and I.  I had so much fun making this quilt, I am sure that there are more ticker-tape style quilts in my future... it's a fast and fun way to quilt. Plus, the raw edges are really... well... edgy.

I sent this quilt with a note for my friend telling her that this quilt is not a fussy quilt. I am hoping that it gets stained, used and loved.  (I guess I hope that for all my quilts.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Comfy Shoes

To my chagrin, this year I learned that I've spent a few too many days in flip flops and flats that have no support. My feet have been in constant pain and I've probably purchased about 8 new pairs of shoes this year that I've finally found are both cute and good for feet in pain.  It's not easy to find shoes that are cute and that don't hurt and I've had to accept the fact that my shoes must now be very comfortable from the first moment I put them on, or I will have serious foot AND knee pain ... sigh... I'm feeling a little old.
I figured that I'd write a mini-endorsement for some of my favorite sandals this summer, because I'm sure I'm not the only person to have foot pain and still want to look cute.
I have extremely high arches and need to wear shoes that support my feet well. Some brands that I've learned are great for feet like mine are Sanita, Alegria, and Fit Flops. I've also learned that I can trust  Here are some pics of my new favorites and links to where you can get them...

Oh, and of course these all work with my summer wardrobe of skirts and sundresses... Libby Dibby skirts included.  Here's to some happy feet for you too...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bowls and books

I know you think I've just been playing craft hooky all summer... (wink wink) as I've been traveling and not posting like usual (hubby is quoting my numbers of posts tonight. According to him, I'm way behind for the year)
Anyhow, between my kitchen table makeover, bathroom painting project, nesting for another baby (we await the call!), and the many quilts underway... I've been trying to still do little crafts as part of Camp Mommakiddo ...
Yesterday's random project (between babysitting a friend's kid and carpooling my own) was a few scrap journals. See, my friend Melissa, picked up these amazing polka dotted bowls for me at Costco (can't shop there, my kitchen is too small!)... And I liked the heavy weight and glossy colors of the box. So out came the much-abused paper cutter and I ended up with 5 of these. Now what am I going to do with 5 more journals?

I believe this makes me a Soccer Mom

And yes... In my handmade journal are sketches with new ideas, and there ARE indeed yoyos to sew and work on hiding in the expandable Libby Dibby bag... Because I'm hopeful that way... Even when most of my time on the sidelines is spent trying to keep Z from hurting others during his massive screaming tantrums.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Spiderweb quilt progress

I've got only 2 more rows of six before this quilt (my biggest yet) is pieced. Kind of exciting! I'm making it full sized... Which is not the size of any bed we have, but seemed a fun size to cuddle under or lay on at the park. I've had so much fun making this.
The pattern itself calls for a lot of waste, so I redesigned it a little (with a lot of math and an old phonebook for paper piecing) and was able to use almost every single piece of waste I made. (yay)
The quilt itself is pretty obnoxious, but around here, it fits our world-view and we all love it.
The kids asked if they could pose on it, so I figured that they were good for demonstrating scale.
Almost there! (then all I have to do is pin it and quilt it and bind it. Hmmm. Let's not talk about that yet)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Writing on fabric

In case you've ever wondered the same thing, I did a little experiment this week and thought I'd share the results... I've always wondered which pens can mark on fabric and stay through the wash/dry cycles. Some fabric pens request heat-setting (which is really boring and can be time consuming). These tests were all done with no heat-setting. The Bic Mark-it pen bled even before i put it int the wash, but all the others looked great. I was especially wondering about the Sharpie writing pen, but it might actually look the best of all.

Anyhow, I'm glad I did this. My faith and fetish with Sharpie products still stands.

Know of others that mark well on fabric that gets washed and dried? Leave it in the comments.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mod Podged Table

Last night I got a little bee in my bonnet and set to work in the kitchen instead of at the sewing machine. Our kitchen booth is cute but SO drab. The rest of the house is super colorful (still thinking and working on the bathroom)
... But the kitchen is drab, old and very boring colorwise.
So last night, the tabletop met some Amy Butler scrapbook paper, Mod Podge and some sealer, (though i ran out of sealer and had to order more at 11pm)...
Finished project = happy.
Z came in our room this morning to tell us, "come here! You have to see what happened to the table!"



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