Sunday, May 30, 2010

Handmade Gifts: The Empty Nest

Hello friends...I am very happy to say that this Sunday, I have been featured in The Handmade Gift Guide Blog. It is truly appreciated and I thank them. It is a very nice feature and if your time allows I would love for you to come say hello!

Handmade Gifts: The Empty Nest

Wow...what a weekend! I am also being featured on another fabulous blog ..Kathy's Cottage. Please pop in and say "hello" if you get a moment. Many thanks to Kathy...if you don't know this talented and sweet lady, you should.
Ok...I more shining my own apple ;-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sharing My Creations and Gods

Hello friends...first I would like to take just a moment to say "thank you" for all of your kind and understanding comments about my planned breaks from the internet world. From the comments I received, it looks like I am not the only one feeling overwhelmed by it all. 
I have already spent hours more in my studio than before, so I'm happy to say that my break has been very productive so far. I thought I would give you a peak at some things I have been playing with this past week.
It seems I have completely conquered my Ziphobia . I have been using up some of my many beautiful designer remnant fabric pieces and quilting cottons. Some of these designer fabrics I could never afford by the yard...very pricey. I'm lucky because although Warrenton is a teeny tiny town, it is home to a fabulous quilt shop and a high end fabric shop.
I have been putting together some sweet cosmetic and lingerie bags. I really love how they are turning out. I am trying to embellish them to make them a little out of the ordinary and pretty to use.
A few shabby roses with vintage eyelet from my friend Heather over at Bebe and Alice.
I found these dainty crocheted cotton doilies at a new local thrift shop. I bought 3 beautiful doilies and a very cool soft red linen tea towel (can anyone say 'couture apron?) for only $1.00!!
I have been holding on to this elegant gold crinkle silk for ages. It was the perfect choice for a feminine ruffle.

So happy I bought a large remnant piece of this gold...I will be using it to dress things soft and pretty.
Now here is a creation I had nothing to do with. While in New York last weekend, my niece Amber and I were driving on a country road and I spotted this scene. Poor Amber...she had no idea how her Aunt Janet is likely to come to a screeching halt in the middle of the road to capture a something like this. This little filly was obviously a newborn. Her super long legs and lovely knobby knees were so darn cute. She was very busy nursing from her proud Mom. I had to capture this so I could share with all of you....see, I'm still thinking about you guys ;-).
Until next kind and stay creative.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Making Hard Decisions!

Hello friends...before I get to the meat and potatoes of this post, I want to show you something I worked on a couple of weeks ago. I had a request from an old high school friend (no she is not old..just the friendship) who I have reconnected with via Facebook. She lives in Texas and was flying to New York City to spend time with her older sister for her birthday. She wanted to give her sister a special of my storied aprons. I gathered some personal info on the birthday girl and went to work.  
Here she is

