Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I could never figure out why America had, basically, two Remembrance Days. (In Australia and elsewhere we call Veteran's Day "Remembrance Day" because on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the war ended.)

Then I found out this year that Memorial Day began as a Civil War holiday. Presumably not just to remember the fallen, but to remember that a nation had been torn apart and that it should Never Happen Again.

Wikipedia has a whole bunch on it, and my presumably doesn't seem to figure into it. It was a day to decorate the graves of Union soldiers. Only later were Confederate soldiers similarly honored.

Australia also has two Remembrance Days. Our other one is April 25, ANZAC Day, where we remember a defeat during WWI that lost scads of lives. Of the two ANZAC is the bigger celebration: dawn services, street marches, beer, and the one day in the year you can play a certain gambling game legally ("Two-Up")

So -- which one means more to Americans? Memorial or Veteran's Day?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A box of Heaven

Twice over in fact.

First, I posted about the Tibetan Shrine today but didn't realize it posted with the old post-by date instead of today's. Grr. So if you missed it, here it is. I point this out because it has a gorgeous picture that I didn't take to give you a hint of the display. Gorgeous. *Sigh*

Anyway, here is the "box of heaven", a belated birthday gift from one of my brothers. I mean, just look at it! If you know anything about Aussie cookies and candy, you know this is the motherlode (and yes, if I was in Australia I'd just call this "biscuits and chockies" but I'm keeping my American audience in mind).

And Cadbury's is Fair Trade now, which is just another reason to eat gobs of it.


Mmm, Tim Tams (that's two rectangular chocolate cookies with chocolate cream sandwiched between them covered in milk chocolate for those who missed the U.S. Pepperidge Farm release), Cadbury's milk chocolate, Cadbury's Flakes (more milk chocolate, but flakey) and Violet Crumbles (honeycomb covered in milk chocolate). Are you sensing a theme here?

What? What was that? My diet? Er, food habits change? Well, let's just say these shall be eked out, like the preciouses they are.

Second, I mentioned a few posts ago that I received Carol Wingert's SHE book as a giveaway. I forgot both to link and show you pictures! I haven't put it together yet, but I thought I would show you what was in the box...


I read the instructions on the bus and I can't wait to get started. (Except I have to: I've got the craft room to prepare for Where Bloggers Create II, and a summer book swap to do. And the e-coursework I'm doing on journaling and gluebooks.)

Finally, I went to a wedding Friday night. (One day will learn to take camera). The church was decorated with loads of candles, votives across the tiled sanctuary floor, white lanterns lining the aisle, and a large lantern on the altar flanked by beautiful flowers. I really should've taken pictures (presuming one knows how to take pictures of such gorgeousness of which I am very much a neophyte)....

Anyway, wanted to show what I wore, since its the pashmina shawl Mum gave me for my birthday.

And that's my dog wondering what I'm doing in the doorway and why am I not patting him?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tibet Shrine

The Smithsonian's Arthur Sackler Gallery had the most amazing room set up as a Tibetan Shrine.

I found this image on the "ReadyDC" site and shows more than the postcard I picked up:

Source: Sackler Gallery (according to the ReadyDC site)

Click on it for the full size because it is truly gorgeous -- and this is just one wall of three walls packed similarly.

The walls were lined with thangkus, paintings that could be rolled up like a scroll and transported which Tibetan monks apparently did a lot of. On the wall to the left, which you can't see in the photo, they had rows of Gaus, which are box-shrines basically.

I pored over the catalog (weighed a ton and cost a lot so I didn't buy it), stood and just soaked this in ... they were playing chants in the background, lovely and meditative.

And I thought, I could do this ... [if we just ignore the whole appropriating culture stuff. I see this as being inspired by the artwork] Not an entire room, perhaps (or maybe?!) but I could certainly make use of those Marvelous Madonna Montages and put them together like a thangku (unfortunately you wouldn't be able to roll them up, but I could use the fabric surround and the silk hanging that they used to cover it up when traveling or not a holy day--the covering would protect them in this horrid SoCal sun.

But first, I have to iron a bunch of hankies. I have plans for them this weekend, which hopefully I will get to do in between helping with hubby's idea of a long weekend project: repainting the guest bathroom. I have offered to paint leaves around the mirror's edges...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A giveaway...

No, not by me, although I will do one eventually and return all the love!

This is by Vintinquites Workshop, and is worth the trip, not just to enter, but to see her neat tutorial on making a hanky card. I wonder if instead of taping the back, you could use a hat pin to secure the hanky. (That statement will make sense once you've been there.)

Posts of a little more depth forthcoming, I just need to find the time in which to do that :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up in String...

Or rather ... Priority Mail Packages Sealed with Packing Tape... but it doesn't quite scan for Rogers & Hammerstein (or whoever wrote the Sound of Music).

Rita sent me her page for my Young Victoria book (which has a fashion aspect):


Aren't they divinely gorgeous? Also, I placed an order at Karla Nathan's blog store:

See the empty roll of sheet music? I almost threw out my teeny weeny tiny whiny frozen Charlottes! Ye gods! Thankfully I realized before I threw out the trash :)

I also received Carol Wingert's SHE kit that I won in her giveaway... Wow... It's gonna take some work to complete, but I can't wait to start!

I'll have to do though, as I've a summer book swap to get started on, and some curtains to make both before mid-June...

Oh and catch up on both my e-courses. I was able to mostly keep up with the blogs, not the courses, alas....

Finally, I bought this fridge magnet at the National Museum of Art which says:

"Creativity takes courage" - Henri Matisse

Monday, May 24, 2010

The 25 Days are Over...

I had a fabulous week in Washington, D.C. which was basically the last part of my 25 Days of Birthday.

So what were my D.C. birthday treats? Dinner @ TenPenh on Pennsylvania Ave (with some to-die-for Aussie dessert wine. Heaven!), Library of Congress, "The Sacred Made Real" exhibit at the National Museum of Art (about Spanish religious painting and sculpture in the 17th century), antiquing in Alexandria and Georgetown, the Tibet Shrine at the Sackler Gallery, sleeping in!

I've yet to tally receipts and work out my tithe, more on that soon. I'm thinking that the charity should be for Haiti relief.

So, my antiquing haul...

A china plate, old sheet music, doilies, glass salt and pepper shakers, a really old photograph, a sari scarf in gold and cream (that's going to soften the white of my new IKEA shelf) and a salt/pepper/condiment set.

I'm going to clean these up: one of them needs a soak in hot water, and the insides are corroded, but I'm hoping the holes are big enough for my German glass glitter to fall through.


These, however, fit my color scheme in my craft room. They are a bit grubby but I'm almost afraid to clean them. They are hand-painted in Japan, and the last thing I tried to gently sponge clean that was hand-painted in Japan, the paint came off. Any suggestions? Of course, I could just leave them grubby if they're not for dinner table use.


This looks like its printed onto the glass (and its a very bad photo, sorry), but I fell in love with the frame and this rather long-nosed girl from the 1860's. (I know my fashion if not my photograph techniques.) I have no idea what I am going to do with it. It was just too pretty to pass up. I might see if I can scan it in, like I plan to do with the sheet music.

I got her at the Christ Child Opportunity Shop in Georgetown. It's up the hill from the main drag, and what I liked about it, is that while things seemed to priced reasonably and perhaps a bit toward the high end -- the longer in the store, it gets discounted, so I got some deals :)

Some lovely packages arrived while I was gone, but we'll talk about those tomorrow...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The last cuff!

It's not just the last cuff I'm showing you, but it is also the last cuff I made. This was for Cristina of Sweet Pea Ink. We shared in the Madonna Montage swap from Silver Bella last year.


It's a wired yellow sheer ribbon with little flowers printed on it, tulle over the top again (I think), edged in vintagey and blue lace, a few faux pearls, a pearl button and one of the tea dyed flowers.

I have plans to make my own cuff to complete the set, as it were, but I haven't even started on it. First, I have to make curtains for my craft room so I'm ready for Where Bloggers Create II.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today's cuff was for....

Am I allowed to have a favorite? Actually, it's just about impossible to pick one, but this would be close! This is Sandy's cuff of Sew Revived:


I also met Sandy at Silver Bella -- we shared Kaari Meng's Vintage Rosary class, where there was a lot of looping going on.

Sandy's theme for her Young Victoria book was love letters ... so I had a swatch of fabric (which came from the Silver Bella goodie bag) that had text on it, put a layer of tulle over it, added a bit of edging to give it some color, faux pearls everywhere, pearl buttons, and a corner cut from one of Nanna's hankies that I tea-dyed. (That's my great-grandma for those not keeping up.) Yep, I can apparently cut her hankies up with abandon, but not her doilies. Go figure.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Victoria cuff...

Pam's was one of the first pages I got to do for the Young Victoria swap.... Sue told me she loved red....

This is the first cuff I made too ... so there's a little bit of trial and error going on here, hopefully concealed by the linen back I sewed on! I took a patterned ribbon for the base, some old lace, gold rick-rack and gold tulle as trim, and then some gathered lace pulled into a circle with some gold rosebuds in the center. The gold button has a crown on it but I forgot to take a closeup of that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another cuff

The next cuff is for Rita, who doesn't have a blog, alas, but we shared a couple of classes at last year's Silver Bella.
She loves doilies so I cut one up, added some green velvet underneath, added some trim picked up from that fantastic place in San Francisco whose name just escapes me right now... and a pretty button...

