Monthly Archives: November 2009

Goodnight, November

I don’t know about you, but my Thanksgiving week was all I could have hoped for. It was a time to relax, while at the same time, run around like crazy: baking pies, driving all over the place, hanging out with family and friends, not to mention feasting and fun games of Apples To Apples (my youngest cousin’s favorite game – she’s 9).

So, quick updates from last week –

The PHS Choir Russia-Tour benefit concert was a huge success (in my opinion). The Concert Choir and Norselanders put on a 2-hour show. SO impressive! Most of the pieces were a cappella (i.e. no accompaniment), all the music was totally memorized, and every song was fantastic! It made me very proud to be a PHS choir alum.

PHS Choir with Director Mr. Guenther

Some of my favorite moments from the evening were Norselanders doing an arrangement of the Postal Service song “Such Great Heights” (so awesome!), a Billy Joel song that was just beautiful (“And So It Goes”), and some of my favorite pieces from when I was in Concert Choir – “How Can I Keep From Singing” and “Praise His Holy Name.”

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During the week, I worked lightly on a few crafty and wedding-related projects, some of which I’ll get to later this week…

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Wednesday night, M and I went to his parents’ house for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner which was lovely! We’re going to have to start doing this whole “share holidays with both families” from now on. πŸ™‚

Thanksgiving Table

On Thanksgiving Day, M and I made our way south to my parents’ house, which was filled with family – my grandparents, my uncle with his wife & my three lovely cousins from the Portland area, my older brother, and then M & me.
In true Guenther tradition, we had happy hour around 2:00 with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. We even got a few games of poker (small change only, of course), something we used to do all the time as kids at Grampa’s house.
Dinner was fabulous, and it was so great to spend time with family!

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Filed under Day to Day, Holidays, Uncategorized

A foggy Tuesday Morning

At the moment, I’m at my lovely parents’ house, and the fog is thick outside in the valley. It’s an eerie scene, but hopefully it will burn off and we’ll have some nice fall weather. The grandfolks are doing really well, and it’s so great to spend some good time with them. We’re planning to all go out for breakfast in a minute, which I hope they’ll enjoy.

Being that I’m away from my normal computer and don’t have all my picture equipment here with me, I think I will hold off on my planned posts until I can do them properly. So to all, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Really hold in your heart all the important things of which you have to be thankful. I know for sure, this year I am so thankful for my Papa George and Grandma Mary. πŸ™‚

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A Crafty Weekend

Lots of crafting was done this weekend, but for today, I just want to write a little post about how the Shoreline Holiday Craft Market went.

It was a long day – getting up at 6, to be ready to leave by 7, to get to the Spartan Rec Center in Shoreline by 7:30 to start setting up. My lovely booth-partner Kimi and I carpooled,Β and when we arrived weΒ were thoroughly impressed with the number of vendors that this craft market was hosting, and lots of quality fun stuff! (There was definitely some quirky, odd, and kitschy stuff as well, but all in the festive spirit)

So Jadeflower and Enoki Designs teamed up for the day, and we had a fun time manning our table and periodically wandering around to other people’s booths.

jadeflower + enoki designs

The market got quite a bit of foot traffic, so we were certainly pleased with that. It’s so much harder to be a vendor at an event when no one shows up! Kimi’s earrings got lots of attention, as did my ceramic brooches.

jadeflower ceramic brooches, wine charms & stoppers

However, though lots of people admired our Christmas ornaments (Kimi made some too), no one bought a single one! We thought the ornaments would be the big seller! Oh well, live and learn. πŸ™‚

(By the way, the wine glass was to demonstrate the alphabet charms – I wasn’t drinking on the job, haha)

It’s inspiring to see all these other people who want to share their art with others (and, I suppose, hopefully make some money). Kimi and I really enjoy teaming up for these kinds of events – we are tentatively planning a 1st-Thursday Pioneer Square art walk appearance in the next few months. I’ll be sure to announce the details once we figure it out!

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Lots of events coming up this weekend! I’m going to be one busy bee πŸ™‚

First off, the Shoreline Holiday Crafts Market is on Saturday, and it’s sure to be a great time.

I can’t wait to see what other folks are selling, and of course, I hope people like what I have to offer! (Really, Kimi’s and my booth is going to be fantastic!) And there’s nothing like a craft fair to get you in the holiday spirit, plus they’ll have hourly door prizes. So please, if you’re in the Shoreline, north Seattle area, come check this out!

The other big event that I’m attending is the PHS Choir To Russia with Love concert at the Puyallup High School auditorium. As I mentioned in this post, the choir is travelling to Russia over spring break, and they need all the support they can get. The concert is guaranteed to be very entertaining, and you’ll be helping them in their travel goal by attending. Give these kids an experience of a lifetime! For all the details on the concert, check out my other post!

