Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

The jar of buttons our friends so graciously shared from their collection on Sunday are in the process of being cleaned, sorted, and discovered.  O has been a great helper with the task, no doubt just happy to play in the water and bubbles.  He's made a hurricane by stirring the water, which then swallows the dirty buttons, and the buttons have also parachuted off his palm into the rinse water.  It's a great project for enhancing eye-hand coordination and small motor skills.  Of course I simply love looking at the different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors, which makes for interesting discussion with a 3 year old.  We both have picked favorites; O's went to bed with him last night, tucked safely under the covers beside him.  He's one busy boy with a blooming imagination, so I simply cherished the chance to sit with him and share this experience. 

Something else I've been cherishing lately are my strolls around our yard looking for the latest blooms and emerging plants.  The crocus and hyacinth have given way to vibrant pink flowers on the berginia, soft pink blossoms on the lamium, and yellow blooms on the false lamium (variegatum.) 

What's giving your yard color these days?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ideas for the Little One(s) in Your Life - and my citrus pillow cover

I was just doing a little Sunday evening catch up on some of my favorite blogs and came across a simply genius idea at Rhythm of the Home from Sutton Grace's Erin Woodword.  As I commented on Sutton Grace's blog, I can easily see the possibility in a funky flea market find, but to see the future of an MDF entertainment center is sheer brilliance!  And so I must share it with you...

Check out this play kitchen repurposed from an entertainment center by Erin Woodward of Sutton Grace.  Here are the pics; click on the link to see the how-to.  I am so inspired!  If it weren't after 9 p.m., I'd go hunting for an inexpensive entertainment center at my local thrift store!!

If you're looking for outdoor fun for your little one(s), you might want to check out this resource, 25 Easy Nature Play Ideas for Preschool Yards from Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood.  At their website you can also download a copy of A Parents' Guide to Nature Play.  Very cool, very fun ideas that just might buy me some time to garden this summer, and help our little "O" grow his appreciation of nature at the same time. 

Finally, here's my fun little project of the day.  A pillow cover made from a vintage sheet and some vintage ball fringe bought at last weekend's fundraising garage sale.  It's such a fun, bright, splash of color that screams CITRUS or SHERBET or FRESH SQUEEZED.  I simply love it and can't wait to look at it again when I awake first thing tomorrow morning!  Nighty, night!  ~J

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good Morning!

Today I am sharing words of inspiration

(and a picture of my glorious cuppa java - which may be all the inspiration some of us need!) 
Enjoy your day, and please share a few of your favorite inspirational words via comments if you are so inclined.  :-)

Henry David Thoreau ~ The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

Erich Fromm ~ Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

Nietzsche ~ You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.

Pablo Picasso ~ All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Maya Angelou ~ I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.

J RR Tolkien ~ Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or secret gate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beautiful Blooms

Just a quick pop-in to share some amazing photos my husband and I took at the U of MN Landscape Arboretum this weekend.  I hope they brighten your day!  The sheer beauty of flowers could nearly bring me to tears.  They are simply exquisite gifts from our maker. 

I hope you find beauty and peace in your day.  Enjoy!
(p.s. the magnolia picture above is from this weekend too!)

Photos taken with the Nikon D-40 and zoom lens.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shopping for a good cause

My friend Abby alerted me to a fundraising garage sale last Saturday at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.  Cool, cool, cool!  My sister and I, who are both garage sale (and thrift store) junkies and avid crafters who also love to sew, decided to check it out.  Three hours later we emerged with giant grins on our faces and giant bags full of goodies!  We had so much fun searching for buried treasure on the tables and tables and tables of donated items for sale.
My sister scored sunny yarn in yellows, corals, and oranges for knitting ($7 for what you see in the photo.)  She showed amazing restraint!  I fully indulged and left the sale with fabrics, trims, felt, notions, beads, googly eyes, sequins and all manner of other fun things.  Here are a few pics we took while sorting all of the goodies... This event is DEFINITELY on our calendars for next year.

