Sunday, January 31, 2010

So Many Letters, So Little Time

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This afternoon, I turned on my iTunes music and spent some time photographing an assortment of delightful objects. While foraging around for some background material, I came upon a pile of my calligraphy sheets.

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These were just practice pages I had done some time ago. Every time I see these I think to myself “I need to spend more doing calligraphy”. I love this Copperplate script and would like to do more. But as I’ve said before, there are not enough hours to do everything I’d like to spend time on. And that makes me sad. Of course, it would help if I wasn’t interested in so many things, but that’s just me. Oh, there are so many wonderful calligraphic hands. I want to do them all!

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I do use my calligraphy script throughout the year as I address envelopes for birthdays and special occasions. There’s just something soothing about drawing these curvy letters. And it makes me feel good when I give an envelope to someone with their name on it as it’s just a little more special.

Sometimes I envy people who have one large passion for their art. Me, I just can’t contain myself to one. I do go back and forth though. So while I may focus on one thing and then move on to another, I will continue to use what I learned previously. For today, I just had a good time shooting some photos with a Valentine theme. And can you believe not one cat photo? That’s because Miss Gracie was glued to the space heater all day!  

Friday, January 29, 2010

It’s Almost Valentine’s Day!

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It’s hard to believe that February is almost here; January went by too fast. Well, you know what this means… flea market time on the first Saturday of the month! I really shouldn’t go next week. What I need to do is stay home and sort through all the things I’ve purchased in the last several months (and save my money!). But oh, the fun of it all. I still have a week to decide.

Vintage Valentine Swap

Our Vintage Valentine fabric fat book is due to arrive in each swap participant’s hands by February 10th. I can’t wait to see the finished book! Photos will be posted so you can share in my swap happiness. :-) In the meantime, I hope to make it to Whole Foods Market this weekend to pick up a Valentine’s cupcake. Of course it will be photographed first, then my sister will be more than willing to eat it. That is, if Miss Gracie doesn’t get to it first!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shall We Dance?

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Last summer, when I was perusing the stalls at the flea market, I spotted these two pairs of gently worn Capezio dance shoes at $10 each. As luck would have it, they happened to be my size. Now, can I dance? No. But I’m always on the lookout for costumes because you never know when you’ll need to wear one. Well, at least once a year there is a day for it. I really wanted to buy these shoes at the time I first spotted them. But, I told myself that I shouldn’t spend the money for something I would rarely, if ever, use. Of course, I regretted it later.

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Lo and behold, when I went back earlier this month, there they were! I sat down and tried them on and decided that buying them was the right thing to do since I had lived with the regret these previous months. So, now I own two pairs of dancing shoes. And guess what? The cream pair goes wonderfully with the goofy dance dress I bought at a garage sale last summer! So now I have a costume for my next event which just happens to be in February. I'm thinking of going as the Jolly Green Giant's wife; what do you think? I just need to make a matching hat!

One project that's been dancing around in the back of my head for some time has been to decorate a pair of shoes. I think that's how I justified buying them - they could always be an art project! What I really want is a pair of ballet slippers to decorate, so I'm keeping my eyes out for those at a garage sale or flea market. I've never taken a ballet lesson, but I've loved ballerinas since I was a very small child. Oh, how I would love to decorate those slippers! For now, I'll just be happy with my red and cream dance shoes and picture myself on the ballroom floor as I Dance With the Stars.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Equal Time for Nippy

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I do love Nipper too, really. It’s just that she sleeps an awful lot so it’s harder to catch her in as many cute poses as Miss Gracie. On this particular day, she was sitting on my table in my bedroom. She looks like she must have been staring at Miss Gracie. She seems to be saying “ what are you doing here?”

Nipper, or Nip as we call her, loves to chase Cheerios across the tile in the kitchen. Eventually she eats them too. Her favorite fruit is a strawberry and she starts asking for them in February. Somehow she knows when Spring is coming and that they’ll soon be here.

