Friday, November 29, 2013

Not a vacation.

Since I posted last I have...
*picnicked on a bridge with a few of my favorite people,
*danced like crazy late into the night to some live music,
*went for a quick ride on a flying elephant,
*did some modeling for a fantastic little shop ( )
*met with some new friends to discuss a good book
*explored an estuary,
*flipped into a foam pit at a trampoline park,
*visited 3 different beaches
*kissed my love by a campfire
*and I have had breakfasts, lunches and dinners with a princess and a superhero.
So- I haven't posted recently, but I have been very busy. And Happy. 



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

turkey graffiti....

...and other forms of artistic expression i am thankful for

posted by jennifer:

first off, did you know the singular form of graffiti is graffito?  i just read that in the dictionary. who knew.  and yes, i looked up graffiti, just to be sure.  this coming from the girl who misspelled tomorrow (i am still catching myself writing tomarrow) until a few months ago.  thank you april.   so, ya know, i have to be sure sometimes. 

my children,  like myself get into holidays.  they are more consistent in every holiday getting a fair amount of attention, where i tend to go all out for christmas.   the other holidays just get a bone thrown at them.  but in this case a very nice t-bone steak bone i have to say.

on this note, they have been creating in the spirit of the season.   i thought i would share some of these creations.

the first is a collaboration.   they did the artwork... at least most of it that went into my turkey feather garland.  i got the idea from one of my favorite  bloggers: .  i used artwork that they had left lying around... so i figured it was fair game... they begged to differ on a few pieces, but it is a lesson.   if it is important to you, put it in your room.  if it is in a pile (look at all those little words in a row... if it is in a ) in the living room it may end up in the recycling bin or in this case transformed into a beautiful turkey feather garland.  i stamped the letters to spell out: eat, drink, and be merry on muslin with brown acrylic and then just strung them up along with the feathers.   i love it.  

these beautiful creatures were made about 2 weeks ago. my older two came in from the backyard with these.  so clever i thought.  they used apples from our tree, and feathers from our molting chickens. 

my daughter emma likes to use charcoal to draw pictures on one of our retaining walls.  this was done yesterday i believe.   i love beautiful graffiti.   not the random tagging with just a name.  but when graffiti artists really put themselves into it.  i  love driving through parts of l.a. and downtown san diego .... or when riding the train from san diego to orange county... and seeing the graffiti.  i think i may have to get some spray paint for emma and let her at the walls in the backyard with something more permanent.  hmmm.  

and lastly.  this is a sneak peek.  my next post will go more into how  i made a table covering for thanksgiving.  i used brown butcher paper, chalkboard paint and colorful chalk. the kids helped naturally.  i want to wait to show you until it is all put together.  but it is a good one methinks.

have a wonderful thanksgiving.  i hope you have your share of turkey graffiti to  enjoy. cheers!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mark my lettuce

One of  the most rewarding vegetables to grow is lettuce.
Here in Southern California, I eat my homegrown lettuce for about 6 months a year, December to June.
 I love salads, and eat them almost everyday. I love lettuce. Son-in-law #2 says I am the only person he has ever known that orders "extra lettuce" on my sandwiches and on my In-and-Out Grilled Cheese. 

Growing lettuce is beneficial in many ways: the yield is high, the leaves are tasty, the varieties available to grow far exceed what you can buy at Whole Foods or Sprouts or Mothers, the mix of textures and colors makes a presentation that would please any Home Ec teacher, you can pick and eat in a matter of minutes so the nutritional value is greater, you don't have to store lettuce in the refrigerator---just pick it as you need it. Add to all this: lettuce is easy to grow.

Every year I grow a salad bowl of varieties.   I add new varieties to the ones that are tried and true.
It is important to me to know which lettuce is which.  I've learned with vegetable gardening, it is most important to grow a variety that has the taste you love and that grows well in your location.  I want to know which lettuce plants work well for me and, to do so, I need to keep track of their names.
I currently have 9 varieties of lettuce growing and because I want to remember which seedling was which, I wrote each lettuce name on a Popsicle stick...with a Sharpie and stuck it in the ground next the the planted seeds.  
After a short 3 weeks, the lettering on the sticks was already fading.  I knew I was going to need markers that were more permanent. 