If you're unfamiliar with the Textile Center, a National Center for Fiber Art, please peek at their website.  They offer classes & workshops on a variety of fun topics like knitting & felting, sewing, design & creativity, as well as summer camps for children ages 6 to 16, and kids' classes.  At their home in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis they have a shop and library (you can also search their catalog of books online.)  The "Textile Mobile" is their fun way to do community outreach, taking textile arts experiences on the road, and it's for hire!

What amazing, cool, or interesting community resources and organizations have you discovered of late?  Please share so we can also check them out, or search for a comparable organization in our own community!!

Signing off on this sunny Tuesday evening - time to get outside (again!)  Enjoy your evening, my friends.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Terrariums, otherwise titled "The Art of Planting with Chopsticks"

Happy Monday!  I'm in a stretch of days where I find myself hurrying to do all of the things I have/need to do in order to do all of the things I want/wish to do.  Ever have those stretches?  They're a bit agonizing, but in a fun sort of way.

Planting terrariums was one of the things I gleefully attempted late last Thursday night, by artificial light on my deck I might add, after finishing all of the things I needed to do that day.  Yeah!  Ever since I wandered into Anthropologie recently and saw their display of oversized jars stuffed with succulents and ferns, I've been itching to try it myself.  Add a cool vintage milk bottle purchased at a garage sale, a lovely footed oversize brandy snifter and tall apothecary jar from my favorite thrift store, and a little internet research and I had quite the burning desire to give it a whirl!

Armed with my newly purchased miniature plants from Bachman's (where they had an awesome display of terrariums,) a bag of activated charcoal, some sphagnum moss, fresh potting soil and some sand from my son's sandbox, I set to the task of creating these precious little exhibits. 

I started with the brandy snifter because it had a large opening at the top, then I progressed to the fish bowl, the tall apothecary jar and finally got out the chop sticks to plant the fern into the vintage milk bottle!  Covering the roots of the fern with soil required a teaspoon and patience.  It was fun (in the pure "from scratch" sort of way) layering a few marble sized rocks and then sand in the bottom of each vessel to assist drainage, charcoal to filter impurities, sphagnum moss to help keep the roots dry, and finally potting soil before adding the tender little plants.  I felt like a mad scientist out there in the dark with my little beauties and certainly caused a few raised eyebrows from the neighbors I think.  Of course this only made me love the process more, ha!

I agonized over plant placement and groupings far longer than was necessary.  Then I happily accessorized my "little worlds" once planted with some sea shells and a small sand dollar from our recent trip, some pretty stones, and even marbles in one jar.  My mom used to put a stray marble or two into her potted plants and I used to wonder why...I guess she thought it was pretty, which is why I chose marbles.

The final step was to pull out a sunny yellow cloth napkin from my stash and 2 red/white doilies to create a cheery little vignette full of life on our dining table. 

Hopefully this is a new fronteir I continue to blaze, since growing plants the traditional way hasn't been successful for me since the doggies and our son entered our life.  Because the jar's shapes, and lid in one case, shelter the plants and retain more of the moisture there shouldn't be the need to water as often.  Plus, since they're clear jars you can see when you've overwatered.  My only concern is for light when the long MN winter with its short days is here once again.  Guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now, I look happily at those 4 things of beauty every day and am very satisfied.  If there's something you've been pondering, my encouragement to you is to try it!  Adventure can be so fun and rewarding if you give it a little room to grow in your life. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Double take

Hello, friends!  Hope you've had a good week thus far.  I just finished planting 4 terrariums late last  night and I'm so pumped (probably because it's the first time I've ever done this!)  But that's the topic of my next blog post, when I have some photos to share. 

I got my new issue of House Beautiful  magazine yesterday and cannot wait to delve into it this weekend.  The cover, however, made me do a double take!  There is a pillow on the couch that looks so strikingly close to a pillow I finished about a week ago, proving to me that no idea is original anymore.  That's not to say there are no good ideas anymore, or that it's bad/sad in some way, it's just that so much of art and design mimics or has a foundation in something else that it's hard to come up with totally original ideas.  And that's okay.  It's the whole history repeats itself thing... 