Her story......
Once upon a time in a kingdom far far away, two little girls were born. Birth made them sisters, but life made them friends. Donna and her big sister Lois had been close all their lives. They grew up together in the tiny hamlet of Hyde Park in the kingdom of New York. Lois' birthday was fast approaching and Donna wanted to give her something special. Something no one else would think to give her. Donna had a friend, Janet, who made all of the Queens official ceremonial aprons. Hey..a queen has to look good when she knights all her palace chefs. Donna went to Janet and asked her to create a unique apron just for Lois. She told Janet all about her sisters favorite colors and loves. Janet went to work on trying to include all this information in her design.
For the fabric of the apron Janet choose a beautiful green French toile because Lois loved green and all things French (she has been to Paris you know). The color green also represented the joy of spring and new beginnings. Because Lois had a love for thrift and antique shops, Janet used many of these elements. The full ruffle at the hem was taken from a vintage child's sundress and the yellow stood for cheerfulness Lois brought to all around her. The front pocket was fashioned from an antique Irish linen napkin someone had cast away and was trimmed with one of Janet's vintage hankies. Notice the delicate green crocheted lace edge...lovely! More salvaged crocheted lace from a vintage blouse was added to the apron bib. So Lois would feel oh so chic and feminine, Janet created a fabric brooch from eyelet lace and the hem of a vintage pillowcase. Of course no apron is complete without a gorgeous full and sexy bow. Janet fashioned hers from a soft vintage pillowcase and it was dotted with pretty yellow roses. 
The use of all the antique and vintage materials was to show Lois that as the years pass by, their sisterly love for each other will only increase in beauty and value. Janet wishes Lois a Very Happy Birthday and hopes she wears her new apron with pride and love. xox 
Donna and Lois spent a lovely weekend in NYC with Oprah! Donna e-mailed me to say Lois loved her apron...that made me smile  :-)
************************************* down to business. I showed you my apron for another reason also. I have been trying my best to juggle all this internet stuff. Blogging..Twitter..Facebook and Convos on Etsy and I have come to the sad realization that I can't do it anymore without the creative side of my brain suffering.  It is all becoming too much like a job...something I HAVE to do instead of WANT to do. I know for many bloggers out there the blog is their job...they make money from blogging. That's not me. I love the wonderful friendships I have made with people all around the world. I could care less how many followers I have... am not in it for the numbers. In fact I am considering taking the 'Followers' button off my page. I'm not saying I don't want followers....I'm saying I can do without the pressure of the exact number. I adore my are why I am here. You all inspire me and make me smile...that I can never get enough of.
What I have come to know is that this computer is dominating my time...time that I need to be spending in my studio. I have so much going on in my home right makeovers...home improvements..that kind of stuff. I have some new ideas for my Etsy shop and also thoughts on a second much in my head! I need to concentrate on what I love best..... creating and not typing.
So I have decided that for a while anyway, I will only be posting once maybe twice a week. So sorry to say Pieday will be taking a break also (we are starting to consume way too much pie!) I will still throw in some great recipes now and then..a girls gotta eat! Twitter will be twittled down and Facebook will also be a check in before I go to bed thing. 
I have so many fabulous blogs that I love to read and I always like to leave a comment.  All that reading and commenting takes hours sometimes! I have to get back to my original reason for all of craft!
So with a heavy heart I ask for your understanding. Please don't interpret this as some big headed 'artist' needing her space...that is not me at all. I'm just a gal who has realized she needs to get back into her studio on a full time basis.
I still look forward to checking with all of you so keep writing those wonderful posts.
Until next kind and stay creative.....You guys rock!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Have a Happy Beatles Sunday!

Beatles Sunday......Yeah, I made that up...there is no such thing. I just wanted an excuse to post this awesome illustration of my favorite rock band. I love everything about this photo. 
Have a wonderful day friends  :-)
Until next kind and stay creative.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friday is Pieday !

Hello's time for Pie!! Thanks so much for coming back every week, I love reading all your lovely comments. 
This week I am going to treat you to a wonderful summertime pie that has been a favorite of mine for many years.  You young bloggers may not be aware that before their was a Paula Dean, their was a wonderful southern chef by the name of Nathalie Dupree. I used to love watching her on my local PBS channel. She always created the most delicious food and always with a delightful southern flair. This is a simple Tomato Pie that I know you will love. Let's get cooking! Pretend I am giving all my instructions in a deep southern drawl ;-)
For this pie you will need:
1. 2 large meaty tomatoes 
2. 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3. 1/2 cup grated good parmesan cheese (please not the Kraft stuff)
4. 1 cup Hellman's Mayonaise (because it's the best!)
5. 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
6. fresh black pepper
7. 1 frozen or fresh pie crust (see side bar for recipe)
Slice your tomatoes rather thickly and lay on a sheet of paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and blot excess juice. In a large bowl mix the two cheeses and black pepper to taste.
Add mayonaise and mix until the cheeses are all blended well.
Pick off about 8-10 basil leaves (plant your Basil seeds now so you will have plenty for the summer). Rinse and place leaves on a paper towel to dry.
Place a layer of tomato on the bottom of the pie shell and lay a few basil leaves over them..repeat with a second layer. Looks like the colors of the Italian flag!
Carefully spoon the cheese mixture over your tomato layers, being sure to cover all the way to the sides.
Sprinkle more chopped basil leaves on the top of your pie along with some grated parmesan. Now pop it into a 350 degree oven until crust is golden and cheese is golden and bubbly.
This is how you will be rewarded after about 25 minutes. 
You can serve this pie warm or cold. Both ways are wonderful. Warm Tomato Pie will be juicier and the cold pie will be firmer. The rich taste will be the same. 
This pie is perfect for your summer crop of fresh tomatoes and basil. Sliced thinly, it will make a lovely first course for a dinner party or served with a tossed or fruit salad it is the perfect warm weather entrée. I have also made these in mini cupcake pans for appetizers...perfect for a patio party or even a cold picnic lunch. I hope you will give this easy and flavorful pie a try this summer.
Until next kind and stay creative.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wandering Around Hyde Park