Nippy usually sleeps all day on the back of the couch. About 5pm or so each day, she arises for a snack of her crunchies. By 9pm she is back in bed, curled up in her new pink donut bed. Really, how does she sleep so much?

She is a bit chubby, weighing in at close to 15 pounds. No surprise there since her favorite activities are eating and sleeping! But she is a sweetie, too. She loves us and makes little tiny meows to let us know. What is so funny is that little Gracie can be a screamer, always talking and loudly, too. But the big girl Nippy didn’t learn to meow for a long, long time and when she does, they are tiny, soft meows. One day I had brought Nip to the vet and someone asked me if I had a litter of kittens with me because her mews were so small!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, Nippy is named for Nipper the RCA Victor dog. We always liked that dog but since we weren’t getting one, the next best thing was naming our kitty after him! Our vet was concerned that she was a biter because of her name. No, she doesn’t bite. She’s just a big scaredy cat deep inside.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Miss Gracie

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Gosh darn, my Miss Gracie is just the sweetest girl around (sorry Nippy). Oh, how she hates it when I leave the house. I must avoid her gaze or the guilt sets in. She talks to me with her face. Mom, you aren’t leaving, are you? And how happy she is when I return. When she hears the sound of the garage door opening, she runs down the stairs to greet me.

Each morning, sometime between 3 and 5 am, she jumps up on my pillow and waits for me to lift the covers so she can climb inside the bed. She curls up next to me and goes to sleep. When Tina (my sister) wakes up, she runs down the hall to greet her and then meows until Tina walks with her to my bathroom where her food dish is located. She only wants someone to watch her eat momentarily. As if she couldn’t eat by herself!

While I am getting ready for work, Gracie happily rolls around in front of my space heater on her back. Being in front of a warm heater makes her very happy. She gets in goofy positions and then meows for me to notice her. After I leave, she sleeps on the Comcast TV box because it is always warm.

Gracie also loves to talk, and does she ever. In fact, the day we brought her home four years ago this month, Tina wanted to take her back to the SPCA because she was so loud. Of course, I would never return that cute little grey and white fur ball that was now my little kitten.

When I’m working on the computer, she will come over to me, stand on her two back legs and tap me on the back to tell me she wants something. Usually, it is to follow her either to watch her eat or to hang out in my (our) bedroom. She is so smart, I like to tell her she should have been born as a person. It’s just that when she was being created, a mistake was made and she wound up as a cat! If there was such a thing as cat college, she would graduate at the top of her class.

Oh, Nippy is sweet too, but Miss Gracie just has the personality.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flea Market Fleurs

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These lovely (faux) flowers came from the same vendor from which I purchased the tiny ribbon roses.

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The flowers were very inexpensive and he had a whole bucket-full.

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I bought several as you never know when they might come in handy. The large red rose was purchased specially for the Vintage Valentine fabric fat book pages.

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Following up on yesterday’s post… Tammy, I do have a wonderful flea market but I can’t visit it any time. It’s only the first Saturday of the month. Good thing, or I’d spend too much! Debbie, thank you so much for the compliments. Christine, I did use some of the little roses on my pages for the Vintage Valentine fabric fat book swap. We get our books sent back to us by February 5th, so I’ll post more pictures then. Gwendolyn and Carolyn, thank you for your sweet words. June, I hope he still has that fabric too but now he’s gone until summer!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ribbons and Roses

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More flea market finds… Velvet ribbon in two shades of deep pink – yum! Not vintage, but there is a very large booth that sells every kind and color of ribbon you can imagine. I’m using these to make more bookmarks.

