Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nothing Revolutionary . . .


. . . but I picked up some wider ribbon end clamps at Fire Mountain Gems the other day so that I could make my Portrait Pearl style necklaces with wider ribbons.

I would have loved to find some posh, hand dyed silk ribbons. I know I can get those at F&S Fabrics near my office, but it was the weekend and Joann's was closer. (<- Lazy Etsyian!)

I picked up a wide pearl grey satin, a spool of red plaid ribbon (LOVE!) and a length of black lace and made them all up into necklaces on Sunday. I'm not 100% convinced that I love them though. Blogfriends: What do you think?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reuseable Makeup Remover Pads


I noticed this neat project at Out of the Crayon Box a few months ago and it has been on my to-do list ever since. I've always felt crummy about tossing cotton balls every night when I take off my makeup . . . I tried washcloths for a while but leaving a wet washcloth out in the bathroom for a day then wiping my EYEBALLS with it seemed like asking for trouble. These handmade mini pads are a great middle ground: they're small enough to use once then toss in the wash and sturdy enough to last for several months.

Plus? I made them in PIRATE FABRIC. A little pirate awesomeness injected into my everyday routine. Now that is pretty cool.

The fabric was a Joann's find. There are a slew of fun flannel prints at most Joann stores, one sale over the weekend for $5.99 at my local shop. From 1/4 of a yard, I was able to make 10 makeup pads. The whole project took about 30 minutes . . . cheap and quick! I dare say, even quicker and cheaper than running to the drugstore for cotton balls.

So far the pads have been working out really well. They're softer on my eyes than cotton and they do a great job of wiping up all my makeup. I'm thinking they might make neat holiday gifts as well: A set of 10 or so packed up in a mesh laundry bag for washing with a jar of Ponds cold cream.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pig Newton's Plaid Pants

My parents were digging around in their attic the other day pulling down the Halloween decorations (which they dutifully put up even though it was A HUNDRED DEGREES THIS WEEKEND MY GOD). While in the attic they found a few boxes of my kid books that they pulled down for giggles. I went through the boxes yesterday, and among various other awesomeness (a TRON pop up book, The Monster At The End of This Book, Mickey's Haunted House (with a, hopefully, still operational cassette tape!)) we found one of my biggest childhood faves, Pig Newton's Plaid Pants.

I took the book home and re-read it last night, expecting it to be cute, but not realizing quite how awesome it always was. Pig Newton sees a portrait of his Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Sir Pig Newton, decked out in the MacNewton plaids and decides he's gonna have to get his hands on a pair of plaid pants. (Bonus! Awesome falling apple / Isaac Newton physics reference!)

Pig Newton's uncle makes him a pair of plaid pants, which Pig Newton immediately starts wearing with his old standby striped and polka dotted shirts. He might look a little loud at times, as his mom and teacher and classmates keep telling him, but Pig Newton thinks he looks GOOD. And frankly, so do I.

Pig Newton's dad, who does the household laundry (go, Pig Newton's dad!) isn't sure whether to put Pig's new plaid pants in the lights load or the darks load . . . so, ever resourceful, Pig Newton offers to wash them himself. By hand. Every night. Such a trooper!

One morning, though, Pig Newton wakes to find his beloved plaid pants missing from the clothesline outside his bedroom window. Devestated, poor little Pig Newton goes to school where he finds his classmates have taken his plaid pants and put them on a scarecrow. Pig's tailor uncle tells him the pants are ruined beyond repair . . .but he takes a few measurements and tells Pig to come back in a week.

A week later, Pig is thrilled to find that his uncle has sewn him an all new, all plaid wardrobe! Pig Newton gets to wear his plaid! He has plaid shirts to go with his plaid pants so he no longer clashes! Pig Newton's dad can split the laundry into lights, darks and plaids! Everyone is happy!

And Pig Newton learns a valuable lesson: "If you like something long enough, sooner or later your friends and family will find something to like about it too."

How freaking cute is that?!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reading

Since I certainly haven't been WRITING much over here lately, right? Sorry . . . it has been up around 100 degrees every day over here and I've hit the breaking point I hit every September. I want to wear the cuddly warm sweaters I see in store windows and make pumpkin bread and SOUP and crunch leaves under my boots but nooooo. Not yet, for me at least. In other words: I am feeling kind of bleh.

Of course the best way to deal with bleh is to hunker down in the evenings with a book and a cup of (iced) (mint) tea, right? Which is what I've been doing.

