Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gone Fishing

Hey dudes, I'm going to be posting even less than normal over the last couple of weeks because we're packing up the car and road tripping it. Enjoy the heat!



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weekend Thrift (and Cupcakes)

I haven't been thrifting for a while -- summer gets so busy and I'm usually with Aaron on the weekend and he generally frowns at the idea of bringing any additional objects of any sort into our home (understandably, really). So, it's been a while. But I've recently picked up a few things:

Above, some teacups in the Federal Glass Golden Glory pattern. These match some soup bowls that I picked up earlier this spring, which is the only reason I got them, as I try to keep my teacup collecting at a minimum. $2 at a garage sale.

Next, some really cute glasses. I don't know why, but I'm a little obsessed with really tiny glasses of the '60s/'70s vintage -- I don't even know what one would use such tiny glasses for (juice?). My grandma used to have a lot of glasses in this style, which might be why I love them so much. Anyway, I thought these could come in handy at Christmas. $10 at a small town junk store (for 8 glasses).

And, some Fire King ramekins, which I actually kind of need, because we've been living in a ramekin free zone in our house. No ramekins! How would I make tiny souffles? Anyway, $5 for six at a garage sale.

Someone commented a while back, asking where I found most of my weekend thrift items, so I'll try to include that info for the curious. She also asked how I go about finding good garage sales, which I know can be hard. The answer is, I don't really know. I try to just go about my business and stop when I see a garage sale sign and hope the fates smile on me. Sometimes I actively go driving around looking for them, and I generally try to stick to older neighbourhoods where the sales will be more likely to have vintage stuff rather than kids toys. I generally avoid the "professional" sales, because they price gouge, but you can find good stuff too, even if you have to pay a bit more. Oh, and Aaron and I have an understanding that if it says "estate sale" on the sign we have to stop, no matter what.

Finally, I made some more cupcakes from the Martha book and we finally have a cupcake that was a total hit. They don't look like much, but these are the Chocolate Mint cupcakes, which are basically individual brownies with a York Peppermint Patty baked in the middle. Genius.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Les Girls

I don't even remember when I started stitching these girls, but I think it may have been about a year ago. I know. But in the spirit of finishing things, I finally put the finishing touches on these little embroideries. They are, of course, the Stitchettes, from the wonderful Hillary Lang. I bought pretty much every series of Stitchette patterns as they came out, but this is the first time I've really finished anything. I think these are all from the Spring series, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I simply stitched them onto some beigy fabric, glued the edges onto the hoop, trimmed, and stuck them on Ruby's wall. I'd tell you that she loves them, but I don't think she's actually noticed them.

In unhappier news, yesterday Henry was stung by a wasp. In the face. His whole face immediately started puffing up and I called the public health line in anticipation of an allergic reaction (my brother was fatally allergic to yellow jackets as a child, so I'm freaked out about such things -- he's since outgrown it). He woke up this morning still breathing, but with his eye almost puffed shut. I didn't get stung by a wasp for the first time until I was 31 (and pregnant with Henry), how does this kid get stung before he's even two? He's a magnet. Must be because he's as sweet as honey.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Art, Part 2

Ruby has spent the last two weeks attending a class at our local arts centre (which is the most awesome thing in the world). Every morning she'd go in and work on her art. Ruby likes drawing and painting, but she's lacked confidence in actually drawing things other than stick people because she'd complain "I don't know hooooooow!" She's a bit of a perfectionist, that one. This class was awesome because the teacher would chose a subject and do her own example and then act as a taskmaster, making sure the kids got it right. There wasn't a lot of creative free will, but Ruby kind of needed that sort of detailed instruction. As a result, she made some great stuff and her confidence has grown.

I love these pictures so much, my heart weeps when I look at them. Up top you've got a chicken jumping over a fence, then a t-shirt featuring a peacock(!) and finally, a button with a cowgirl portrait on it. The cowgirl also exists in the form of an awesome painting, but the art centre asked to keep it so they could submit it to a city wide children's art show next year. We won't get it back until June, but I'm pretty sure I'll frame it when we get it back (though, by then Ruby's art will have probably advanced, rendering it too childish for her own tastes).

