Monday, May 30, 2011

Celebrations, Anniversaries, Remembering...

Isn't it such fun when the week begins with celebrations?  On Monday morning Kate, Kiera, and I celebrated Alex's birthday with a birthday breakfast at Blue Willow.


Kiera, Alex, Kate
Yummy breakfasts


AND Presents!!!


Tuesday celebrations continued when I trekked out to Dunham Elementary to share a special lunch with 7 of my former students who were being rewarded for PERFECT on-time homework turn-ins for the whole school year!!!  I met them at
and got the warmest, most amazing welcome filled with screams and squeals!!  I have to thank Ms. Blee for the invitation.  She invited me because this special "Lunch with Teacher" was my brainchild, and I honored these homework heroes every year that I taught school.  I have to also mention that Gini Blee is a most special friend and colleague...I really miss her!
I stayed for the rest of the school day to visit with my former students and listen to their speeches prior to their Promotion that night.

May is a month of anniversaries...as you know Ron and I celebrated 41 years of wedded bliss,

and I am celebrating my first anniversary of RETIREMENT!!  Golly, a whole year...where has it gone???

So many folks ask me "How did you do all this (my art) when you worked?"  Well, truth be told ~ I didn't!!  I could never have experienced the guilty pleasures of limitless discretionary time for my craft, creating inventory for a store, writing a blog, and more!  I am SO blessed to be living this extraordinary life!

The weekend was spent "moving" me into my new studio.  I absolutely cannot take credit for any of the preparation.  My devoted husband worked for two weekends moving, clearing, cleaning out our garage and storage room to prepare for this.  The following photos are my office/workspace in our home ~ BEFORE the move...






And this is the brand new Studio!! (without the rug....rug arrives today)
first leg of the move

figuring out the closets

first section completed
2nd sections completed

sewing area completed (moving sewing machine in today)

everything visible and handy
a surprise for me from my sweet hubby!



I'm so excited I can hardly wait to get back to work!  Hmmm ~ don't think I ever said that before!!

It's a holiday today, so no recipe...no craft...just peace and thanksgiving to all who've given their lives for our freedom.
 A parting shot of me, age 7, Brownie scout representing all Brownie Scouts from East Meadow at the annual East Meadow Memorial Day Parade, East Meadow, N.Y. - May 31, 1955.
Have a safe and very happy day today, remembering....
See you next Monday, and have an awesome week!  Happy Birthday hugs and kisses to my bestie, Martha....love you sistah!!!
xoxo
Karen

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tags, and Flowers, and Recipes...Oh My!!

It arrived!!  Remember when I posted about this wonderful giveaway that I won over at Lillie Beffers and Maddie Lumpkin?  Well, it came just the other day and I couldn't wait to share it with you.  It's my most favorite image of the Blessed Mother.  Thank you again, Tami, for your gorgeous artistry and generosity!
My impatience to open it, like a kid on Christmas morning, prevented me from taking a picture of how it arrived.  I did save the beautiful wrappings so you could enjoy at least that much.

I'm up to my proverbial elbows in swaps!!!  But, it's all good and I'm feeling very productive.  You'll see the links to these swaps on my sidebar...they're the newest buttons.  Karla and Lynn at http://createbreathe.blogspot.com are having a vintage bling project.  We send in 20 pcs. of clear/silver rhinestone jewelry, along with a necklace chain, and they create a necklace for us!!  So, I'm ready to ship my bling off to them this week and wanted to share the "before" pic with you.  Keep in mind, this is very shabby chic so missing stones are acceptable..probably encouraged!  I had to remove earring backs, pins, and button shanks and then affix a bail to each piece (thank you friend Kiera, for coming to my rescue with bails!)  Here they are!
I'll have the finished necklace back in late June...will share with you then
Next is the "Birdsong" Tag Book Swap by Karla Nathan at Karla's Cottage.  We make 7 tags, send them to Karla, she sends us back a tag book with 7 tags from other bloggers along with a cover she creates for us.  Here are my tags, and I've included an extra for Karla, as a thank-you.
all the Birdsong tags - front

close-up

backside of tags

close-up
I've just finished a Mini Matchbox "Music" swap from the 2011 Matchbox Swap group on flickr, and a Pocket Whimsy swap at The Altered Paper Creations by Tee.  As soon as I receive mine from my partners I will post both in a future blog, as well as what I sent them.