And as you can see in the closeup, I stitched on some bird charms (another of her favorite things) and a few faux pearls and a trim of lace at the bottom...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A pretty cuff

This one was for Sue of My Mother's Pearls who was my Silver Bella Sis last year. (It was the first Silver Bella for both of us.)


Hence the Silver Bella crown in the middle. I made her bracelet cuff to look like (a little) the page I made for her in our Young Victoria swap. So there's blue seam binding under the sheer decorative lace (that has some glimmer to it), some cute trim I found, triplets of faux pearls, a glass button, and another of those tea-dyed flowers.

Did I mention that these are all handsewn. I've given up on machine sewing ... I found it very restful.

Another one tomorrow!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What I mailed out this time last week...

I thought I would do a week of posts about the items I mailed out last week, as part of my birthday treat to other folks. They were also thank yous to the gals who joined me in the Young Victoria Altered Book Collective.

This is the first one that was received :)


Robin of Once Upon a Pink Moon, who is a fellow SoCal Bella. We first met for the pre-Silver Bella gathering last year and had fun going through a Goodwill and then visiting Gilding the Lily before heading off to the party.

Anyway, she loves Marie Antoinette, so I went for that effect as a choker...

It's a black and white ribbon, overlaid with lace, with gathered tulle behind it, vintage faux pearls sewn onto it, and a tea-dyed flower for the center. A ribbon in one of her favorite colors to tie it on.

Another gifty tomorrow!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My birthday gift from Mum, continued....

Really, after this, she ought to come out to Silver Bella, shouldn't she? I think she'd fit right in! There was this cute box with a note that said: "bits and bobs"



Tatted lace, purple buttons, some flower-thingy that's actually double-sided (what is that, Ma?)...

White butterfly ribbon and gorgeous sari trim...

A little pink doily and buttons from Africa...

And the "Happy New Year" postcard above... In the card she sent me were two needlebooks that she thinks belonged to Aunty Madge's mother or sister... The girl and the cats "pop out"...

a to-die-for Pashmina scarf that is double-sided and just gorgeous......


and this iridescent cross.

Now wouldn't you say I'm an exceptionally lucky girl?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Amazing birthday present...

What Mum sent me for my birthday (and that I opened early!) is so amazing, I'm doing two posts on it. Check tomorrow some time for part two!

I knew Mum had been doing the 39 squares and she told me she'd done a few of the square samplers, but I was not in the least expecting this:

It needs to be pressed and framed (I'm thinking some ornate frame painted white!) with protective glass... but isn't it just the most amazing thing? Am I a lucky daughter or what?

Some closeups:

The wisteria across the top according to the note Mum sent along with this is: "wisteria growing over your front (not your personal front :) " I'll note that the stitched wisteria has more blooms than we got this year. The rose button is from Africa. (There a story there, Ma?)

A cup of tea, of course, with a teapot button. The lace is from one of grandma's hankies. The bit of doily is from one of my great-grandma's doilies. I can't believe she cut it up -- I've been thrifting rather than using my stash of Nanna's doilies!

The big flower: "found in old tin of Nanna's". I can't believe there's a tin of Nanna's I've yet to go through. We'll have to rectify that, next visit.


The white flower button up the top is also from Nanna's button box. Isn't it just the most beautiful thing ever!

And there was more .... but you'll have to wait until tomorrow :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another super-quick blog post

My birthday present from Mum arrived today. I waited until Dan got home to open it and then proceeded to do so. It's not my birthday and I was kinda planning to open one present at a time and well, that thought lasted for less time than it took to type it!

Pics tomorrow because its too dark to take pics now ... but just gorgeously jaw-droppingly, eye-tearingly wow.

Thanks, Mum.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the 16th Day of Birthday...

I won another giveaway! I can't wait to receive it. Thanks, Carol!

I'm thrilled to bits about this one...

Something tells me that my 25 Days of Birthday are going to last a wee while longer.

And yes, I need to catch you up on a bunch of stuff, but I've been a busy working girl. So stay tuned...

Monday, May 10, 2010

On the 12th Day of Birthday...

Yesterday, my birthday treat was to work on my paradise journal. This I did not do. Instead, I prepped for today's treat (which I won't reveal today but at a future date because it was me treating other people) and reorganized my craft room. As well as heading over to my mother-in-law's for dinner (my hubby cooked).

To my surprise, my m-i-l offered me this:


It's her hanky box that she's had since she was 8 or 10. And it is filled to the brim. Some of the hankies were crocheted or tatted by her mother.


Look at this detail!




a white-worked bee, I think...



And some that have just lovely vintagey colors!



The other part of today's birthday treat that I can show you are these:


Chai Spice Cookies!
(the link takes you to the blog with the recipe!)

And oh are they good. (I've only had one!) They are for sharing with class tonight. But I still have half a bowl of uncooked dough in the fridge, so I'll make the rest tomorrow. Happy Monday all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

So I have a voice mail from Mum saying her Mother's Day present arrived, so unless she's faking me out, I can now post what I made and sent to her, along with Miss Lynn's little box of treasures.


I made this as part of the Artist Class Garden Party. The workshop was by tarnished and tattered. The photo is of my Grandma and Mum. I also used a tea-dyed hanky that my great-grandma crocheted the edges of.

One of the reasons I've really enjoyed getting involved in this artistic community, starting with Silver Bella, is that my Mum and I can enjoy it together, even though we're on opposite sides of the Pacific: we exchange blogs, we have created embroidery samplers to go along with Amy's 39 Squares (mine's in progress and is meant to cover the entire year. Mum's done two so far.)

And I love it, because it makes me feel so much closer to my Mum.


Miss Lynn of Create...Breathe... made this beautiful box as part of a swap, and then she made an extra one for Haiti By Hand, so of course I immediately snapped it up. Mum had been raving about these boxes and wanted to make one of her own, so of course I had to send it onto her.

(By the way, Mum and I have agreed to share the owl apron. So I get it for half the year and she gets it for the other half.)

In other news, Saturday was a double birthday treat: I picked up a bookcase from IKEA (a small Expedit as that's all my room has space for), and went to a Raven's Grace concert. (link takes you to iTunes)

The concert was amazing. I bopped out as much as one is able sitting in a pew in a church (head nods, clapping, keeping time), sang along when I knew the words and really enjoyed the rockin' tunes and the acoustic-folky ones too. Good stuff. Check them out.

I'll talk about Sunday's Birthday treat tomorrow because I need to take a photo or two and its getting dark...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On the last few days of Birthday...

Before I catch you all up, I won a giveaway! An owl apron from Karen at Elderberry Road (follow the link for better pictures than I'm about to show you).


Yeah, so the macro function on the camera didn't work so hot on the above picture but I wanted to show the cute detailing on the pocket.

Oh and I believe I forgot to share that my hubby (who was a waiter at Saturday's tea) came home with a care package of stuff. A bud vase with a white rose and baby's breath, and a sampling of sandwiches and the dangerously brandy-soaked tiramisu. Yum.

The treat assigned for Sunday was to bake healthy muffins (and muffins that are yummy!) ... but after a morning at church and an afternoon doing church work (which turned out fabulously), I took one look at the little note and went: naahhh... So I hereby declare that the owl apron is my birthday treat -- only, my plan in entering the giveaway was to pass it along to Mum -- so here you are, Mum! Surprise!

Monday, I chose to go to Ocean Beach. There's a street there with a bunch of antique shops. I've lived in this city for years and didn't know about it until my Mum discovered a blog: Mockingbird Hill Cottage. Claudia posted about this store, Vignettes. I'll wait while you go look at the pictures, because I didn't bring my camera with me. There's a link to the store's blog there too.

Are you back yet? Good. Vignettes was the last store I went to and it was just overwhelming... I visited the other antique stores on that street and came home with a little haul -- and without spending a whole lot.

Two cigar boxes (there were more but I'm limited to what I can carry on public transit). The one on the right is intriguing ... I could make a little diorama or something inside...


Doilies, bone buttons and two pearl buttons...

These amazing pearls and under $20! They feel heavy like real pearls, but I haven't done the tooth test on them. They're even knotted between each bead, so if they're fake, they're good fake. The diamond and pearl thingy was why I picked them up. Now, do I wear them, or pull it apart?

The ruffled crepe paper, one has seam binding stitched on it as well. Aren't they cute? Plus it saves me from finding the right shade of crepe paper and cursing while I attempt to ruffle 'em. They were in a booth at Vignettes. So were the pearls. (It turns out that antique shopping is just like wine tasting: everything at the end looks really good. Although truthfully, I could have bought quite a lot at the first store I went to, including some gorgeous primitive wooden santos.)


Case in point: I picked this up at the first store... there are shattered panels here and there, but it was so lovely and light and lacy, how could I resist it?

Tuesday's treat was to work on a swap I've joined, so I picked what book I am going to use.

Today's treat is a long soak in a bath. Which if I'm going to make sausage rolls and the rest of the day, I best get going.

Thanks for letting me share.