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Love these tiny roses… 10 cents a piece in various colors. I chose all pink and red since I was feeling Valentine’s Day at the time. This vendor also has a lot of ribbon and fabric. He had the most gorgeous red fabric covered with three dimensional flowers that were made from the fabric itself. Hard to describe but everyone who stopped by was admiring it. At only $5 a yard, it was a bargain and I so regretted not buying some! And unfortunately, he told me he was going to be gone for about six months or more so I won’t see him again until summer. That’s okay; summer is the best time to visit the flea market.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just Can’t Resist a Pink Heart

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Just a sweet, pink sparkling heart that I picked up at the flea market this month. Hanging from the lamp, it’s just a little bit of happiness in my room. Yes, I know it’s not Valentine’s Day just yet, but really, can’t everyday be Valentine’s Day when you have a little heart?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Losing a Friend

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Today I have been a bit teary eyed as I received some sad news. I learned that my friend Wilbur had recently passed away. Wilbur and I met at our Toastmasters club in 2000. He had been a fixture at the club for quite some time. Wilbur created our club’s first website, took photos at the meetings and speech contests, maintained the weekly club schedule, provided guidance and advice to new club members and was just an all around nice guy who loved a good joke. He always encouraged me and went to every club contest. When I was the club representative at many contests, he was my biggest supporter. His name for me was Princess and it made me feel so special.

Wilbur had been retired for quite some time. He loved airplanes and had been a pilot in the air force in the 1950’s and afterwards, was a pilot with Pan Am. I quit our club in mid-2004 when I went back to work and had less time available. After that, he continued to email me every week with jokes, interesting articles, animal photos and more. In the last few months, I had been so busy with my own life that I did not notice I was not hearing from him as usual. My emails to him began to bounce back with “mailbox full” messages. I called his two phone numbers but they were disconnected. This was not like him at all, and I began to fear the worst. After contacting a mutual acquaintance from our club, I learned the bad news.

About a year ago, Wilbur and I met for dinner at his favorite restaurant La Michoacana. He regaled me with stories of his youth and early adult life. I enjoyed knowing him and feel so sad that he passed away very suddenly. I wish I could have told him how much i appreciated having him in my life. It just gets so much harder when the people you love get older and then they are gone.

Yesterday, I finally got around to working on my new year’s resolutions. As it happens, I had decided that this year I need to spend more time with friends and family. And now I will be sure to let them know how much they mean to me, as well.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January Flea Market Finds

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Since I missed the November and December flea markets, I made it a point to start January off with a visit on New Year’s weekend. While I expected it to be different in the winter, I was surprised to see fewer vendors. Regardless, there were still so many and it took me almost four hours to make it through all of them.

This sweet little tea dyed dress is about two feet tall. I found it at a booth with used clothing. Honestly, I didn’t know what it was when I  saw it. A ladies blouse? A child’s dress? I was confused because it was with all the ladies clothing. Once I got it home, I could see it is meant for a small child. Now, my original intent was to cut this up to use the fabric and lace for the vintage Valentine fabric book swap in which I’m participating. However, I could just not bear to cut it up once I got it home.

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The fabric would make a wonderful background for some artwork and the lace would provide such a pretty touch. But no, for now it is just one more item on display in my creative space.

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I also happened to find these heart buttons. As it was, there were exactly nine buttons and I had to make nine pages for the fabric book swap. Unfortunately, they did not work out with my final design so I’ll have to find another use for them someday.

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In another booth, I found this piece of sparkly material. It was cut from the bottom of a dress. I’m fairly certain it might have been from an Indian dress judging by the design.

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Oh, my. How could I not resist purchasing it with all those sparkles? It has so many possibilities. What a fabulous apron it would make!

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While purchasing some ribbon, the dealer was measuring it off a large card and suddenly I spotted this other ribbon on the same piece. I bought all that was on there as it wasn’t very much, maybe a yard and a half. But what lovely ribbon – I don’t quite want to use it up just yet.

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What can this be? I don’t really know but it has four tiny legs beneath it to hold it up and this tiny bird perched aside, as if ready to drink. Such a wonderful shade of gold. Some trinkets will be perfect to place in it, unless you can tell me its original use. Any ideas?