On a more personal note, my wonderful grandparents are flying out from Wisconsin this weekend and will celebrate Thanksgiving with the West Coasters. We’re so excited to have them visit! I’m really looking forward to spending time with them next week, because really, every moment is precious.

I’ll be signing off for the week to gear up for this weekend. Wish me luck, and I’ll be sure to have lots of pictures from the weekend to share on Monday!

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Filed under Day to Day, Etsy, Events, Holidays, Jadeflower Ceramics

Faux Latte…mmmm

Living in Seattle, coffee is about as ubiquitous as the rain. Everyone drinks coffee (well, ok, I know of a few exceptions, and more power to them). Now, I’m not a coffee addict. I could just as easily drink decaf as the regular stuff. But I do have a major fondness for the latte. It is my coffeehouse drink of choice, and I always feel it’s a luxury to have one (it doesn’t even need to be a flavored one). That rich foam, the intensity of the espresso….

But! A daily latte fix can be expensive, to say the least. While M and I don’t own an espresso machine (…yet…) we do have a regular coffee maker, and we’ve developed a method for making faux lattes for a morning treat every once in a while. And here I’ll share the process!

First we brew a strong pot of coffee (not too much, since there’s only two of us).

brew that coffee

Next, into two mugs, we add about 1/4 cup of milk, half & half, or soy milk (depending on what we have around). This time, we used vanilla soy milk, yummmm.

soy milk in mugs

Then, (because in a real latte, the milk is steamed), we pop the mugs in the microwave for about 35-40 seconds. You can also do this in a pan on the stove if you’re adverse to the microwave.

Once the milk is nice and warm, I like to add a little agave nectar to sweeten it up a bit. Agave is an excellent sweetener and so good in coffee!

adding agave is optional

Now comes the most crucial element of making this pretend latte. A key tool you need, is a milk frother. I bought ours ages ago at IKEA – it’s called PRODUKT, and it only cost $1.99 (and we’ve gotten so much use out of it!).

produkt

Now the fun starts…you just put the end of the frother in the milk, and turn it on! The milk starts to foam up from the vibration of the wand.

frothing the milk

Once your milk is nice and foamy, pour in your coffee. It will cut straight through the foam.

adding coffee

Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your rich, foamy, coffee-loving beverage. And the best thing is, it costs just pennies to make. While I still love the luxury of getting a barista-made latte, our improvised homemade version ain’t half bad πŸ™‚

faux latte with cinnamon

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Wedding Bliss

As expected, Saturday’s wedding of Chris and Brynne Ann was absolutely beautiful. BA is a very classy, designerly lady, so we could be sure every detail was thought out and gorgeous! I just want to post a few highlights from the day – and I’m sure my pics will be nothing compared with the ones their photographer (Sheila Addleman) took. I can’t wait to see the professional pictures!

So here’s a short recap of the day – the ceremony took place in the chapel of St. James Cathedral – a lovely and intimate setting. Then everyone moved to the reception across the street at the elegant Sorrento Hotel – top floor, and we partied into the evening!

St James Cathedral Chapel

stained glass window at the chapel of st. james

Sorrento Hotel

reception at the sorrento hotel

calla lily

calla lily boutonniere

autumnal arrangement

beautiful autumnal flower arrangement

guests mingling

guests mingling at cocktail hour

seattle skyline

seattle skyline

table arrangements

elegant table arrangements

The guests of honor hid themselves away all during the cocktail hour, and made a dramatic entrance once everyone was settled in the dining room. It was a very memorable moment!

bride and groom

the bride and groom make their entrance

wedding cake

the lovely couple and the cake

dance floor

the dance floor was hoppin'

last dance

the last dance

The bride was simply stunning, and though the whole affair oozed class and charm, it was a truly fun event and everyone had a good time – it doesn’t get any better than that! So to Chris and Brynne Ann, I’m so glad I could be there to witness this day, and I know your happiness will grow forever and ever! Congratulations!!!

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A wedding weekend!

This weekend will prove to be quite busy, I expect – two of our friends are tying the knot on Saturday, and M is in the wedding party, so he has lots to do, and I get to tag along. πŸ™‚

Tonight is the rehearsal, and tomorrow we’ll be seeing our friends get married at St. James Cathedral (in the chapel) and then the reception is at a downtown hotel. I know it will be beautiful and a very fun time. Hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to share on Monday.

Till then, have a great weekend!

