Archive for June, 2007

Asian-inspired miniature cards

The lighting was better today for me to take pictures of the Asian-inspired miniature card set (with envelopes) I created yesterday. This is the first set of several (or perhaps many) that I plan on making, bundling together, and giving as gifts, along with personalized gift tags. I’ve been making my own wrapping paper and cards for years, but I never thought of bundling them together as gifts — or making my own envelopes — until seeing what some other talented crafters are doing inspired me.

Each card/envelope is approximately 2″ x 2.5″ and hand stamped and glued by yours truly. They come in four color combinations: turquoise with black, pink with turquoise, sage with red, and burgundy with white.

These were so much fun to make. I love creating minuscule crafts, and I especially enjoy giving a loved one a bunch of tiny, handmade gifts. It’s even more fun when they can – and do! – actually use them.


June 29, 2007 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

And so the craft corner grows

Now that we’re comfortably settled (and organized, thank god!) in our new apartment, I realize I have a lot more space in my craft corner than I originally thought, so I’m starting to rebuild my craft stash a little at a time. Today, shopping list in hand, I wandered the aisles of Michaels, not expecting to see — GASP! — bright red clearance signs all over the store! Oh, today was definitely my day.

There was an entire wall of clearance ribbon, and the only ribbon I have these days is the curly-cue stuff used for gift wrapping, so I stocked up. They had pink polka-dot and red polka-dot ribbon!

I also bought several packs of beautiful, thick paper that I’m going to use to create giftcards, and I carefully selected some unique and versatile rubber stamps. I have about a thousand projects in mind for the stamps.

I actually made four tiny (2″ x 2.5″) cards and envelopes with my new set of Asian stamps, but I’m waiting until tomorrow to post photographs of those. I tried to take some pictures of them tonight, but the lighting wasn’t right and the images simply don’t do the cards justice. I don’t know what it is about creating really tiny things that’s so cathartic to me.

I also found a fabric-lined basket (that I’ve hung from the hooks above my craft table — a GREAT space-saver), which Nola managed to shove herself into like a loaf of bread when I mistakenly left it on the bed for a few minutes.

I can’t say I blame her; it looked quite comfortable. But I’ve rescued it, lint-brushed the cat hair, and hung it back on its hook, where it sits waiting to be filled with more (preferably furless) goodies.

June 29, 2007 at 2:47 am Leave a comment

Macaroni with Gorgonzola

I’d like to share a recipe that I made for the second time tonight. My sister came over for dinner, and because she does not consider herself to be an adventurous diner, I like to cook meals for her that are slightly different than what she would normally choose for herself.

Tonight, I made macaroni with Gorgonzola, a recipe that I found in Cooking Light magazine a year or so ago. It’s a wonderful combination of bell peppers, Granny Smith apples, pecans and arugula, served warm and topped with a sprinkling of Gorgonzola cheese.

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You’ll notice the ingredients (below) call for two red bell peppers, but I made it with one orange and one yellow pepper instead, since the selection of red at the local market left much to be desired.

Of course, Quinn helped me cook, because who doesn’t need a fur-shedding, opposable-thumb-lacking creature helping her in the kitchen?

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Here’s the recipe. If you ever decide to make it yourself, please let me know how it turns out!

Macaroni with Gorgonzola (originally from Cooking Light magazine)

16 ounces whole wheat pasta
2 cups diced red bell pepper (about 2 medium)
2 cups diced Granny Smith apple (about 2 medium)
6 tablespoons chopped* pecans, toasted (*I prefer them crushed)
2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
4 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Add bell pepper, apple and toasted pecans. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar and salt. Stir until blended. Pour over macaroni mixture, tossing to coat. Stir in arugula, and sprinkle with cheese.

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June 28, 2007 at 2:40 am Leave a comment

Paper boxes and kitties’ day out

It’s been a while since I did any paper crafts, so I dragged out my old cardstock and rubber stamps to make these delicate, tiny paper boxes. I planned on making some minuscule cards with matching envelopes, and some personalized gift tags, but couldn’t resist trying my hand at this adorable design first.

