Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Heart Valentine's Day

I can't believe it's been five whole days since I've last posted - that deserves a slap on the hand. Especially since the little project I'm about to show you has been done for almost a week now.

Guess what's coming up? You know it - Valentine's Day! Some may say it's a completely manufactured holiday to boost sales during post-Christmas frugality. I say it's a great opportunity to practice sewing curves (remember my rabbit?!). And why not give ourselves something extra to celebrate? With all that's going on in the world, it's nice to have a reason to celebrate our love!

I have no shortage of love for the girl I made this little decoration for. We haven't seen each other in over two years but I think of her often and... with love! So I sewed together this mini-garland for her door, window, or wherever else she might like to put it during the 2009 season of loooooove.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Bird On A Towel

I can't seem to get enough of the bird theme lately. Here are two tea towels I stitched for my sister. How can drying dishes not be fun with towels like these?! Also, the applique inspiration came from my very dear friend who is proving to be no slouch at applique herself. xo.







Friday, January 23, 2009

Sharpie Love

You know, I have been busy doing stuff... but some of it is top-secret. I will give you a hint: it has to do with an upcoming holiday that provides a perfect opportunity to practice sewing curves. >:)

So in the meantime, I want to share with you my love of Sharpies. If you've ever held one in your hand, you don't need me to explain - it's an instant love affair. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Check out some amazing Sharpie Art below.

video


During my never-ending search for economical decor, I stumbled on Charlie Kratzer. Armed with $10 worth of black Sharpies, he created a classically artful room. To see his basement, click here. It's nothing short of mind-blowing (and is about 100x cooler than the Ok Sushi video you just watched). I couldn't figure out how to download the video but the article is actually really well written - so open it in a new tab already! >:)

Then there is the offcial Sharpie blog that features people like Immy Mellon, the "Sharpie King." Here he is hard at work on some magnificent Sharpie Art.



And as if that weren't enough, check out this amazing Sharpie Lambougini. YES! And I don't even like cars!




So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a new package of Sharpies and start doodling! >:)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Have A...

Hey! Look what happens when you're still awake at 4:48 am... you start learning how to use new programs! Namely, Adobe Illustrator. Apparently I'm now a whiz with the pencil tool. >:)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama-ME!

I'm not American but I can't help but get pulled into the excitement over what's happening with our Southern neighbours today. Truly a day for the history books! It seems the blogosphere is teeming with inaugural buzz - I clicked on How About Orange only to find this 100% awesome link. Look what you can do!



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Playing with Light

Apparently there is something in me seeking beauty and light these past two days. Maybe it's the fact that it's minus a million degrees out there... perhaps I'm trying to create a warmer world in which to escape. Anyhow, here is a new set of photos for today. Enjoy!





Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Magical Little World

Today I woke up with a feeling of whimsy and a hankering to take cute photos. While I was waiting for the kettle to boil for my morning cup of tea, my eye spyed four little sheep parading along the ledge above my sink.

Suddenly I was seeing pink!

And the following series of photos was born. I didn't know I was capable of such sweetness in four tiny pictures. I think these would be just darling in a little girl's room, or above a crib. I could do them with a blue background for a little boy... hmmmm...


Enjoy these warm fuzzies on this cold, drizzly day. :)





Friday, January 9, 2009

Inspirational Blogs

I've recently come to notice how sad my inspiration list (to your lower left) is. I only have three sites listed and I subscribe to over 30! It isn't fair of me to keep all this inspiration to myself so I thought I would introduce you to five of my very favourite blogs. I check these sites faithfully and am continually awed by what these women do.
I discovered Creative Thursday via Etsy. In fact, Creative Thursday was the first blog I had ever bookmarked six months ago when this was all brand new to me. I was immediately taken with Marisa's soft, whimsical world of characters and colour. I wanted to be a part of it! Luckily, her blog allows me that opportunity every day. I especially enjoy how her process began as setting aside one day a week for creativity (hence the name Creative Thursday) and has since blossomed into an amazing creative journey. It's an honour that she shares her daily thoughts and paintings with us. If you only have time to click on one link, click here!


Darling Dexter is the blogging home of Whitney Deal, photographer and designer. I identify with Darling Dexter because she doesn't seem to have one particular creative focus, she enjoys and shares all things creative. I really enjoy her sense of style and her photography. Dennis always jokes that she's my "Internet girlfriend" because I am always looking at her site and we have so many things in common. I'm not sure about that, but I do love her blog.