Highlights!:

The Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark: I picked this up on a sale table at Borders because it was $3 and I saw the words "Great Fire" and "London" on the back cover. I didn't expect to like it nearly as much as I did, but I have to say this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It is just Gothic and creepy enough and Clark's writing style is unbelievably visual. At one point while I was reading this book, I had an incredibly (dorky and) realistic dream about flying over London in the 1700's. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

Then I, uh, read that last Twilight book. It was, uh, pretty good. (*embarrassed*)

Moving on! London Calling by Edward Bloor. This was another sale table find (although found on a different sale table. I frequent bookstores. And sales.) It is technically a "young adult" book which really just means I was expecting a quick, light and fun read. The novel does get into some pretty heavy territory though (alcoholism, The Blitz, MURDER). Hands down my favorite parts of this book were the scenes that took place at York Minster, one of my favorite places on earth. I love, love, love reading historical novels that are set in places I've been. It adds a whole additional layer to the experience of reading an event when you can accurately picture the very room it is taking place in.

Next! The Queen's Sorrow by Suzannah Dunn. I had read and really loved The Queen of Subtleties, also by Suzannah Dunn (which took place mostly in the kitchens of Hampton Court Palace, which, hello. So obvs. I enjoyed that one.) This novel though had an ending that really pissed me off. Does that ever happen to you? Perfectly fine book but then the ending is just so WRONG? So that is what happened when I read this book: I hated the ending ergo I don't have that many nice things to say about the book. I suppose there were many scenes that took place at Hampton Court Palace so there's something.

On to . . . Julie and Julia. I had seen the movie (my mother in law's pick) and the book was a gift from my sister in law and I can't really say that I would've picked up either on my own but the book I did quite like. Moreso than the movie One thing very much appreciated was that the book was NOT just a compilation of blog entries. It was an actual, honest to goodness novel with a storyline, which just seems like the right thing for a book to be, no matter if a blogger wrote it.

And, most recently, The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (which I waited in a HUGE line at Borders for the day it came out.) Yes, yes, of course I liked The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. Both quite fun reads. I REALLY like Deception Point. It is safe to say I've enjoyed reading everything Dan Brown has written, and The Lost Symbol was no exception. It doesn't, however, rate #1 on my list of "best loved Dan Brown books". It actually ranks, um, last. Which is still a higher ranking than A GREAT VERY MANY BOOKS ever acchieve with me. It isn't that The Lost Symbol wasn't good, just that it wasn't my favorite of Brown's. Sorry, buddy, you set the bar too high. Will still read your next novel the week it comes out though so pls. write quickly, kthxbai!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Making the most of the Annual Pass

On Sunday, seeing that my friend Tara and I both have Annual Passes to Disneyland and seeing also that our husbands are both Disney-tolerating-but-not-loving curmudgeonly types, we decided to make a trip out to the park together, just the two of us.

Tara and I have been friends since first grade. FIRST GRADE! That is 24 years of friendship, people. Insanity. And to celebrate those 24 years, we spent all of yesterday morning and afternoon acting once again like six year olds.

Six year olds with cars and credit cards, that is. Much more fun that way.

We ate an extremely irresponsible breakfast:


Rode our fair share of kiddie rides:


Including Small World, which neither of us had ridden in at least a decade and on which we somehow managed to snag OUR VERY OWN PRIVATE BOAT.


Goofed off at Mickey's Toontown abode:


And fell completely in love with the adorable Heffalumps on Winne The Pooh's ride:


Also: Two trips on Pirates (one at the front of the boat!), Snow White's Scary Adventures (which is REALLY scary, yo), Alice In Wonderland (but not the yak-tastic Teacups), A round trip tour aboard the Disneyland Railroad, Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, Roger Rabbit's CarToon Spin, greasy popcorn, lunch on Main Street, salt water taffy and noticing that Snow White appears to be the "in" princess costume this season.

Fun, fun!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Clinique Bonus!


I love a good makeup bonus . . . and it has been quite a while since I've come across one as good as the Clinique bonus going on at Bloomingdales right now. It is seriously HUGE. I don't know if its technically bigger than the usual bonus, or if it just seems bigger because it is completely lacking in the filler department (dumb yellow moisturizer, I AM LOOKING AT YOU!). Even the bag is totally adorable and usable.

To get the bonus, I bought a Vitamin C Lip Smoothie in Absolute Acai. The gloss is super moisturizing and really shiny, even when I apply it in a thin, non gloppy coat. I also bought a Quick Eyes Cream Shadow in Muffin. Back in the day, Clinique Quick Eyes was a lipstick like twist up tube of cream shadow. There was a color called Coffee something . . . a medium brown that made blue eyes totally pop. It was MAGICAL. And I am gutted that they've discontinued it. The new Quick Eyes is nice in that it lasts much, much longer than the old stuff used to, but I still miss my old favorite color!