A few more treasures were purchased… check back to see some more soon!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mixed Berry Chocolate Cake, Anyone?

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On my trip to the spectacular Whole Foods Market in Cupertino earlier this month, I could not resist bringing home dessert. This is the small Mixed Berry Chocolate cake. Can you say “yum”?

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It was really delicious. Fresh strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries atop the (pink!) whipped cream frosting.

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Ohhhh, this was so good! Not toooooo sweet, but refreshing with the fruit and whipped cream frosting. And, oh so pretty, too!

This was the treat I brought home after perusing the flea market earlier that morning. I’ll be sharing some of my flea market finds this weekend. Plenty of treats there, too!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vintage Valentine Fabric Fat Book Swap Peek

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I’m excited to be participating in the Vintage Valentine Fabric Fat Book Swap. Sarah, of Gypsy Mermaid, is the swap hostess who put this together with a little help from our Miss Jodie of everything vintage.

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There are nine of us participating which means we each make nine of the same pages, front and back.

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I’ve decided to go with the traditional color red although I can definitely see many other color schemes that would be wonderful, as well. The red will be complemented by some neutral colors making it appear in more vintage style.

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And of course, the traditional rose will be included on my pages.

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Perhaps a little golden heart would be sweet, too.

I have to send my pages in this week. Once Sarah receives them from everyone, she will add her page and covers to them, binding it all together. Then, she will mail each of us a completed book to ooh and ah over as we devour each artful page.

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays although I really haven’t celebrated it much in recent years. But then, February is a favorite month too. In a period of about a week, there is Valentine’s Day, President’s Day (a day off work!) and my birthday. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking my birthday off work and having some “me” time. Even though I’ll be one year older, I think I’m looking forward to February!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Beads, Beads and More Beads

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Last fall, I attended a jewelry workshop one night after work. The class was about making resin pendants but I spied all these fabulous beads for other classes on the counter behind us.

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The colors were magnificent so I took out my you-know-what (trusty iPhone) from my purse and grabbed a few shots.

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The beads were color coordinated showing gradations of the rainbow.

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These fabulous little beads sort of remind me of Christmas balls, don’t you think?

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I would have loved to have dipped into these bins of beads. There were so many that just made my mouth water, they looked so full of goodness.

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While I haven’t really gotten into jewelry making (hey, it’s tough enough having a zillion other hobbies!), I have been using different beads from my flea market finds for the velvet ribbon bookmarkers that I’ve made recently.

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New or old, beads make a grand adornment for so many projects. Not only can you make jewelry, but you can sew them onto fabrics or glue them onto paper projects. A little glitter, a few beads…I think it’s just what every girl needs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Little Bit More Christmas – The Finale

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So many Santa’s! Today we’ll look at more of the collection – just a sampling from among the hundreds of ornaments and displays. This Santa is from another large stuffed display – notice how intricate all the detail are on it.

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Just a whimsical Santa on an artsy reindeer flying in the air!

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A sweet Santa with bear under the tree.

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Love the bright, shiny sheen on this ornament.

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The Santa on the right is painted onto a surface.

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Love this fella! Isn’t he just cool?

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Swingin’ on the moon…

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An almost naked Santa – too funny! I think it’s “weight-lifter Santa”.

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What rosy cheeks and blue, blue eyes.

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Santa Bell!

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A wonderfully curly beard of fiber adorns this Santa.

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Very elegant, this painted egg has glittering gold embellishment.

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Santa angel swings in the kitchen, held afloat by his wings.

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Tell him your wish for Christmas, and it will be granted.

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Our lovely hosts, Bruce and Carole who know how to put on a party. Food, friends and fun, it was a splendid event and a wonderful way to begin the new year.

I hope you enjoyed viewing some of their Santa collection. It really must be seen in person – it truly is a sight to behold!

If you would like a peek at the party and some of the decor, you can check out this video taken by their good friend, Rick!