Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Project: Jewelry Stand

This weekend I found an old coffee mug holder at a garage sale for fifty cents. It most certainly wasn't the prettiest thing ever. The wood was scratched and the paint (which wasn't lovely to begin with...) was chipping off.

But after some sanding, some staining, and some repainting-- it was as good as new. (Although in hindsight, I wish I would've chosen a darker stain for the base, or painted it black as well).

Now, considering I live in a tiny apartment with the smallest amount of countertop space ever, I was in no way looking to clutter up my kitchen with a coffee mug holder. However, my jewelry definitely needed some organization-- and this was the perfect solution!


Simple, inexpensive and practical. What do you think?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quiche Pie

This evening I made quiche pie for my husband. Now, I know most people refer to quiche as a breakfast thing, but have you ever tried a dinner version? They are delicious. My mom used to make this for us all of the time, and I love it! And this recipe is so simple. Just mix together a handful of ingredients, toss in the oven-- and voila! A hot meal ready for the table.

(Sorry for the lousy pictures-- they really don't do the quiche any justice!) 

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. grated cheese
1/3 c. chopped green onion

Brown the ground beef and drain. Mix together other ingredients and add browned beef. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour in pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until firm.

That's it! Simple but comforting. I love food that reminds me of home.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Seattle recap

As I said in a previous post, this past weekend the hubby and I -- along with our friend Justin -- went to visit my twin, Mark. He lives in Lynnwood, WA which is about twenty minutes north of Seattle and a good five hour drive from where we live.

The weekend consisted of perusing Pike Place Market, eating at delicious restaurants, catching up with a few old friends, laughing hysterically while playing The Game of Things, and finding treasures at garage sales and flea markets.

 So much lavender! Love it!
There were so many gorgeous flower stands at the market and the lavender smelled wonderful! There were also lots of handcrafted items including jewelry, paintings, soaps, coasters, etc. So many amazing things. I ended up buying a handmade sterling silver ring with a tiny delicate rose for five dollars. (Awkward moment: the seller thought my brother was my husband!) 

 A giant gummy bear made of gummy bears!

 The famous gum wall.
We stopped by the "gum wall"-- which is exactly what it sounds like. Disturbing yet fascinating at the same time-- people can be surprisingly creative with their gum! We spotted the Canadian flag, lots of names, and even a portrait of a woman made entirely out of pieces of gum. Of course we had to add to the wall-- but made sure to pick empty spaces where we didn't have to risk touching other gum!

I love this whimsical umbrella... although luckily, it wasn't that windy when we were there. 

 This guy was real! 
There were a lot of street performers around Pike Place, including the silver man shown here, a jazz quartet, a cross-dresser, and a man who played the guitar while hula hooping and balancing a second guitar on his chin. (Unfortunately I don't have a photo of that!) 

There was also a man selling cat sweaters, and he used his own cats as his models. Now, that may not sound extraordinary, but the cats were unleashed, uncaged and simply sat on platforms looking adorable. They were so well behaved. I swear they had the biggest audience of all. 

We stopped for lunch at The Pike Seattle Brewing Co. where I had a delicious veggie quesadilla with spinach, onions, peppers, mushrooms and four cheeses, topped with chipotle dressing. Yum

 The Freemont Troll from the 1999 movie Ten Things I Hate About You

All in all, it was a wonderful little trip and I can't wait to go back! Apparently there is a short hiking trail to the Puget Sound only three miles from my brother's apartment, which we plan to explore next time. I also can't wait to see my brother again-- I already miss him! 

On a side note, I picked up an antique tool chest for five dollars at one of the garage sales we found. I plan to sand it down, paint it and restore it... hopefully soon. Expect a post on that in the near future. :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A cookie with a surprise!

This afternoon, I'm going to attempt to make these delicious little guys:

It's exactly what it looks like: An Oreo inside of a chocolate chip cookie! Anyone ever try something like this before?

I hope mine turn out okay; we're going to visit my twin brother in Seattle this weekend (I'm so excited!), so I thought I'd bring him something yummy. I'm really hoping you can't see the Oreos from the outside, so that it's a surprise when he bites into them!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meaningful Monday-- Life is like a song

via here

Life, he realized, was much like a song. 
In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it's in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile.
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

(And how amazing is that drawing on sheet music? I wish I knew who created it.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I feel loved!

I'm one away from fifty followers! And while that may not seem like a big deal to some (I can't even imagine having hundreds or thousands of followers), it's a big deal to me! So thank you to all of my new followers-- I hope you enjoy what I have to share.

Half empty or half full?

:-) Hope you're all having a splendid Sunday. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just some royal similarities...

I know the royal wedding hype is over, but this is too funny; I had to share!

And while we're on the topic of weddings... If I weren't already married, I'd definitely consider wearing this gorgeous Alfred Angelo dress on the big day. Too perfect. (Though I did love my dress, and the proceeds went toward a good cause... more on that later!) 

via here

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

For the love of sleep

This is me today:

My husband and I couldn't sleep last night. We just kept waking up. First the room was too hot. Then it was too cold. Then my cat decided she was hungry. Etc. etc. etc.

So instead of writing you a lovely thought-provoking post, you get to enjoy this little fella lounging on a bench, while I go take a much-needed late afternoon nap. :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bunting cards and fragrance sachets

Hello all! I hope all of you moms out there had a lovely Mother's Day!