I scroll through Pinterest occasionally and dutifully put the ideas that appeal to me on my boards.  Less frequently, I actually use the ideas. 
One of my boards is "Gardening" and some time ago I saw this idea and filed it to that board.
Painting rocks as garden markers.  I thought this seemed like a fun and effective way to keep track of my selection of Red Sails, Black Seeded Simpsons, Nevadas, Rouge d'Hivers, Parris Island Cos, Little Gems, Flames, Buttercrunches, and my latest favorite, Dark Lolla Rossa.

I liked the result so much I painted other vegetable names as well.  It was easy....just find some fairly smooth rocks and using acrylic paint add the name and any design, scrolling, dots, squiggles, or lines that strike your fancy onto it.

This idea was originally posted on (07-26-2011)  How nice to be able to put an idea into action. 

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

Thursday, November 21, 2013

the evolution of a haircut

posted by jennifer:

so, i cut my own hair.   and have been doing so for about the last 6 or 7 years.   well, i guess technically i have been doing it even longer than that.   i know there were a few instances in my childhood that i started practicing the art... ahem.   but i didn't start in earnest until more recent years.

i didn't just pick up the scissors one day and decide to go for it.  there was a process i went through.   it all started with isaac.  he was the first "real" hair stylist i went to.  you know, not your run of the mill strip mall chain stylist.  my mom and sister had been going to him, and
i decided to plunk down my money  and see what this isaac was all about.  i loved my haircut.  so much that i went to isaac, who was in fullerton (orange county), even after i moved down to san diego.

then isaac moved away.

i had to find a new hair stylist. 

i asked a friend, whose haircut i loved, where she went.  she gave me the information for a swanky stylist in hillcrest.  a rather artsy, hip neighborhood in san diego.  i set the appointment.   i was a little nervous, because i am not the adventurous, directional savvy type girl.  i get lost frequently.  and am one of those drivers who gets a little, um, erratic when i don't know where i am going.  i have never been in, or caused an accident or anything, but i am sure i have had a few choice words spewed in my direction when, well, let's say, i am looking for a hair salon i have never been to.

well, i made a wrong turn.   i was late for the appointment...very, very late.  the hair stylist wasn't pleased.  i started getting all choked up when trying to explain myself.  yes, i tend to do that.  this was probably 12 years ago.  but i still remember the way she was looking at me. i must have looked pathetic.  and very out of my element.  so, i dried off my tears.  and kept up my search.

i found a stylist i liked.  close to home.  i knew i would not get lost.  but, no, the stylist was not myself..... yet.  

i went to that woman for about 2 years.  until she left.  ugh.  i tried a new stylist at the same salon, and left more than once with a haircut i did not like.  it was then that i started to question what exactly i was paying for.  i clearly remember thinking "a hair student could do a better job."

so, i found a cosmetology school.  you could have a student cut your hair for like $10 or something.  by this time, i definitely didn't feel like i could continue to spend $50+ on a haircut.

 the first time i  left the cosmetology school with my new haircut i felt pretty smug.   i couldn't believe people didn't go to cosmetology schools more often to be guinea pigs.  i had one of my best haircuts ever..... that time.

i think that the girl who cut my hair the first time must have the top of her class.   and i think the second and third time i went, the students must have been held back.... or maybe it was there first day of school.   at this point my thought was "i could do a better job than this."

well, it is all ancient history now. 

i never get lost on the way to the bathroom.  i don't need to schedule an appointment.  i can get a touch up whenever i want.  i don't need to worry about being witty, or more accurately, don't need to worry about how socially awkward i must seem when trying to make small talk.  and best of all, i have gotten compliments on my hair.  and they are not those courtesy compliments... when someone doesn't know what to say because what is before them is so uncomfortably awful.  you know "you look great".... when said receiver of the compliment is a horribly hot mess. (oh no, i hope they are not courtesy compliments... egads!)

at least 90% of the time, i am happy with my self haircuts.  and that my friends is a better percentage than when i was going to the professionals.... and sometimes not so professionals. hmmm.  well, regardless, i will continue to cut my own hair.  at least for now. but who knows about the future.  thus is the evolution of a haircut.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Shared ownership of a piece of magic

As Mr. Roger's sang, there are many ways to say I love you.  There are also many ways to stay connected to the people you hold dear:  phoning, texting, sending a card or letter, Facebook, Twitter, or by exchanging an item back and forth.  This back and forth of an object of any sort, turns into a meeting of hearts in a playful  place.

