Saturday, November 25, 2006

the most wonderful time of the year

With so much to do today I turned to some festive cheer to get me in a good working mood. The picture isn't pretty ... but boy does it smell wonderful! A simmering pot of water with a few cinnamon sticks, an orange, a lemon, a green apple, star anise and nutmeg. I wanted the house to start smelling like the holidays - last year I promised myself I would not get our Christmas tree too early. About a week before Christmas last year, we had to haul our very dead tree out and replace it with a new one - which was expensive and time consuming and made me feel very very silly. This year I'll settle for the scent of apples and spice until we get our tree. I have my Christmas music playlist going...The Carpenters Christmas Portrait, Makaha Sons Christmas Day in Hawaii Nei, Manheim Steamroller, Jill Sobule and many many more. It's working - I'm getting things done.

Working on some new bibs for the upcoming Bazaar Bizarre. This one has a little window looking in on a silkscreened image along with some felt bamboo stalks. For the back, I used some fabric with iron-on vinyl. Have you used this stuff? It's fantastic! It's like contact paper - you peel off the back and stick it onto your fabric. But the magic begins when you iron it - it melts it onto the fabric turning it into something similar to oil cloth. Very cool indeed. In case you've forgotten, the Bazaar Bizarre is coming up December 16th in Los Angeles. I better get busy!!!

Starting to get organized for the crunch time I know the next few weeks will bring. Fabric is all stacked and ready for me. Picked up some more felt and fun prints during yesterday's After-Thanksgiving sale. Yes, I hit "Black Friday". I'm not one of these folks lined up at Walmart ready to fight for the flat screen that's on sale - in fact I usually tend to stay away from all the department stores once Thanksgiving passes. But this year I had an itch to shop. So I hit Target and the fabric store at 6am. Driving over there (when it was still dark) I felt extremely silly thinking I'd be the only one out shopping at that ungodly hour. (can you tell I've never done this before?) I was shocked, stunned, mortified to find the parking lot packed. I think this little Irish baby inside me gave me the luck I needed - found a primo parking spot. Got the few deals I'd scoped out, finished my Christmas shopping and stocked up on fabric to get me through the season. It was fun. My husband is sure I'm nuts. He'd happily pay full price to avoid that insanity. Me, on the other hand, I think I'm addicted. I'm sure I'll be out there again come next "Black Friday".

Next up are some small pillows - here's a Work In Progress snapshot. Maybe some felt fringe around the edge? Felted beads at the corners? Not sure yet - I just know I want them to be whimsical and fun ... and small and something I can offer at a low price point. I remember a lot of what appeared to be college students (USC across the street) at last years Bazaar Bizarre. Why not have some things they can buy? Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying the weekend. It's the holiday season! Can you feel it?!?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

monkey madness

Post-party madness is starting to clear out, so I'm finally taking a moment to share some of the monkey themed creations I came up with for our three-year-old monkey's birthday bash. First off, I'm really quite pleased with these banana sugar cookies. And I'm proud of the technique as well - used plastic squeeze bottles for the much easier than piping bags. And to cut the cookies (since I didn't want to spend money on shipping + handling to buy a banana shaped cutter online), I used two different sized circle cutters to make moon shapes before cutting off the pointy ends to make them look more like bananas than moons. I like how they came out looking very Andy Warhol Velvet Underground banana screenprint.

After all the effort with the monkey head pinatas, I must say it was worth every TV watching moment (one of those projects that's perfect for working on while watching TV). Everyone loved them, they looked great on the tables (I was going to hang them from the trees but we actually needed something on the tables to keep the tablecloths in place once the breeze kicked in) and it was nice giving them to the kiddies to take home. We didn't even get around to bashing them open. The time went by so fast and before I knew it folks were heading out. When I first finished them, I thought they looked sorta goofy. But once they were out there decorating the place up, I thought they looked fine. The heads were a little lumpy here and there - so there's definitely room for improvment in my pinata-construction skills.