Can you be a girl and not have an undying love of all things stationary and paper related? Paper Crave more than indulges this obsession for paper nuts. I am constantly ooohing and aaahing over the beautiful things posted on this blog. Without a doubt, this place is inspiration central.


Jamie is the talented woman behind Pretty Ditty. From what I can gather, her main focus is the beautiful aprons she creates, but she's also a crafter extraordinaire. I love her spunky personality and unique style. Similar to my bird obsession (have I admitted to this publicly yet?) she has a woodland obsession so I feel we're of the same mind. :)



How can you not love a blog with the name Angry Chicken? In Amy's own words, "I was a commercial interior designer in Seattle, then we moved back to Portland, had babies, and now I stay at home and write, make art, and craft like crazy." I love reading about her day-to-day crafting adventures. I like the fact that between raising 3 children and publishing sewing books, she still finds time to craft. Her passion is contagious.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Google's Life Archive

Here's a little gem for you photo nuts out there. Together with LIFE magazine, Google has created a place where you can search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive. You can find pictures dating back as far as the 1750s all the way up to today.

Swoooooon.

I am a huge fan of LIFE magazine and their style of photography. Having this resource is nothing short of amazing. It really makes me shake my head in wonder of the internet. How in the world did we function without it? I mean, really!

So, check it out... And prepare to lose hours of your day. :)


Just for fun, here are a few images I found when I typed in a search for Canada. Look at all this awesomeness at your fingertips! I particularly like the muscle man posing next to his forestry equipment... yep, that says Canada all over it to me... >:)








Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year's Resolutions


You know, I'm on the fence about making New Year's Resolutions. I feel there are more appropriate times to set goals - birthdays and September immediately jump to mind. There's something about the cool weather and expectation of a new school year to get the ambition pumping.

But despite my up and down opinion on New Year's Resolutions, I always seem to make one... or one hundred. Usually I overwhelm myself with so many resolutions that I'm just setting myself up for failure. My usual list would read something like this:

1. Drink 8 glasses of water everyday
2. Go to the gym at least 5 times a week
3. Go to church once a week.
4. Keep up to date on all my e-mailing
5. Don't eat out as much
6. Be more money-savvy
7. Get on a better sleep schedule
8. Learn french
9. Learn guitar
10. And the list goes on and on...

That's a lot of stress! Unnecessary stress. I'm a list person. I make lists of lists. I'm starting to discover that lists are also counter-productive. It's one thing to loosely plan your day, but it's another thing to jam 36 things on a list and then have a very real expectation that you can complete each and every one of them and have time left over for fun. It has been my experience that my lists make me, and everyone around me, miserable.

I find lists I've made everywhere. Lists of goals and projects I want to complete. Sometimes I find them tucked away in sealed envelopes, sometimes as bookmarks. I have a pile of half used notebooks with pages torn out that were intended for specific list-making activities. One notebook for listing all the food I've eaten, another for exercise. Maybe a notebook for sewing projects I want to complete. Another for my favourite websites. I often found myself going out to buy new notebooks for even more lists, because surely a new notebook will guarentee success in the current must-list goal or activity.

It has taken me 29 years to realize the negative energy all these lists and resolutions have brought into my life. This may sound cliche, but in time I've come to discover the truth behind this sentiment: Lists are detrimental to my mental health because they focus on everything I have not done. My lists are a constant reminder of how I've failed by not completing what's on them. Am I really less of a person if I don't do laundry, vacuum, plan my meals for the week and get groceries all before noon? That's a lot of stress for... no one's expectation but my own, really.

I don't know where this tendency for list-making and goal-setting came from. I recently found a list I made of "100 things I want to do before I die" that I made in junior high school. Is it normal for 13 year olds to be thinking about these kinds of things?! Of course this discovery made me laugh, but it also made me a little sad.

You know, sometimes it's hard to be nice to yourself. It's so easy to bend over backwards for other people, put other's before yourself. And of course, never to expect anything from anyone. When I truly think of what my expectations are of others they're simple: to be kind, respectful, and take responsibility. Well, why is it so hard to expect just these things from myself?