 This game seems to begin in some mysterious, spontaneous fashion.  I am currently enjoying such a 
go-between with my 4 year old granddaughter.

During the summer, Ruby found a key chain that has a broken hi-heel shoe charm on it.  In its broken state, it looks somewhat like a bejeweled duck-head, instead of a shoe.  It is a conversation piece to be sure.


Ruby gave me this dear-to-her, studded, treasure a couple months ago.  I put it on my key chain in appreciation of her sweetness.  She often takes note of it being there and is always visibly pleased to see it is still there.

About 3 weeks ago she was looking at the hi-heel-duck head longingly and so I gave it back to her "for awhile".  Then last week I was caring for Wyatt and Ruby and before I left to come home, Ruby handed the mutated bauble to me saying, "Your turn".  My heart is still in a melted state.

This got me to thinking about things that boomerang between 2 people and how fun it is.  It creates a special bond to be on such a merry go round with someone.

When I was 5,6,7,8 (?) my Grandmother and I exchanged the same birthday card for years.  I was sad when this greeting card got "misplaced" --perhaps when we moved to Florida--during my keeping of it.  We never started up another back and forth card.  I wish we had.

Mike and I used to have a small, plastic alligator that went to-and-fro between us.  I would open a drawer or box or be shifting through a stack of papers and find that green alligator awaiting my discovery.  Awaiting to deliver the message that the person who hid it there, loves me in a playful way.

I worked with 2 women who, for years schemed surprise-findings-of a piece of string for each other. One time, it spun out of a roll of toilet paper.

My daughters have a top shell, named Toppy, that travels between Lakeside and Fullerton.

A friend of mine and I have a "hospitality angel" that moves between our homes.  (I'd take a photo of this statuette, but she's residing in Temecula currently.)

The start up of one of these games is unplanned and I suppose its finish is as well. I hope to walk across such a bridge, where hearts cross happily, with each of my grandchildren at some point in time.  I'm just waiting for that magic moment when some trinket catches us on a seesaw ride.  This magnetism cannot be contrived.  It has to be waited on, but it's so sweet when it arrives.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

Friday, November 15, 2013

"shut up, i'm busy making my life perfect".... and other musings

posted by jennifer:

i have always saved..... not lives, or money (at least not much) but i have always saved clippings, quotes, notes, pictures, inspirations,  recipes. 

 i remember when my dad put in a wall size bulletin board in my bedroom growing up.  i loved it.  i loved having a place to tack all of my saved ephemera... all of those things that at that point in my life were so important to me. 

i thought it would be fun to share some of the things that are on my wall now.  these pictures were taken in my art room... in our basement garage.   my own little corner... at least mostly.

i don't think that this picture needs much explanation.  my now 11 year old daughter gave it to me when she was around 5.  i love it.

the title piece of this post.  i don't remember the context of when this was said.  i do know that i was on the phone with my sister april and said this.  i remember how we cracked up about it.  it really is so silly.  but come on.   it is awfully funny right?  oh, and by the way, that tack is one that graced my original wall size bulletin board when i was young.  yep.  still have it. 

so, i am a bit of a addict of bravo reality t.v.  and i have been slowly weaning myself off of the real housewives, but it still calls to me i must admit.  anyway.  back in the day, april and i were totally into it.  especially the real housewives of orange county.  i mean really. april is a real housewife of o.c.  and so is our mom. 
we were so excited about the season premiere that april sent me a pound of see's candy to have on hand for the occasion.  what a friend.  isn't it lucky that my two best friends just so happen to be my sister and my mom?....  i know right?

i love these two pictures.  side by side.  i love them because i think that the resemblance between my grandma taylor and myself is so clear.  i never did know my dad's mom as much as i did my mom's mom... but this picture makes me smile... and feel connected.  you know.

i love this quote.  i used it on the birthday card invitations for my 40th.  fun times.

this picture i took out of the san diego union tribune years ago.  i love it.  i think someday it will find a place in a mixed media piece.  that kid looks like one cool cat.

 thomas jefferson.  i really like so many quotes of his.  he seems like my kind of guy.  of all the founding fathers i think he is the one i would want to have dinner with.  simple bacon of course!

aren't these necklaces beautiful?  i don't really wear much jewelry. only my wedding ring, and my one ear piercing on my left ear.  i had the piercing done probably 12 years ago.  i have never taken it out.  i wonder if i ever will? 
but i really like these necklaces. i think i might need to try and make one.  