I'd like to add a feature to my weekly blog...a recipe corner.  I'd like to feature a recipe each week from one of my followers, with photos!  If you are interested, please be sure to email me with your recipe and photos.  I'd also be happy to post your blog link if you have one.  I think this could be a lot of fun.  To kick it off, my oldest has offered her recipe for homemade Macaroni and Cheese.  Mandy is an amazing cook and I'm so glad she's initiating this.  She made this dish for us recently, for Mother's Day.  I think you'll recognize the images!
Before

After
Here's the recipe:
Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients:
1 box penne rigate pasta
3/4 lb. sharp cheddar shredded
1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese shredded
1/2 cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese shredded
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:
Heat oven to 350.  Coat a 2 quart broiler-safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling.  Once water boils, add pasta.  Cook 6 minutes, drain.  In a large bowl, toss together cheeses and set aside.  Meanwhile, melt butter in medium size saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until smooth and slightly bubbly.  In a thin stream, whisk in milk.  Stir in onion powder, salt, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.  Remove from heat; whisk in 2 1/2 cups of cheese mixture.  In the pasta pot, stir together the cooked pasta and cheese sauce.  Pour half into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle generous cup of cheese over pasta.  Spoon remaining pasta into dish and top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Increase temperature to broil and cook 3 minutes, until top is slightly browned.  ENJOY!!

Can we ever have enough flowers???  I'm sharing this tutorial with you since I recently made a similar flower for Mandy to wear to a special event.  Unfortunately, I didn't take pix of the process and I can only show you the final product...ta da!!
More like the cabbage rose garden variety....but that girl of mine loves to rock the hair accessories and hats!


So, I did find this lovely tutorial on the "how-to's."  AND, Emily Rose of Simply Vintage Girl shows a neat technique for achieving more defined petals...I think you're gonna love it!  Please be sure to visit her blog at http://simplyvintagegirl.com/blog/  She's got some amazing things going on over there!

I will leave you this week with peace, love, and inspiration and some shout-outs for some special 
"Happy Birthdays" to Alex, Berta, and Rick  and at the end of this week to Barbara and Kristin!!
Have a very happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.  I'll meet you back here next Monday and we'll celebrate our service men and women together!
xoxo
Karen



Fabric Flowers
These elegant fabric flowers are very simple to make . . . and only take a few basic supplies. The finished product is delightfully lovely, and at times can look like a real flower! Every flower will turn out differently and that is part of the beauty!
If you haven’t used those tea lights in a while, now’s the time! I hope you enjoy making these as much as we do . . . below are instructions with pictures on how to make your own.
Fabric Flower Tutorial: Supplies
Supplies:
· Synthetic Silky Fabric
· Scissors
· Candle (preferably a tea light)
Additional supplies:
· Needle and Thread, Glue Dots or Glue Gun
· Buttons and/or Beads
Directions:
Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 1
1. Cut circle patterns out of card stock.
Make the largest one’s diameter about half an inch larger than you want the diameter of the flower, as the petals will end up shrinking a bit. Create a few of these, lessening the diameter bit by bit so that the end result has smaller petals in the center and larger ones around the outside. You can also use a pattern here, which works very nice!
Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 2
2. Trace around the pattern onto the silk fabric (using a pen).
You can also cut around the pattern and skip the drawing part, it just might not be as uniform . . . but with these, uniform isn’t necessary. And if it’s not uniform, it adds character. And character is good.
Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 3
3. Take the scissors and cut out the circle and petals.
Cut just inside the drawn lines to make a circle out of the fabric. Carefully cut only about a third of the way into the circles to create the petals. You can do as many or few petals as you would like, or even add some variety to them. I cut five times, making five medium-sized petals. You can also round the corners of the petals, if you so desire.
Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 4
4. Use the lit candle to melt and crinkle the edges.
Be very careful (please have adult supervision, this is rather dangerous), as it is very easy to get burnt. Hold the cut petals about one to two inches above the flame, making sure to keep the circle rotating so that it does not overheat and catch fire. Continue to gently melt the edges of each petal until you have gone all the way around. Do this with each layer.
Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 5
5. Sew (or glue) the petal layers together.
Using a needle and thread, create a beginning knot and then sew the layers together. You can come up through the top because the center  of the top layer can be covered by a button or  bead. To finish the flower, sew (or glue) the button or bead on top.
If you would like to add extra stability to the flower, you can sew or glue a piece of felt onto the back (make sure it is large enough to give good stability, but small enough so that it won’t be seen from the top).
For a hair accessory, you can sew or glue the back of the flower to the back of a bobby pin, ponytail holder, or snap-clip.
For a broach, you can sew or glue them onto a broach pin or even a safety pin.
And the list could go on of how these flowers can add extra beauty!
What are some of your ideas?
And remember: every flower will turn out differently and that is part of the beauty!
(Thank you, Breezy (my artist sister), for being such a wonderful hair and hand model!)
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Monday, May 16, 2011

So Many Pictures...So Little Time!

Before I'm off and running with this blog post, I must share with you that  I'm currently a participant in a challenge. This is the Door Tag Challenge at All My Art - you can click on the icon on my sidebar to get to the website.  Here's my entry... I call it Bee Bizzy.  I altered both front and back.  The hive cells have a beeswax coating for authenticity!
front


back
While on the subject of beeswax, I've created some encaustic ACEO's for MMU.  I got a little carried away, but this kept me busy assembling the collages while at the Scrappin' to the Oldies Retreat last Saturday. Then all I had to do was the beeswax last week.







I amazed even myself when I began uploading photos for this week's blog...holy cow!  But then, I told myself you would probably much rather look at photos than read my rantings!!   So, here's how the week began ~ with a fabulous girls' road trip to Phoenix...to visit with two of our favorite girls, Nancy and Ashley!
backseat Kiki the prankster

Me as co-pilot (PK in the back)


Captain Schotzie who said "Stop it Mom, I'm driving!!"
We arrive at our destination - the queen mother of all bargain basement stores -
Nordstrom's Last Chance!  Here we meet up with our second family, Mama Nancy and daughter Ashley.
checkout time after 2+ hours of shopping!
can you spell "happy?"  (can it be all those Tory Burch shoes we got "on the cheap"???)
Ash and Momma Nancy
lunch at Ajo Al's
adorable couple Nancy and Mike in their gorgeous kitchen!
the stars of the show...Campbell and Cayden - TOO  CUTE!!!
These twins totally rock it!!



Of course after an amazing day like Monday, the rest of the week kinda pales by comparison.  On Tuesday Melissa and I made our way over to the brand-new Costco.  So big, clean, closer to home,  and pretty awesome! 
Always a treat to be able to buy a delish cheap-o lunch...I think they do that because you wind up spending SO much money on everything else!!

Remember the St. Vincent de Paul trip last week? And I promised you pictures of my buys this week?
Take a looky here!
tiny tin clip-on candle holders 
vintage Holy Cards, vintage books ~ Devotions to Mary and Logarithms
tiny binder clips and a box of real lambs wool!
these called out to me and asked if they could come home to be pincushions ~ how could I say anything but "YES!"
waiting for me were these 2 little wire cages.  I thought they spell "n-e-s-t."  I'll paint them white and build a bird's nest complete with eggs and birds in each
this darling aluminum cup comes from the now-defunct Tucson branch of Shamrock Dairy
hmmmm - I wonder how a cloth transfer with a vintage image will look in this embroidery hoop?
Not too bad for a thrift store fly by!
Well, the week came to a close very quickly with all the hustle and bustle and once again, Mr. Muse was home to rest after his 4th week in San Fran.  Somehow "date night" was even more special this Saturday with a movie thrown in for good measure.  We highly recommend a fun, sweet, light comedy - "Something Borrowed."

Before I leave you, as this week is already stacking up before my eyes...I promised a craft and this one is from Jen over at Tatertots and Jello....you can click her link in my side bar.  Be sure to tell her I sent you!
Just in time for Spring, and so easy to make! (it's actually from her sister Ashley, but you can read all about it on http://tatertotsandjello.blogspot.com)



moss and butterfly wreath from the side
PB-Inspired Butterfly Wreath
Here are the supplies she used:
butterfly wreath supplies

Here’s what Ashley says:
  • I had 2 kinds of moss. Spongy moss and large sheets of moss. Both were preserved but real.
  • I took a grapevine wreath form and started hot gluing the sheets of moss onto the wreath, wrapping each piece around to the back. It took probably 10-12 sheet pieces to cover the wreath.
  • I then took the spongy moss and glued that in the gaps and crevices to give the wreath depth and dimension.
  • I found white butterflies in the floral section of Michaels. They were attached to 12 inch long wire. I thread the wire through the moss and into the back of the grapevine wreath, wrapping the ends around a piece of the grapevine to secure. I left 2 inches of wire between the butterflies and the wreath so they could hover above and create depth.
  • Finally, I attached a large piece of satin ribbon at the top and put it on my door. Voila!
  • The project took a total of 20 minutes and was super simple!

{You can also find these wreath forms at the Dollar Store.}

I love the organic simplicity of this wreath!!!
ashley's wreath on the door  



So, there we go...be sure to let me know how you do with your wreath.

Congrats to all the new grads - school's out for summer before you know it - vacations are right around the corner - and for most everyone, relief from winter weather is in sight!  Have an absolutely, fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing today with me!!
Love you all!
xoxo
Karen