Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween 2011 (or) Tootsie Rolls On Parade

Tonight was my church's version of Halloween, "Trunk or Treat". It was an awesome evening of adorable kids and terrible foods.  My buddy, Renae, and I went as the accessories for her 4 month old daughter's costume.

Ella's daddy got a little jealous that he didn't have a tootsie roll shirt and so Renae crafted a Tootsie Roll "Pop" for him. (Get it?)

I made Ella's costume out of scraps in my craft room. Her twist-tie "hat" is actually half a tank top- split vertically down the chest and back and then resewn. The ear flaps are naturally created by the spaghetti straps. 

What a fun discovery! I may make some more tank top newborn hats. Maybe with less dingy fabric next time. 

Ella was such a good sport about her costume, hardly fussing with the hat at all. She was a little frightened when "aunt Sarah" first showed her the pom pom pigtails. What a doll, right? It has been so much fun being around during her infancy to see every new stage. Humans are such amazing creatures!

 I've got another pom pom project coming up. Next time with tissue paper. I haven't spent this much time with pom poms since my cheer leading days - when I was 11. Oh boy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Antiquing Antics

Mondays are the new Saturdays in my life. So far, since I have yet to settle into my new schedule, my days off have been reserved for recuperating. (and blogging!) This week, I went on a little outing by myself and did a little prepping for the apartment I have yet to find.

When I stopped by the little (nameless) antique shop in Farmersville, the guy turned on the lights and furnace for me. I was his first customer of the day at around 1pm. The space isn't easily heated. His plan is to sell the shop once the snow flies. I wanted to contribute to the local economy while I could. 

Turns out there were several shiny objects there to catch my eye. The tea strainer is large enough to do a whole pot of loose leaf. I'm excited for the new doors this will open in my tea-drinking life. The silver basket may end up on a wall, it's so pretty!

Other gems from the shopping day's "work"(not necessarily antiques- why limit the buying power?):

A) Two of my favorite movies on VHS.
B) Nautical Gap Shoes.
C) Superhero glassware that I simply couldn't pass up.
This post is the blog equivalent to the show-and-tell that concludes every successful day of shopping in my household. Sometimes I like to spread the goods all over the floor and just stare at them all. So sue me, sometimes I'm really into materialism. Especially cute, vintage materials.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Last Call for Rhubarb

Somehow, being amply employed, seems to breed further productivity on the home front. Instead of only napping and vegging out (which -oh yes- I'm still finding time to do), I've become a creature of the kitchen. Fall also has something to do with that. I love fall foods, especially roasts and soups. I love how you can throw anything into a pot, then a few sprinkles of spices and some broth and -poof- you have soup!

But today's topic isn't la sopa, it's rhubarb. 

I scored an armful of fresh rhubarb on Saturday morning and decided to dedicate some of the afternoon to a crisp and some quick and easy jello jam. But first, have you ever noticed how beautiful a bisected rhubarb stalk is? I think it would be gorgeous to fill a window with a "pane" of rhubarb. Patterns in nature are so cool.

The cobbler was a roll of the dice. And not really "cobblery" at all. I used this recipe because it seemed the most simple. The crust dough, however, was way more moist than I expected. I actually ended up rolling the dough to create the topping which by the directions I was supposed to be able to "crumble". If I had it to do over, I would remember to puncture the crust with some cute lil' shapes.

The extra rhubarb became raspberry rhubarb Jell-O jam. So easy, one of my favorite fall treats. Each of the recipes I made yesterday needed a "glue" to hold things together or help them take form. Gelatin, corn starch, broth. 
Life is much like food. The best meals -and moments- are usually a combination of surprising elements mixed together in harmony. In food, it's the science that holds it together. In life? (Oh, it's cheesy but true.) Love.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spring Pillows on a Fall Day (or) Pushing all the Right Buttons

Do you have any idea how easy making your own covered buttons is? And they look so great! I have a great big urge now to buy a gross of covered button supplies and start using up all that awesome vintage fabric I have on hand. Is the market to full on Etsy for one more vintagey button maker?

These buttons made their debut on a recent afternoon pillow project I tackled. The replica handkerchiefs were a gift from my Aunt Sue. I had fun experimenting with freehand quilting on my mother's machine (without a quilting foot, I might add). The future intent for these cuties is to lounge on my teal, vintage couch when I finally find that perfect cozy apartment. For now, they are modeling in the great outdoors.

After taking these pictures, I noticed a similarity to portraits for high school seniors. What do you think? Is one of these pillows the homecoming queen? Class clown?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Next Steps (or) How Life Got Simpler

It happened. I got a job. And, it turns out, the wait was well worth it. I found a job where I can use my skills fully and invest my heart into the cultivation of proactive, loving young people. And to top it off- I still get to reserve my time away from work as my own. No papers to grade, just the occasional evening concert or event. The details? I'm working at a large church as an administrative assistant for the student ministries. It's both administrative and ministerial work. I'm excited for the adventure in front of me and grateful that God gave me the patience to wait for the right opportunity. Dang, it was hard but I'm feeling good now.

During my commute home from the first full day on the job I experienced an unfamiliar sensation. It was a lightness I had only had a couple times before: perhaps the best example is the moment after college graduation when I realized I had no more homework to do (and before I realized that now I had to get a job, and fast). As I drove across I-70 toward my exit, I realized that when I got home I didn't have anything I HAD to do. I didn't need to feel guilty for doing crafts instead of looking for a job. I HAD a job. The rest of life outside of the job was mine to play with, like molding clay or fabric scraps. I get to choose how to piece things together and what shape life will take. I'm not waiting for the next step anymore- I'm in it!

I was reminded of a Raymond Carver poem that once reshaped my ideas of poetry:
No other word will do. For that's what it was.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. "Don't weep for me,"
he said to his friends. "I'm a lucky man.
I've had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don't forget it.
My life- from day one- has always been gravy. Every day, a gift. Long and sweet. I shouldn't need a near death experience to remind me of that. I shouldn't even need a 6 month ditch of unemployment and depression. But wading through those darker parts of life sure helps the bright seem that much brighter. It's gravy. And I'm so grateful.

Optimism is back, baby. Despite the harvest dust.

Coming soon: the result of more time on my hands MORE CRAFTS.
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