baby blues.  i loved this comic strip for many years.  we don't get the paper anymore... and i can't be bothered to read comics online... but these comics almost always hit home.

guess who is back.  my man t.j.  that is thomas jefferson. another great quote.

i love, love, love this picture.  i am talking to april on the phone here.  it is not uncommon for my babies to follow me around.  as they did before this picture was taken.  but what i like so much about this picture is how i look so calm.  even in the chaos surrounding me.  the eye of the storm is me.

and lastly. this is a quote from the book loving frank by nancy horan.  i really feel this way about my children. 
oh, and the writing looks so wonky because that wall is very rough, and bumpy.  but, i do not think i should be a professional wall writer.  i don't think i would have very happy clients.

well.  that is all for this round.  have a wonderful weekend.  cheers!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

wine gift bag tutorial. diy.

posted by jennifer:

as promised.  and even on the day i promised.  well, well, well.  i have to say, i have been in a good groove as far as getting things done.  i don't know how long it will last, but i am going to go with it.  maybe it is from all the exercise i got when we were in ojai.  22 miles biking.  i have heard that exercise gives you more energy.  maybe i should try to do that more. hmm.

so, i have been making wine gift bags.  with cute tags and such.  fun and fairly easy.

here's how i did it.

i used both felt and cotton fabric.  the felt is nice because you don't have to sew the edges.  but it certainly wasn't difficult to turn the edges of the cotton down and hem it.  go with whatever pleases your eye... or with whatever you have on hand.

here's a hint.  do not try to iron non wool felt.  it will melt on your iron.  grrr.  just go with the creases.  it adds personality right?  methinks yes.

i cut a rectangular piece of fabric 14.5 inches long and 12 inches high.  and a circle 5 inches across.

if you want to add pieces of burlap/muslin/cotton fabric details, be sure to sew it on before you move onto the next step.  on some of the bags i did a small rectangle of burlap with a even smaller rectangle of muslin.  on the muslin i had stamped words/names.  i used a stamp pad intended for fabric.  i don't know how necessary that is, but i figured it would remove the chance the ink would bleed in the event it got wet.

if you are using cotton with a raw edge, turn under the edge along the 14.5 inch side.

for all my seams i used 5/8 inch seam allowance.

next, you fold the rectangle piece in half, right sides together. (the two 12 inch sides should meet up)  stitch them together.  you should now have a cylinder.

if you want to add an extra challenge have a preschooler next to you pretending she is a doctor operating on your upper arm using your sewing machine repair kit... and don't let her use the seam ripper on you.  it hurts!

the next step is the trickiest.  you need to sew the circle to the open bottom of the cylinder you created in the previous step.

to do this you will match up the edges of the cylinder with the edges of the circle.  when you are sewing it on, you just need to keep adjusting the circle so that it meets up with the edge of the cylinder.  it takes a bit of finessing and constant adjusting.  but it is only a 5 inch circle, so if you have to rip out the thread and start over, it isn't too bad.

turn the bag right side out and that's all.

the fun part is all of the embellishing and tags. 

i made:
 woodland tags.. cutouts of owls on cardstock and embellished with twigs from the oak tree and holly sprigs.

wooden tags... i stained business card size piece of wood, then added a hand stamped bird picture.

on the bags i stamped on i used the sentiments:
  -eat, drink & be merry
  -home sweet home
  -the name of friends for a christmas gift

you can make ornaments to add.  you can add embellishments to personalize it. 

if you want to check out each of the bags in more detail you can see them in my etsy shop.

have fun creating.  just add wine and you have a perfect hostess gift.  a gift for a friend. a gift for your coworkers. 


Monday, November 11, 2013

November Tablescape

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving
for my friends,
the old and the new.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 These ceramic turkeys (salt and pepper shakers) were my Grandmother's.  I am a grandmother myself, so
you know they are old.  They were made in Japan. 
The velvet pumpkins behind the turkeys were made by my daughter, Jennifer.

This cornucopia was my mother's. She got tired of it and gave it to me years ago.

I got this odd shaped pumpkin at Trader Joe's.   

This is a vintage ice bucket.  It is silver plated copper.  Circa 1930.  It is glass-lined.
I have candles in it, which creates a beautiful soft glow.  
The gnarly gourds were bought at the Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.
Italian Proverb

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol