Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Blast From My Past - Felt Christmas Ornaments!


I am visiting my niece in Boston next weekend to attend singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's concert at the Wang Theater -- it is one of the last concerts in his farewell tour. (Thanks to my sister Kathy for the ticket!)

Leonard Cohen had a profound influence on my music when I discovered his music in about 1966 -- he wrote one of the first "real" songs I ever learned, "Suzanne," and also the iconic song, "Hallelujah," which can be heard on the soundtrack of "Shrek" and a LOT of other places.

I need to take a hospitality gift for my niece Amy and her husband Jesse and son Owen, so I thought of a Christmas ornament. I couldn't decide what to make, but as I looked about my studio my eyes fell on three little felt ornaments I had made for my parents' tree when I was in high school (early 1970s). These little animals are so cute and easy to make, and as far as I can recall, they were my own design.

The original animals traveled with my parents when they moved to Marco Island, Florida, and came home to me when my mom passed away in 2000. It is hard to believe they are 40+ years old! The felt is tattered in spots, and the poor elephant's rear leg must have been up against a light bulb one year, but I think that gives them character.

Here are the original felt animal ornaments.

And here are the ones I made today.
They measure about 3 x 5 inches.

If anyone is interested, I will draft the patterns and instructions!


Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Quiet. Too Quiet!

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. Job stress and family obligations have separated me from my creativity. Don't let that happen to you! Doing something creative is such good medicine! (easier said than done)

I recently retired yet again from two years of managing a small law firm. I am hoping that after the hustle bustle of the holidays is over, I will get back to regular blogging, and MAYBE back to podcasting.

Meanwhile, here is a cute cloche hat I just finished crocheting for my sister Pat. It is from the book "Crochet Basics" by Vogue Knitting On the Go (CLICK HERE for the book on Amazon). I am a beginner-intermediate crocheter, and this hat is super easy. I modified the pattern slightly, making it longer so it would easily cover Pat's ears in the blustery Chicagoland winter weather, and I added a removeable crocheted flower. The yarn is acrylic Red Heart With Love in the Autumn colorway.
 If I don't get a chance to post before then, have a fabulous Christmas!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kawaii Cooking ^..^

"Kawaii" means "cute" in Japanese.

One thing that is interesting when I am sick is that I sometimes make purchases in a NyQuil-induced haze. This past week I've had the most horrific cold (thanks to my boss John, who kindly passed it on!), and one night when I was hopped up on NyQuil I purchased the following items:
When I lived in Japan back in the early 1980s I noticed their adoration of whimsical characters (such as Hello Kitty!). They found a way to make even the most mundane things whimsical, including the common lunchbox.

The "bento" (or sometimes "obento") is a traditional Japanese lunchbox, usually with compartments and tiers, in which one packs a variety of edibles, most notably some form of rice. I've had a really cool bento box (Mr. Bento by Zojirushi) for years and use it nearly every day. The new geisha bento box (not yet received) is going to be a fun addition.

Here are some attempts at making cool items for my new bento box. At left are two hard boiled eggs in the shapes of a bunny and a panda. In the middle are some cool onigiri shapes (simply seasoned rice pressed into a mold -- one is wrapped with seaweed, and the topping is black sesame seeds). Top right are little slices of celery. (Sadly my husband used all of the carrots in a batch of chicken soup he made for me, otherwise my meal would be more colorful!) Not shown are tiny plastic bottles that contain soy sauce. (Forgot to add them to the photo!)

I absolutely love the idea of having something so cute and whimsical to brighten up a stressful workday. Can't wait to do some more kawaii cooking next week so I can take fun lunches to work!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Free Audubon Redwork Pattern - Snow Bird

Felicitous salutations!

It's been far too long, and I'm yearning to get back to creative blogging and podcasting. While this isn't a podcast, it IS a creative blog entry.

As most of you know, I began the Audubon redwork series two years ago or so, and here is another free downloadable pattern. This is for one of my favorite winter birds, the Snow Bird. I love how the snow bird hops about in the snow digging for seeds. He is gray above and white below, so it appears he has snow on his chest.

Here is the finished redwork, and you can download the free pattern by CLICKING HERE.
I hope to get back to podcasting soon. Meanwhile, I will begin posting free projects for you!