to my online home for creative pursuits. Here I share projects in memory keeping, home arts, my inspirations, and a heaping tablespoon of the everyday. Thanks for stopping by.
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Possibly the best line from a rather mediocre movie: Smart People.
Ive been feeling mentally stuck somewhere between summer and Christmas.
Our garden patch still yields fresh roma tomatoes, until Monday I was wearing flip flops, and there's that nagging summer book just waiting for a bit more narrative text. Then the temps dropped and the wind blew and my music choices and thoughts began to pull me toward the latter with an unstoppable force.
Historically I've had trouble getting into a Halloween frame of mind, and this year is no exception. My best friend, Carrie (Hi Carrie!), loves Halloween with a passion and during what I would refer to as my 'drinking days' (more commonly as one's twenties) she was able to coerce me into some interesting, quickly assembled themes. There was the painted cardboard placard as a credit card, head-to-toe silver space cadets, the borrowed felt ducks, and then when she married, she and her husband partied as two of the hippest, color-coordinated nerds leaving me to wear my painted foam box of french fries all by my lonely self. I think that was the last year for me. Hands down though, Halloween seemed more exciting as a young adult amidst the dance-floor zombies out-horrifying each other, vying for a year's supply of free drinks or the $100 cash second place.
And so ... I've procrastinated all week about stitching up some pieces for a child's witch costume. A job that (as history repeats itself) was accomplished in a hurried fashion, however this time came complete with some useful self-taught lessons on my poor neglected Huskvarna Viking.
When my daughter happily became a sparkly, self-proclaimed "princess witch" for her school party this morning it was then that I began to feel in the trick-or-treat mood. And after choosing goodies from the seasonal remains of the grocery shelves, with the radio blasting the late, great Warren Zevon -- sunshine streaming across all those leafy golds and reds -- those childhood memories began to overshadow the crowded dance floor of my mind.
I'm enjoying today for just what it is; full of all its children's activities.
It's exciting to see so much interest in bringing the practice of baking our own breads home again. As of this moment we have 50+ participants in our bread baking group. Thank you to all who are starting to share recipes, ideas, stories, beautiful photos, and favorite cookbook titles. The important thing to remember is to make this low key and comfortable for your own participation level.
Also, I've had some good suggestions about giveaways and extras ... so group members can watch for surprises in the weeks ahead.
This weekend I'm planning some idea-gathering, making a baking 'wishlist', and possibly even some oven-lighting. It's good how this dovetails so perfectly into holiday preparations, yes?
We're all set over at flickr with a new group called 'One Good Loaf' for those who would like to bake along and share photos, recipes and tips each week. If you are new to flickr, it's very easy to establish a free account for yourself. After you are set up please send a request via the group to join. Hope to see you there.
Also, if you'd like to add an "I'm baking along" type of badge to your blog sidebar. Just right click on the image below and save it to your hard drive.
Oh, how I love a new project. This is exciting! Please let me know if there are any questions.
According to notations in the cookbook margins, the baking season has come 'round again. Last year's red ink reads: "October 29, 2007.The dough was really wet, patted it with lots of flour and shaped by hand only. no rolling pin. cut out pumpkins."Today I made adjustments.
Lately I feel there are just too few red marks against a handful of recipes, and this but one exhibit leaning against so many volumes in the cupboard's case against convenience foods. Yet just this weekend I paid $4.50 for a rosemary boule.
With the volume of breads that my kids can consume, it's time to crinkle and spot those cookbook pages on a regular basis. A fairly easy (and traditional) undertaking, bread baking casts a fragrant spell over the household. The time has come for a weekly goal.
Giving a name to a project always makes it official, and I'm calling this new weekly commitment ONE GOOD LOAF: a weekly visual diary of wheat, bran, leavening, seeds, and sweeteners.
Join me, won't you, in the exploration into our own pantry shelves? No experience necessary. Along the way we'll share our trials and successes. As we head into crisp autumnal evenings, let's fill our homes with the scent of honey and rye.
If you plan to bake along, choose any recipe (loaf, sticks, biscuits, etc.) that you like and please let me know in the comments so that we can wipe down our floured bread boards together.
Last year was a pretty simple Halloween around here. We did the usual pumpkin carving and trick or treating and that was pretty much that. Still, there were some unique moments, and there will never be another Halloween when my kids are eight, six and two. They had begun to really get into the excitement of it all, so I decided to make something special for them to remember the holiday.
This is one of those projects that's been sitting around in a folder (photos, paper, even the little details collected together) for a while. Making 'the present' book got me going again, and gave me the push I needed to just finish it already.