I am going to take you on a little visit to my old teenage stomping grounds. Hyde Park and St. James' Church. 
No, silly....not that Hyde Park!
Wrong again! Although very lovely, this is the wrong Hyde Park and St. James' Church.
Here we go...this is the St. James Church I remember so well. This pretty little Episcopalian church is located in the tiny hamlet of Hyde Park, New York. Hyde Park was named in honor of Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, the Governor of the Colony of New York. The church building was consecrated on October 11,1811. See....don't you feel smarter now? Next time you are at a party and someone says " about that St. James Church?" you can jump right in that conversation!
I wanted to take you inside, however the door was posted with this very sad commentary of modern times. Such a shame.
Since I can't take you inside, let's have a walk around their fabulous cemetery.

I was fascinated by the grave stones that were barely poking up from the ground. Like they were rising from the dead. You could tell which families were the wealthy by the size of the markers. I guess even in death, some still feel the need to act a little pompous.
Rev. Samuel Roosevelt Johnson build a children's school on his adjoining property in 1832 and upon his death, bequeathed it to the church. Oh yeah....he gets a big head stone.

Ruth Bayliss, wife of Maturin Livingston is buried in what looks to me like a big bathtub. She must have been a big believer in the motto 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness'. I like the marker to the left with the big stone ball and cross. At the top of the cross are the words Cruce Salus..meaning Salvation by or from the cross. A Catherine Sherwood is buried there.
I really loved the simple, quiet feel of this old cemetery and being there all alone added to the solitude.It was early spring and the contrast of the green grass and pines with the mottled, dull stone was so great.
I know I have taken you here before, but I cannot leave Hyde Park without driving by the beautiful Vanderbilt Mansion. It is actually right across the street from the church. Come on..let's take another look around.
Look close....see the little red fire hydrant to the left of the stairs. That cracks me up..but I guess they have to worry about fires too. 
Just look at the view these people had! The lovely Hudson River and Catskill mountains.
The first birthday gift my husband ever gave me when we started dating was given here at this site on the Vanderbilt property. Good memories.
Vanderbilt Mansion also has some of the most wonderful pine trees on their grounds. Look how beautiful the huge branches look resting on the grass..I want one in my front yard!!!
I need to do some investigation to find out why these grow like this. I know they are very old. I hope I am this awesome when I get old :-)
This twisted, gnarly tree is one of many along the driveway. I wonder how many creatures have called it home?
Well that's it for now. I hope you have enjoyed our quick little jaunt around Hyde Park. I really am very lucky to call it home and it holds many wonderful memories. How about me where you grew up!
Until next kind and stay creative.

Monday, May 10, 2010

DIY Pin Holder with Hope Studios for Tutorial Tuesday

Hello's Tuesday and that means I'm going to teach you something. If you already know this....keep it to yourself and don't spoil it for the others  ;-)
Today I am going to show you how to create your very own do-it-yourself magnetic pin holder. In the photo above is a photo of the 45 Tesla Hybrid Magnet..the world's strongest. We are going to make one for our selves. maybe it won't be as big...or as strong, but it is going to be so much more beautiful to look at! A big shout out and thanks to Martha Stewart for this idea.
For our project you will need a tube of Liquid Nails, a package of the thinnest, super strong magnets you can find. I got mine at Joann's. Visit your local thrift shop and look for a very shallow bowl or a saucer. You can make it any size you like. I am using a orphaned saucer from a broken set. 
After washing and thoroughly drying your saucer, place a small dab of the glue on your magnet. Hint: be sure you are applying the glue to the right side...the idea is attract the pins, not push them away.
Carefully place the magnet in the center of the bottom and let dry one hour at least.
Once dry, flip your saucer over and ....Voila! 
Isn't she beautiful? Definitely prettier than any pin holder you can buy. The plate cost me $.75, the magnet was $.35 and I already had the Liquid Nails. So for $1.10 I now have a fabulous magnetic pin holder for my sewing table...I Love It!!
No head on over to check out all the great tutorials at Hope Studios and A Soft Place To Land
Until next kind and stay creative