I'm afraid I didn't get a chance to photograph the cupcakes. Just envision mini versions of this monkey cake. Big snouts, straight line mouth and beady little frosting eyes. I hate that I didn't get more pictures, actually. You know how it is the last couple hours before your first guests arrive...frantically trying to get everything laid out, last minute food to warm up, burning the bread because you're too involved with laying out the tables, etc. By the time everything had come together, people were here and I was too pooped to walk around and snap photos. But I managed to get a few.

One final detail that I'm particualarly proud of is this decorated ice cream cone filled with lollipops. I had SO much yellow icing left over after frosting all the banana cookies that I had to come up with a use for some of it. (I always make too much icing - put too much water in, have to add more powdered sugar, too much powdered sugar, add more water, too much water....and I end up with a gallon of icing before it's finally perfect) So I dipped each cone into the icing before filling it with candy and lollipops. These were put into clear plastic bags filled with other goodies.

The kids had a ball running around the yard yelling and screaming, the adults kicked back and enjoyed their SoCals and Limeades. We served up chicken skewers, hot dogs and macaroni-n-cheese. And, of course, no party of mine would be complete without a platter of cheese and crackers. I was happy to be able to use nearly each of my wooden monkeypod bowls and platters. I'll have to photograph my collection one of these days to share. Most came from my grandma, others from relative in Hawaii and a couple we picked up on our visits to the islands.

I couldn't believe how warm the day was. That might have accounted for some of my exhaustion...that and the fact that I'm insane for throwing this kind of party while being very very pregnant! Next year...Chuck-E-Cheese. (So I say this year - but come next year, who knows what kind of hairbrain idea I'll come up with)

Friday, November 17, 2006

baby shower goodies

Finished a baby quilt and some booties for my friend's baby shower. It's always so rewarding to finish a project - especially when it's something special for someone special. After making this one, I'm tempted to make a quilt for my son for Christmas. He seems so tickled by anything I make for him. He's completely fascinated by all the things I've been working on for his birthday party. I hope we can keep him this way always.

~Next on the Agenda~

* Flower arrangements for baby shower
(just got back from the flower market...I love going there)

* Frost banana cookies

* Bake monkey cupcakes + cake

* Attempt to keep this house somewhat clean between now + Sun.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

monkey business


I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Just knee deep in monkey business.

So maybe I didn't need to make 10 pinatas...but I did. Maybe I don't have to decorate the cups...but I am. Maybe we don't need banana shaped sugar cookies (on top of monkey cupcakes and banana splits)...but they're baked and they're not gonna ice themselves now are they?

Who's bananas?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

another project?!?

Lately, I've been spending little spare moments cruising around different blogs - checking out links that some of my favorite blogs post and finding new places to linger. My newest favorite is Alicia Paulson's beautiful photographs, projects and stories over at Posie Gets Cozy. I'm now inspired to make pretty things. Maybe I'll spend my Saturday afternoon over at the fabric store picking out some delicate prints to make a quilt for my friend who is expecting her first baby just weeks after me. Like that's all I need...another project. For now, I think I'll slice up a piece of the banana bread I made the other day. The banana bread my son calls "icky" and not as good as the banana bread Daddy bought. Well kiddo, my banana bread is healthy - sorry Charlie!

Friday, November 03, 2006

jelly fish

jelly fish

Click the link to see the video on my Stage 6 site.
By far my favorite tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium was the jelly fish. I could have watched them all day. A little creepy, yes, but so incredibly beautiful that I almost forget they're living creatures.
Today took me back. Whipped up a batch of flour and water, cut some newspaper strips and applied paper mache to a balloon for some pinata construction. So much fun! Not sure if these pinatas will be actual functional bang-em-up pinatas or something I give to the kids as party favors. We'll see. I've waited my whole life for little kidlet birthday parties. I'm having so much fun.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

planning the par-tay

The invitations are going out and now the party planning begins. We decided on a "Curious George" theme for the party. I ordered plates and napkins with the traditional Curious George - not that I have anything against the movie, I guess I'm just old fashioned. So far my proudest idea is to have a banana split bar. Maybe some banana shaped cookies? Monkey cupcakes? Ohhhhh....I love planning parties!!!!