I thought I would share with you what I gave to two of the special women in my life: my mom and my mother-in-law. I knew I wanted to give them something hand-made (and put my new sewing machine to use!). So I came up with this idea for fragrance sachets-- they are useful, look pretty and smell wonderful. A win-win, right? I also included some hand-made cards and little notes of ideas for using the sachets.

(Sidenote: I hope they aren't offended when they read this and discover each received the same gift. But I truly thought it was something they would each enjoy!) 

Cards with embroidered "Mom" bunting

The pink and green vanilla-scented sachets

The blue sachets. I attached ribbon to the tops 
so they could hang from, as well as lay on, something.

These could be used in closets, in dressers, on door knobs, in hampers, in the car, etc. Lots of possibilities. All while looking lovely :-)

Meaningful Monday-- Conversation

"Perhaps the best conversationalist in the world is the man who helps others to talk." 
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog recognition!

Today, Jen from A Book, A Girl, A Journey gave me two blogger awards! As a new blogger, it feels great to be recognized for my work! Thanks Jen!

Here are the awards:

With the awards come some rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the awards along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact those friends to congratulate them.

I'm passing these awards on to:

And now, seven random facts about myself:

1. I dream of being an author. Specifically a children's book author or a novelist. Or both. 
2. I love historic churches, covered bridges, old barns, and antique benches. I think I've come to the conclusion that I just like old wood. 
3. My sewing machine is my new best friend. 
4. I teach preschool to the cutest children in the world. (And their kisses melt my heart.)
5. I love love love to learn. 
6. I also love garage sales, coupons, thrift stores, the works. Anything for a good deal!
7. I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, who dreams of traveling to Europe (someday). 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guest post on Freckled Italian

Today I've got a guest post over on Freckled Italian. I'm so excited and thankful for the chance to post on her blog!

The post is all about my love for the color gold. You can check it out here!

And while you are there, check out some of Megan's posts-- her writing is beautiful. I specifically love her Old Friend from Far Away posts-- probably because I dream of being a writer someday (and I own the book). Or rather, I should say I dream of being an author, because I guess technically I'm already a writer...

Have a wonderful afternoon! And a shout out to all of my new followers-- I'm so excited to have you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Alive, I Believe in Everything-- Meaningful Monday

For Meaningful Monday today, I thought I'd share with you a poem rather than a quote:

I'm Alive, I Believe in Everything-- Lesley Choyce
Self. Brotherhood. God. Zeus. Communism. 
Capitalism. Buddha. Vinyl records. 
Baseball. Ink. Trees. Cures for disease. 
Saltwater. Literature. Walking. Waking.
Arguments. Decisions. Ambiguity. Absolutes. 
Presence. Absence. Positive and Negative. 
Empathy. Apathy. Sympathy and entropy. 
Verbs are necessary. So are nouns.
Empty skies. Dark vacuums of night. 
Visions. Revisions. Innocence. 
I've seen All the empty spaces yet to be filled. 
I've heard All of the sounds that will collect
at the end of the world. 
And the silence that follows.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all. 

Waves lapping on the shore. 
Skies on fire at sunset. 
Old men dancing on the streets.
Paradox and possibility.

Sense and sensibility.
Cold logic and half truth.
Final steps and first impressions.
Fools and fine intelligence.
Chaos and clean horizons.
Vague notions and concrete certainty.
Optimism in the face of adversity.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all. 

Reading this poem, slowly, and really taking in all of the ideas Choyce presents, produces a slideshow of images pouring through my imagination, as though I'm looking through one of those classic ViewMasters we had when I was little.

It brings back memories of my humid Greek Mythology class. Of staying up late watching news broadcasts about summer wildfires when the temperature is too hot to sleep. Of cool summer nights staring up at the stars along the Columbia Gorge.

I'm reminded of the smell of the Oregon coast on a damp, rainy day. Of teaching myself the art of calligraphy by way of a How-To book. My weak attempts in my college jazz class, the image of my high school Theory of Knowledge teacher, making wishes on dandelions, attending a presentation on The Big Bang Theory in downtown Portland.

I picture the works of Walt Whitman and Jane Austen. I hear my dad's voice sharing wonderful advice and common sense and amazing me with all of his random knowledge. I think of Langston Hughes, of flowing skirts, of kites and balloons floating high into the sky.

This poem makes me realize how much life has to offer-- and how easily we forget such a simple thing. It brings back such ordinary, day-to-day memories that I normally wouldn't think about. But sometimes those are the most important things to remember. This poem reminds me of how much I've done, and how much more I can do.

I'm not saying I'm going to take up Buddhism, become a Communist and dance in the streets with old men (although that could be interesting...). But we need to be reminded of the importance of experiencing life; of all there is to learn, to see, to explore.

We need to find our curiosity and run with it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

DIY leather tassel necklace

Lately I've been seeing tassels everywhere. Tassel shoes, tassel purses, tassel earrings, tassel belts.

Gucci belt via Saks

Shoes via ASOS

Earrings via Urban Outfitters

Therefore I decided to make my own tassel-- in the form of a necklace. 

It was so simple! 

All you need is a scrap piece of leather, some chain, sharp scissors, and a glue gun. I embellished mine with extra chain and a few washers. I also used embroidery thread to tie the necklace together, because I didn't have any jewelry supplies lying around. 

I tried out different colors of leather as well. Next I think I'm going to try embroidery thread or chain, for two completely different looks. Tassels are so simple but kind of fun, don't you think? 

Let me know if you'd like a step-by-step for making these tassels!