Speaking of Ruby, she's downstairs right now listening to old kids records from the '60s on her vintage Fisher Price turntable. So awesome.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Art, Part 1

We bought a painting. For years, Aaron and I have been looking for a large painting to hang over our living room couch. There have been some snags -- we rarely have enough dough to invest in original art, and even when we're feeling like living dangerously and buying on credit (yes, people like us are responsible for the economic meltdown, I know), it's not like you can just snap your fingers and find a piece of art that works. We have fairly different tastes and have both envisioned different things for the space. Plus, as with everything else, that magical piece of art is never to be found when you're looking for it.

Aaron found this painting at, at all places, the Calgary Stampede, where (and who knew?) there's a temporary art gallery. For those not in the know, the Stampede is basically our version of a state fair/expo/summer carnival, only with a rodeo and a very unsubtle cowboy theme. Not surprisingly, most of the art show consisted of brass rodeo sculptures, Native art, and realistic paintings of horses. He was pretty floored with he saw this artist's paintings. The next day, he dragged me and the kids back down there and we bought the piece you see above.

The artist is a local woman named Sheila Kernan and she focuses on land and city scapes. This piece is called Canola Meadow and it's large (about three and a half by five feet) and textured. It's perfect for us -- the colours suit us and it meets Aaron's need to fill our house with art that represents the place in which we live and my need to buck the conservative culture that overwhelms that same place. This is the second original piece we've bought (and the second by a local artist) and we're both really feeling a rush.

Oh, and apparently the parents aren't the only ones in our house feeling artistically inspired. Nice one, Henry. Time to dig out the Magic Eraser.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Get Back, Wonky Cat

This little guy is not an example of my best work, but I kind of love him. A good friend of mine who lives on the other side of the country had a baby daughter about three months ago and I've been trying to find time to make something special every since her birth. With Ruby and Henry at their all time most demanding as of late (they've reached the age where they fight over stuff -- it's a non-stop screech-fest in our house), it didn't materialize. The little family flew out here to visit friends and family and when I got an invite to a baby shower for them, I knew I had to make something pronto.

So, I dug out my trusty Aranzi Aronzo books. I wanted to make something from the more recent Baby Stuff, but the dolls that I wanted to make (made out of terry cloth) were a little too small for what I had planned. So, I used the Grey Cat pattern from Cute Dolls, with a few mods. I used an old towel for the body to make him nice and cuddly.

As you can see, he turned out a little... wonky. One leg is way shorter than the other (huh?) and he's pretty floppy. Luckily, the parents are the kind of people who can appreciate such a thing. He's a little creepy, but pretty cute. And hopefully little Aurora will love him too.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Corks and Cupcakes

I actually made this a little while ago, but we finally put it up. It's not much -- just a plain corkboard covered with some fabric I picked up from Sew Mama Sew. Our new kitchen has a stainless steel fridge in it, which looks awesome, but is not magnetic. Which not only means that our magnetic letters have no home, but there's no place to put invitations, Ruby art, or little pictures. We have one spot on our kitchen wall that isn't taken up by window or cabinets, so up the corkboard went.

I didn't do anything too fancy -- no criss-crossing ribbons or trim. I just tacked down the fabric with some spray adhesive and then stapled the fabric to the back of the cork. Easy peasy. There are a few bubbles and I'm not convinced the fabric is really well adhered to the cork, but it'll have stuff stuck to it most of the time (especially with Ruby's art camp starting up this week), so it doesn't matter too much. And if the fabric comes off, we'll either stick it back on or switch it up.

And... I think I'm going to have to change the name of this blog to Elizaboothy and Cupcakes. I tried another recipe from the Cupcakes book and, again, am slightly disappointed. I did the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcakes and aside from the fact that I popped some of the peanut butter topping into my mouth while it was still scalding hot (and I believe, destroyed a filling that will now result in root canal), I wasn't thrilled. The peanut butter filling/topping boiled over in the oven, creating a mess and some weird craters in the cakes. Also, the filling was pretty delicious warm, but the cakes weren't nearly as good at room temp. I am determined to make a great cupcake from this book though, so I'm going to keep trying. Mayhaps something plainer with a really good buttercream. That always does the trick.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Love, Canadian Style

Nothing says "Happy Birthday Canada" like driving a couple hours outside of the city and attending a small town Canada Day parade. Family was visited, beer was drank, cupcakes were eaten, and dirt roads were driven. For all of those celebrating your own country's birthday this weekend, take some time to savour the small things. xoxo