Anyway, I'm so proud to have come up with the same idea as some excellent (probably highly paid) designer, all on my own!  So cool.  Here are the pics folks, you decide for yourself...  My pillow in red (cream linen and muslin circles layered on a red pillow, but in one corner only.)

Their pillow (circles layered on cream pillow, completely covering it)...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bored? NEVER!

I recall as a small child telling my mom, probably a little too often and in a voice a little too whiny, "I'm bored."  To which she'd respond with some wonderful idea like seeing how many 4-leaf clovers could be found in our yard or ironing my dad's shirts for $.25 a piece.  Now as an adult, I simply cannot fathom boredom.  The list of projects I want to tackle, crafts I want to sew, books I want to read, blogs I want to read, people I want to catch up with, yardwork and gardening I want to do and much, much more is simply endless! 

A few top items on my list are sewing some awesome placemats and maybe a table runner from my cool thrift store fabric finds, figuring out how to rearrange our space to accomodate 2 desks which will become a cutting/sewing table that I purchased from a friend who's moving, dividing the sedum along our fence line since it 'tis the season, installing edging around our newly created boat parking pad (thanks to Mike and his dad,) locating a Bakeri Blue Spruce and planting it at the front corner of our house (must be done in spring,) determining if I want to rehab another property in the coming months, seeking alternative employment opportunities, and more! 

My list of books is bordering on crazy - I had to return My French Life by Vicki Archer to the library before I could finish it, and I haven't yet begun Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding her Inner French Girl which is due back soon (probably because I've been skimming Sew Darn Cute, Button Girl, House Beautiful The Home Book, and the Finishing Touch book from House Beautiful in my so-called "spare time", HA!)  I have yet to finish Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy, despite really enjoying it, and Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits (I managed to read Kitchen Confidential and loved it, being the ex-waitress I am!)

Me, bored?  NEVER!  You see, I think I inherited a gene that keeps me forever curious and motivated to try something new.  Life is simply too short not to reap all it has to offer. 

One of my favorite sayings from Curly Girl's Leigh Standley is "The world is full of people who will go their whole lives and not actually live one day.  She did not intend on being one of them."  (This is also the woman who came up with "I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world."  What's not to love?!) 

So tell us, friends, how will you keep from being bored in life?! 
Hugs to you this wonderful Saturday morning! ~J

More Curly Girl Favs to make you smile...

Boston International Leigh Standley's Curly Girl Design Cocktail Napkins, Cape and Tiara (Pack of 6)          Curly Girl Ceramic Mug- The World Is Full - with Gift Box        Boston International Leigh Standley's Curly Girl Design Cocktail Napkins, Little Umbrella (Pack of 6)   Boston International Leigh Standley's Curly Girl Design Cocktail Napkins, Life is Tough (Pack of 6)         Boston International Leigh Standley's Curly Girl Design Cocktail Napkins, Happiness (Pack of 6)     

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

After a fun-filled long weekend with family, I'm catching up at home and enjoying some quiet pleasures.  Having been so extroverted my whole life, always gathering my energy from activity and other people, it's delicious to also enjoy quiet and calm in recent years.  I'm hoping it's a sign that I'm gaining the balance in life I eternally seek.

While indulging in a little quiet and savoring the March UK edition of Elle Decoration magazine last night (thanks to my sister) I came across a fun series of books, the Self-Sufficiency Series from New Holland Publishers.  These little guides to Beekeeping, Cheese Making, Preserving/Canning, Home Brewing, Soap Making, Household Cleaning (green cleaning) not only piqued my interest, they reminded me of friends and family who are already doing these things, or have done these things.  Pretty cool, these unique and extraordinary people in my life.  I also think these little books would make wonderful gifts for the eternally curious, adventurous people in our lives.

Another exciting discovery this weekend was the first bloom of spring in our yard!  A lone crocus wished us Happy Easter and sparked the fire to get outside and uncover the rest of the sleeping beauties awakening under layers of mulch and leftover leaves from last fall. 
Share with us - what discoveries have you made in your precious life the past few weeks?