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To video or not to video

When M & I started talking about actual plans for our upcoming wedding, one thing that we agreed on was that we didn’t need a videographer. Because really, who actually watches their wedding video more than maybe once? And certainly, other people aren’t going to watch it. Plus, I definitely feel (as a guest) that having someone with a video camera in your face is a bit off-putting.

That said, there are a few examples out there in the blogosphere that could change my mind…and prompted me to search for one of these on Ebay…

Bell & Howell 8mm video camera

Bell & Howell 8mm video camera

Oh, and I sure got this camera for a steal! I won it for $1 plus shipping (yessssss). It’s an old-school 8mm film video camera, and it sure is fun! I don’t have film for it yet (and that may prove to be a challenge to find some), but playing around with it and learning how it works from the awesome instruction manual is worth it in itself.

P1010876

doesn't she look so happy?

My main inspiration was from a wedding that 100 Layer Cake posted back in August, and I wish my wedding could be just like it! Check it out HERE – the pictures are amazing, I love the atmosphere, and down at the bottom of the post is this wonderful little 8mm film that is put to music (Sigur Ros, no less). Watch it – it’s great.
I love the vintage vibe that the film has, and it makes me think that this would be something I’d love to revisit time and again once the wedding has come and gone.

And a more recent posting on Green Wedding Shoes has this great post which is also a very vintage-looking 8mm video set to music. *Sigh* so romantic. πŸ™‚

So, who knows. If I can figure out a way to make my new (old) camera work and find a stash of 8mm film for it, who knows? I may just go the route of a teensy bit of videography at my wedding. We shall see…

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How to make your own wine charms

I’ve been working like mad, getting ready for this craft fair that’s coming up in ten days. I’ll be showing a lot of new items that aren’t on my Etsy site yet, so the folks at the Shoreline Holiday Market will be getting the first dibs (those lucky people!).

One of my newest additions to the Jadeflower line is Alphabet Wine Charms. These charms are great, especially with all those holiday parties coming up, and you want people to keep track of which glass is theirs. The beauty of the Alphabet is that people can use an initial from their name, rather than remembering “oh yeah, mine was the starfish.”

Wine charms are simple to make and can be as varied in style as real jewelry, so have fun with it! I kept mine simple, focusing on the handmade letter charms that I made.

How to do it:

1) Gather your materials:
wine charm materials*a length of sturdy wire
*wire cutters
*round pliers
*needle nose pliers
*something cylindrical to wrap the wire around (I used a highlighter pen)
*beads, pendants, etc to adorn your charms

With your wire-cutter, cut the wire into uniform lengths, slightly longer than your cylinder circumference. Now you’re ready for the next step.

2) Make your end-loop:
wireGrasp the end of the wire with your round pliers. In a fluid motion, wrap the wire around the end of the pliers until you have formed your loop.
(This loop holds your charm closed when then other end is hooked into it)

3) Form your hoop/circle for the charm.
wire-circleUsing your cylinder as a guide, wrap the wire around until you’ve formed your circle shape. Note: You want some overlap.

4) Add your beads, pendants, etc to the wire circle.
P1010868Once you have strung on your beads, take your needle-nose pliers and turn the end of your wire circle up at a 90 degree angle – this will keep your beads from escaping, and it also serves as the closing hook for your charm.

5) You’re done! Admire your work and have a drink!
P1010869

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New Tile Floor – a weekend project

What a weekend! It was very productive, to be sure, but man am I tired! Mainly I can’t believe how sore my knees and quads are from all the kneeling I had to do to put down this new tile floor. But the result is so great, it’s worth it. Here’s a little picture recap of the work my mom and I did in just over one day.

First off, we cleared out the room, here’s a shot just before the bed and area rug came out.
P1010849Don’t you just love that wallpaper mural?? ^_^

And here’s the room, all emptied and ready to go! We made sure to wash the concrete really well to get up any grime or residue that could compromise the adherence of the thin-set.
P1010852(Yes, this is the floor when it’s clean – you can see why it needed to be refinished)

Next, we measured the room into quadrants by finding the center of each wall and stringing two guidelines that bisected the middle. From there we measured out how much of a cut we would need around the perimeter of the room. With our portable wet tile saw, we cut out the edging pieces so we’d be all ready to lay them out with the rest of the full-sized tiles.
P1010854
Then, with the lines as our guides, we started in the far quadrant, using 1/8″ spacers between the tiles.
P1010856
And here we are further along:
P1010858
And, finished!
P1010859
We still need to grout the floor – but that will have to wait for another day…I just may have to miss that party.
But once the grout is in, and the base molding is installed (a white painted wood trim), this room is going to feel brand new! No more icky concrete! That’ll be a nice improvement.

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