The bonus itself is packed to the gills with good bits:

- A sample of 7 Day Scrub

- A little tube of Even Better Skin Tone Corrector, which at first use is a really fantastic, smoothing serum. I'm going to keep using it for a few days before I decide whether I love it or not, but so far so good!

- A mini Blushwear Cream Stick in Rosy Blush, Having dry skin, I'm a sucker for cream blush. The color of this one is sheer and blends beautifully.

- A Color Surge Eyeshadow duo in Pink Slate, pretty much my all time favorite powder shadow. This formula lasts for eons and has just the right amount of shimmer.

- Long Lasting Glosswear SPF 15 in Tenderheart, which I found surprisingly, but not unpleasantly, opaque. And which gets bonus points for having SPF!

- Lipstick in Blushing Nude, which, when I do wear lipstick, is exactly the shade I'd want to wear. Clinique is great for it's myriad of neutral lipstick shades.

And, lastly, - Lash Doubling Mascara in black which I've used twice now and which doesn't smudge AT ALL.

Whew. That was a LOT of stuff, right?!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lapis

I've been feeling really caught up in Etsy matters lately. I've spent many long nights making new styles for the shop and I've got a nice little stockpile going. So I decided to take some time on Sunday over the Labor Day weekend to make myself something pretty from silver. Making things for me or for friends, for fun, and at leisure is really my favorite kind of making!

I hadn't set a stone in a while but this pendant came together pretty quickly. I started the setting before dinner on Sunday, let it sit in the pickle while we walked to get Italian food, and finished it off after having napped on the deck for a bit. It's funny how this piece came together that way . . . just sort of spackled in to the rest of the things I was doing that day!

I cut the back plate large and filed it into an egg shape, to mirror the stone's shape. I used my flex shaft to drill a bail hole (first time I've used the flex shaft to drill!) and sawed and filed the hole into an arched shape.

I've worn it a few times already and I love how it came out! I've still got some experimenting to do before I figure out the perfect way to attach bails to set cabochons as pendants, but this wound up being a fun, workable solution!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend


Boy and I hosted a BBQ on Saturday night, our first (if you can believe that!) since we redid our rooftop deck. The thing about rooftops in the Summer in Los Angeles is that they're pretty much 8,000 degrees at all times. We busted our butts trying to get the deck done "in time for Summer" only to realize that we couldn't really use it until the END of Summer. Heh.

It was worth waiting for, though! We have seating for six and made a run for a few additional chairs and tray tables. We were able to very comforatably have dinner for EIGHT up there. Honestly, we could've even fit a few more. I made teriyaki tofu skewers, baked black beans, a pile of snap peas and a Dutch apple pie FROM SCRATCH that I totallly forgot to take a photo of. My sister-in-law brought a great green salad, my mom made a tomato and mozzerella salad and my father in law, having just got back from a fishing trip, brought some fish for the non-veggies among us (i.e.: everyone but me, really).


The whole night went off without a hitch and Boy and I are thrilled to know we really do have the room to host large-ish dinner parties without making people sit on the floor.

At one point during the BBQ, my dad asked if Boy and I had ever SLEPT on the roof. Guys, seriously? I've never slept outside IN MY LIFE. I am an indoor kind of girl. But something about his suggestion intrigued Boy and I both so on Sunday night we dragged our air mattress upstairs and pulled out our portable DVD player, a Fawlty Towers DVD and the last of the apple pie. It was ABSURDLY fun. Movie night outside! Brilliant!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I totally made a pie

A pie! From scratch! I know!

From a Smitten Kitchen recipe, obvs. Tomato and Corn Pie with a few modifications: I used sour cream instead of mayonnaise (because BLECH!?! And you know what? It could've done without the sour cream in any event.). I didn't peel the tomatoes, not because I'm a lazy cook but because I'm a lazy INSTRUCTIONS READER. Missed that step entirely, but I didn't feel the pie was any worse for wear. I just mixed the tomato, corn, cheese and herbs together rather than layering them. And! I made a fancy lattice crust because I saw Alton Brown demonstrate one a few weeks ago and, really? This was more or less the sole reason for me making a pie. It's fancy!

It came out of the oven and husband said "You made that?" then halfway through eating he said "You BOUGHT the crust, right?" But NOPE! Didn't! Made it all from scratch and it was gorgeous, delicious and will most likely be made again soon!

Up next on the pie front: Dutch Apple for a BBQ boy and I are hosting this weekend. Anyone have a good recipe to share? There are tons out there, but none from my usual, trusted sources. I'd love a recommendation if you've got one!