My solution was a handmade mini-folio, with black cardstock and photo corners like traditional scrapbooks, with a few patterns and extras.
I covered and scored a cereal box to wrap around and fold over, then secured the closure with a piece of waxed linen cord.
Each of the six main spreads includes a Halloween-themed transparency that opens to reveal the full photo below; something I bought on clearance a while ago.
... and with the transparency turned ...
Flipping through the pages today has my kids pretty fired up, and counting down: just fourteen days to go.
Smoothing on some good lotion. 1 point. If the brand you use can only be purchased someplace other than Target, or your local grocery, add 2 points.
A piece of paper and pen to jot down your own thoughts. 1 point. If the paper is in a Moleskine, or any journal of sorts, add another point. If the pen is of a particular, preferable variety, add one more.
A freshly sliced tomato with a sprinkle of kosher salt, or an apple with cheddar would do. (Substitute your own fresh fruit of choice.) 1 point.
Hearing a great vocal or instrumental: 1 point.
Making your own music: 3 points.
A good book (library books count). 1 point. If you have so many that it's hard to decide which to read first: add 2 points.
A soft place to lie. 1 point. If it has 300+ thread ct. sheets, 2 more.
A hot drink. 1 point. If the cup is called 'grande' and has a plastic lid: make it 3 points.
Receiving a hug is 3 points. If entirely unsolicited, for no known reason: it's 5 points.
I got 21.
What are your simple, affordable luxuries? What are life's little pleasures you can count on today?
After our little photo shoot yesterday, someone had the idea to bind together her geography flash cards. Helen came to me with the cover all neatly drawn and I got very excited. It's really great to see this little mind whip up her own projects, with just a bit of suggestion from mom that we take a few minutes to alphabetize them, and who found a purpose for a length of ribbon.
In her new book, Sharing Your Story, Recording Life's Details with Mini Books, Ali Edwards features several books for kids to learn from and to love. As with her previous titles, I purchased the book purely for the joy of reading about and seeing the inspiring projects. What I've found is that I'm generating ideas from its pages to serve our homeschooling activities as well. Ali's book is chock full of beautiful ideas in both regards.
Since reading is a huge focus for us, Helen also has a 'book of books' in which she creates a summary page for each new book she completes. She loves the ongoing work of this, and eagerly composes each new page. For that one we use a standard 8 x 11 binder to allow room for her young handwriting.
These little homes for her papers are just another way to engage, help keep her organized, and allow her to take ownership of her work. After all, what child doesn't enjoy making things?
Today I am giving myself the 'gift of the present time' as so wisely suggested by Stacy Julian last week.
The idea is to snap 10-12 photos that represent your life, right now. Keep the tiny collection in your purse or tote (terms are interchangeable for me, it seems), look through them frequently and then -- early next October '09 -- document your thoughts on the experience. It's an exercise in appreciation of life through photos. Love that!
Here are the photos from my weekend, plus a few recent shots from around the house:
Since the pages are intended to take a lot of handling, I printed them on canvas sheets. It's very touchable and was very fun to put together.
Now ... into the purse it goes!
materials: a cereal box (for chipboard), ink-jet canvas cloths, Office Depot (similar product, here) Everyday Twills, Ali Edwards for designer digitals, patterned paper: Carolees, Basic Grey, journaling spots: everyjotandtittle, chipboard circle: Maya Road, paint: Manila, by Making Memories, leather cord: local bead shop.
I can think of so many uses for these fun little cards: pages in a mini book, gift tags, add it to a scrapbook page ... and the colors ... perfection!
While I'm not really a big shopper, there are a few goodies that have been turning over and over in my mind that I wouldn't mind finding under the Cristmas tree this year. I happen to think that Santa reads blogs (or would certainly have elves assigned to that task) so here are a few things for his idea list:
> Provance Sante Eau de toilette, Bergamot. It's been far too long since I found a scent that seemed just right. From the moment I spritzed on the sampler in the health and beauty isle at Whole Foods this fresh, clean, mild citrus just fit. It fit!
> Prismacolor, landscape series pencils, Do you ever get the notion that having the perfect art supplies would make you a better artist? Though it crosses my mind at times, it is not true, you know. You can be an amazing artist with a #2 pencil and a torn sheet of newsprint, but still these colors are calling to me. I've been admiring this specific set in the office supply store since 'back to school' time in August.
> American Crafts D-ring albums: Several. These will serve one of my goals for next year (2009 plans already!) which is to tackle the huge box of pictures we have sitting around from our pre-digital days. At the very least I want to simply insert the 4x6 prints into albums and add some captions/perspective. If project or story ideas come from this (and I'm sure they will) I'll make note of it and create stuff as the mood, and time, allows.