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And on a completely random note, we let the cats explore the courtyard yesterday for the first time ever. Nola took to it immediately…
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but Quinn — always the scaredy cat — was a bit more tentative…

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and eventually went back inside.

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June 25, 2007 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

Baby steps

I’ve wanted to refinish these two chairs ever since we moved into our new apartment. My landlord inherited these beauties from an old tenant, and they’ve slowly deteriorated over the years. They’re a complete mess, but they’ve got a good soul and great bones, and I’m really hoping I can do something beautiful with them.

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I really, really, really want to paint them pink, but the chairs will be in a “communal” courtyard that my landlord and neighbor use, and I’m sure they would not appreciate pink.

I’ve never refinished furniture like this, so I bought a couple of cans of spray paint today to practice on something smaller that wouldn’t devastate me if I were to completely screw it up. I dug out an old cardboard jewelry box that I bought years ago but had been hiding in a drawer because I no longer like the design.

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A couple of coats of robin’s egg blue later (my neighbor asked if my favorite holiday is Easter), and I’m now using it for sewing supplies, which I spent the afternoon reorganizing. I love how it looks next to my other blue craft storage boxes.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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I’m proud to announce that I officially have the hang of spray painting. Rusty chairs, I’m comin’ after you next. You have been warned.

June 23, 2007 at 1:24 am 1 comment

The infamous unfinished quilt

About five years ago, I started sewing a quilt. When my sister Kristen saw it, she asked me if I would create an identical one for her when I had completed the one I was working on. Because I had no idea what I was going to do with it and was really just making it for fun, I told her that instead of waiting for me to make a second one, she could have this one.

Here it is:

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As I mentioned, that was five years ago. I still have the quilt. Well….the front of the quilt. And the batting. And the backing. And even part of the binding. But none of it is together. And even though the sarcastic reminders (“So, how’s my quilt coming?”) have decreased over the years, they still pop up occasionally.

This is one of my many, many, many unfinished quilting projects, but this one is different because it has an owner other than me. I leave so many quilts unfinished because once I’m done piecing the front together, the rest of it is more work and less fun.

I will finish this quilt. It may take me another five years, but I will finish it. To prove I can do it, here is a photograph of one of the first quilts I ever made. Please ignore the cat hair, as it’s right in front of the window and therefore one of Quinn’s favorite resting places.

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June 22, 2007 at 5:09 pm 1 comment

A day of fabulous vintage finds

I had an extremely successful shopping day today. First, I went to an antique shop in the Seminole Heights area where I often have luck. Their prices are reasonable and they have tons of great pieces. There, I found a large jade serving bowl (on an amazing sale because of a few invisible scratches) and a slightly smaller ivory glass bowl which go very well with a light blue glass fruit bowl I’ve had for years. For now, all three bowls are gathered together in the middle of my kitchen table because I love how the muted colors look together, but they’ll probably end up on display in my hutch eventually.

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I’ve been on the hunt for eclectic kitchen chairs for about a year, and in the meantime I’ve been living with only two kitchen chairs. That means dragging in various other stools and such from around the house when it’s more than just me and Alex at the dinner table. I found my 1920s table in another great Seminole Heights antique store about six months ago. Today, I visited one of my favorite Tampa stores — Vivant House Inc., which doesn’t have a website, otherwise I’d link to it here — and the owner Anthony gave me an amazing deal on two small chairs and a sweet vintage bench that he repainted and refinished himself. Before Anthony got his talented hands on it, it had rusty gold legs and a blue vinyl cushion, most likely from a doctor’s office.

Before I saw that bench, I had never considered using a bench instead of chairs, but I loved it so much that I had to find a use for it. I love the idea of throwing three pillows with different fabrics back there. The pillows that are on there now are just temporary; I’m going to sew new ones with some Alexander Henry fabric that I recently purchased. 

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And here it is, tucked away behind my antique table:

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There is nothing more satisfying than a successful afternoon hunting down vintage treasures. I think my next two projects are making pillows for the bench and making a tablecloth for our outside patio table.

June 22, 2007 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

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