I guess this ties in with a lot of society's expectations too. When I was younger and didn't really know what I was talking about, I used to say I begrudged the female revolution because now it wasn't just enough for a woman to take pride in her home and family life, but now she has to have an amazing career and be fit and beautiful on top of it. I didn't realize at the time this revolution was about having the choice. But still, I can't help but feel that many of us out there continue to believe we need to do it all. I bet those women make a lot of lists too. Because life can be hard to control. Making lists is easy.

I think my goal-setting, project-planning, list-making self is somehow compensating for that fact that at almost 30, I haven't reached the goal's that society has deemed important. Yes, I have a degree. But no, I have yet to experience those rites of passage into adulthood that our parent's experienced at 21. No marriage, no kids, no house, no car, no career, no nest-egg. But I do have a dog, and sometimes I feel like even she ties me down. (Even though I love her very, very much).

Now, when I think my "don't-haves" through, I feel bad about myself. Why haven't I been able to follow that picket-fence lined road to adulthood? How is it that most of my friends from high school have settled into careers and married life with relative ease and I've somehow managed to fail miserably?

Well, I don't really have an answer for that. And I'm not exactly sure it should be defined as "failure." And I know for sure that there are millions of 29 year olds out there just like me, wondering the same thing. And I know for sure that those same 29 year olds are wondering if they would have been ready for all that responsibility 10 years ago.

I would like to argue that because I walked bumble-bee lines through my twenties that I have a more solid understanding of who I am now than ever. I know what makes me happy, what I want and the people with whom I wish to surround myself. I choose to believe that because of my meandering path, I will make more sound decisions as I negotiate the upcoming milestones of marriage, children and career.

And as I gather my ducks into my garden and start thinking about how I'll start arranging them in a row, I find myself making fewer and fewer lists. I also tend to treat myself more like a friend. You know what Christine? You don't have to go to the gym and do yoga and walk the dog every day. Why don't you do something active once a day. And if you miss a day, so what? There's always tomorrow. And isn't that just what a friend would tell you?

So this year my New Year's resolutions are kinder and gentler. Dare I say, they're written with a certain wisdom I have gladly earned these past 29 years. I will indeed do something active once a day. I will also become a better photographer. What are yours?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year & Truffles!

Happy New Year! Resolutions don't officially start until tomorrow, riiiiight? >:)


Dennis and I spent a glorious day on the couch watching reruns of "So You Think You Can Dance" (Oh Nico, you make my heart go pitter-patter) and movies. The Other Boleyn Girl is a thumbs up; Hancock is a thumb side-ways. Dennis even braved the storm to bring me sushi! What a guy! xo.


I may be infamous in these parts for my cravings of 'baked goods.' Luckily I am handy in the kitchen. Tonight when the itch hit, I made the BEST EVER truffles. They're not actually a baked good per sey, but they do a most-excellent job of satisfying a sweet tooth.


I found my recipe here. When the recipe says EASY Oreo Truffles, they're not kidding! Including photo-ops, I had my tray of truffles done in less than 40 minutes (and I would say a solid 20 minutes of that was picture-taking time as I am still puttering away in manual).


Here's a simple walk through the process.


Gather your ingredients: one block of cream cheese, one bag of oreo cookies, one box of semi-sweet baker's chocolate.


Get a helpful boyfriend to remove all the cream from the middle of the oreos. At first all the middle bits sounds really exciting and you won't think you'll need a bowl to collect it. But after about 3 mouthfuls of middle, you'll get a belly ache. This is a guarentee. The compost is an excellent place to put the rest of the middles.


Take your collected oreo outsides and throw them in the food processor.




Within seconds you will have your very own bowl of oreo cookie sand.


Put your cream cheese and oreo crumbs in your mixer. Whirrrrrr.


Shape the "dough" into little balls.


Melt your box of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. There is a little trick to this: don't microwave your chocolate for longer than 30 seconds at a time. IT WILL BURN. I learned this ages ago and nothing is more dissappointing than a bowl full of burnt chocolate. After 15-30 second intervals, stir it up. It will take about 6 rounds of nuke-stir-nuke to get the right consistency.

Drop your balls in the melted chocolate... carefully, one by one. Use a pair of tongs to hang onto your balls so you don't burn your fingers.

Hahaha! I had a hard time keeping a straight face writing that! >:)

Voila! Place your tray in the fridge...

And wait. This is the hardest part.

But an hour later, look what's staring you in the face when you open the fridge door. A whole tray of chocolaty oreo awesome! YUM!