Monthly Archives: October 2009

Happy Halloween Weekend!

I have no idea where the month of October went – it is unbelievable that Halloween is tomorrow.

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fireplace arrangement

In the spirit of things, I’m sharing a little photo shoot of our fireplace. M painted this wonderful vampire portrait (I’m not entirely sure if it’s Dracula or not, but he’s definitely spooky). My contribution to the scene is 3 of my Etsy shop sculptures – the “Dusk” vase, the “Spiky Red Orb“, and the “Sherbet Swirl” (it’s fun to see how easily they lend themselves to the Halloween vibe).

Not to be left out – our brass candleholders with spooky red-dripped wax. And as a more autumnal touch, I collected heaps of chestnuts from the neighborhood and arranged them in two adorable green dessert bowls from Anthropologie.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

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Fun DIY wedding bunting

For several months now I have been slowly planning my wedding (M and I got engaged in April). We ended up choosing a long engagement – we knew we wanted an outdoor (and therefore) summer wedding, but we weren’t sure we wanted to rush the planning and get married that summer. A year-plus engagement seemed very long to me (and sometimes still does), but it has meant that I have lots of time to plan, do craft projects, search thrift stores, etc for all the ideas that have developed for the special day.

festive bunting!

festive bunting!

Here is a project that is so simple to do, it just takes a bit of time. After seeing many examples of weddings (via my favorite wedding blogs) that incorporated bunting flags into the decor, I got my heart set on using the idea as well. It’s the kind of thing that literally makes me clap my hands and squeal with glee. ^_^

So here’s how I went about doing this project:

I wanted the flags to incorporate our wedding colors – navy blue and light-light green, and also some coordinating patterned fabric. Instead of going to the fabric store, I hit up Goodwill (recycling? check; right price? check). I found 4-5 nice pillowcases in the right colors – just 99 cents each! Sweet!

I also found 3 big spools of 1.5″ ribbon (a cool vintage lace!) for only $2.99. (I also found some double bias tape, which I didn’t end up using).

The first step, now that I had my supplies, was to make an isosceles triangle template for the flags. All you need to do is get a piece of paper, fold it in half, and cut out a diagonal line – corner to top. Unfold your paper to see your triangle. You can continue to tweak the shape (cutting while folded) until you get the triangle you like.

Lay your template on your fabric and cut out as many triangles as you need. My 5 pillowcases actually gave me plenty of flags to work with.

flags all ready to go

flags all ready to go

I decided not to use the bias tape, since it turned out I didn’t have enough length. Instead, I took my ribbon, and ironed the full length in half (so it was like I had a 3/4″ bias tape – plus the ribbon is much more decorative).

I decided I wanted 6″ of space between each flag, so I pinned each flag into the fold of the ribbon at 6″ apart, alternating the colors of the flags as I went. I also made sure to leave some extra length of ribbon at each end so they could be tied up.

Then, I simply went to the sewing machine and made a clean line from one end to the other!

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sewing the flags to ribbon

You can also see I did a zig-zag stitch in contrasting thread to outline the flags – it’s up to you if you want to add this detail!

So that’s it! Hang it up and enjoy!

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so festive!

Strings of bunting are simple to assemble, but they do take some time to do. I made three 22-foot-long strands for my project, but I did it in phases (I found my materials one day, cut the triangles another day, and assembled it all on yet another day).

Bunting is so cheerful, fun, and festive! I’m looking forward to seeing them hung up on my wedding day. ^_^

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Reviving the knitting needles

My old roommate (as well as a couple of old coworkers) taught me the basics of knitting a few years back. When I first learned, I jumped into knitting headfirst – although, I never got into anything more advanced than a hat. Scarves were a speciality. I never achieved any real level of expertise, however, and I haven’t really touched my knitting needles for two years.

But, it’s been getting cold here now – you can feel winter right around the corner – and for some reason, the urge to knit arose.

rainbow knitting

rainbow knitting

As you can see, I chose the most hideous yarn in my collection to start with. This rainbow blend was inherited from a friend’s mother’s stash when she found out I had started knitting way-back-when. Despite its awfulness – you have to admit it’s kind of awesome in a funny sort of way.

Anyways, my plan for this humble swatch is to make a pair of fingerless mittens. The pattern that inspired me actually called for knitting in the round, but I’m not equipped to do that. So, I figure, folding a long rectangle and sewing up the sides, with a hole for the thumb – same diff!

In any case, it’s been fun doing a little knitting again, and I’ll be sure to post the surely awesome results when my mittens are complete.

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Coconut Walnut Pumpkin Raisin Bars

coconut walnut pumkin raisin bars

coconut walnut pumpkin raisin bars

Yes, there is a lot going on in these bars. But sooooooo yummy! I had the dilemma of some leftover pumpkin pie puree in the fridge that I needed to use up, so I found a few promising recipes on the web, and then modified them into this recipe! I find that I almost never follow a recipe exactly (unless perhaps I’m using my beloved Joy of Cooking); one of my main substitutions is for sugar – any time I can, I will use other natural sweeteners because refined white sugar (and white flour, for that matter) is so bad for you!

So here’s the recipe! Perfect for breakfast or a snack on an autumn day!

Coconut Walnut Pumpkin Raisin Bars

1 cup date sugar*

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or from the can)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup walnuts

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp sea salt

(*date sugar is a great substitute for white sugar in baking – it has a slightly molasses-like flavor. You can find it at natural foods stores, or you can make it yourself! I took a large amount of dried dates, chopped them into pellet-sized pieces, and then baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. They’ll get really hard once cooled. In batches, grind the dates in a coffee-grinder or food processor until fine.)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together your dry ingredients and set aside.

Pulse your coconut and walnuts in a food processor, for a finer consistency. If you like a chunkier bar, simply chop by hand.

In a large bowl, stir together the date sugar, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, applesauce, and vanilla until combined.

Add the coconut/walnut mixture to the wet mixture.

Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until combined (this will be more like a dough than a batter).

Spread evenly in a greased 8×8 pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool, then cut into squares, and enjoy!

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Meet Clement

I’d like to introduce you to Clement – my beloved jade plant. I enjoy all kinds of plants, but there is something special about jades – they are just so easy to love! Those big fleshy leaves, bright green color, so easy to care for. They just seem cheerful!

Starting my final year of college back in ’03 I became fixated on the idea of having a jade in my dorm room. I assumed this would be no problem to do, since back home you could find these little guys in any grocery store with a plant section. However, attending a school in northern Indiana, I found out that they would not be so common. After treking around to general stores and every nursery in the area, I almost gave up hope. But at a last resort, I found my little jade through Ebay (of all places). A fellow in California mailed him out to me, wrapped in damp newspaper. Here’s Clement when I first got him.

[baby clement]

baby clement

I named him Clement, for my grandfather, who had passed away relatively recently. I hope you won’t think it disrespectful of me. It was a way for me to keep his memory close.

 

So it’s been several years now, and Clement is still with me, going strong (even after many moves, one being cross-country in a van filled with stuff!). And it’s been so fun watching him grow, and even propagating a few mini-Clements along the way. Here he is now in our living room window.

 

clement 2009

clement 2009

Isn’t he huge?? My hope is he’ll grow into a huge tree (they can get quite big, with huge trunks), and my best hope is I’ll get him to flower one day. Jades bloom so beautifully! Clusters of tiny star-shaped flowers that are so sweet. This is why I named my Etsy site Jadeflower – for the hope that the most precious and beautiful things are yet to come, but always hoped for.

jade flowers

jade flowers

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So Here I Am

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and I think I am finally going to just take the plunge and start my own personal blog.  Perhaps the world doesn’t need another silly person putting up their thoughts for all to see, but here it is!

I’m hoping to use this space as a venue to share what I’m doing. Of course it will be linked to what I’m doing with my art and ceramic work on my Etsy shop (conveniently called Jadeflower as well). This will be a way for me to show what I’m working on currently or what my inspiration is.

This blog will also, undoubtedly, be a home for all the hodge podge of crafty projects I can’t seem to live without! Maybe we’ll see some tutorial-type posts showing random arts & crafts project or fun recipes I’m making.

Anyhow, I’m excited to see where this road takes me, and if it’s nothing more than recording a little bit of my life, then that’s just peachy keen so long as I enjoy the ride!

Free Bird

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