Friday, February 26, 2010

Blessings Friday: Googly Eyes Love

There’s a new man in my life—his name is Merwin.

At the same time I arrived in one terminal after my flight home from Hawaii, my husband was in the next terminal leaving on a business trip. My friend/neighbor Cindy kindly gave me a ride home. And that’s when I met Merwin, Cindy’s adorable grandson visiting with his father from Virginia.

Merwin is a delight—a bright little boy full of awe and wonder about the world, a mind that churns out questions after questions, a memory about every little thing he hears and learns, and a giggle that makes you want to giggle, too.

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Merwin made me a gift, having told his grandmother, “I like June, she’s funny”. According to Cindy, this is praise indeed. So now I’m the proud owner of my very own pet rock magnet, complete with googly eyes twirling around as they try to learn everything there is to know in the world—just like its little creator Merwin.

Thank you, Merwin, for your wonderful gift and your friendship!

Dear Reader: I hope this weekend brings you a googly-eyed pet rock magnet you can put on your fridge to remind you there are still wonders in this world to make your heart sing. And I wish you a visit from an adorable little boy whose eyes reflect back love given and received.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hawaii Scrapbook

I’ve been working like a crazy woman getting my scrapbook of my Hawaiian vacation done.

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Here’s the cover. I used 8x8-inch books and found a nice beribboned chipboard label to stick on one end of the book.

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Everything is kept pretty simple with the layouts and journaling bits.

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I save everything when on a trip for using in my scrapbooks later: the resort's beach/pool use wristbands, tiny baggies of beach sand, bits of sea glass collected, flowers, sea shells, everything. On pages where I show pictures of drinks we enjoyed, I include the recipes.

It’s a good thing I saved four versions of every single thing I collected as I made four exact versions of this scrapbook—one for me, a gift for each of my two sisters and my niece.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mesh Laundry Bags

Although I wash most of my delicates by hand, some items are tossed in the washer on gentle cycle. I use mesh laundry bags for those items. Since mine were beginning to fall apart, I sewed new ones instead of buying them this time, a nice little cost savings.

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I got the idea from a McCall’s pattern book I was perusing on Saturday. Using a coupon, I bought McCall’s Home Decorating pattern #6051 although I really wanted it for a couple of other things in the package—the mesh laundry bags were a bonus to me.

The same mesh fabric used in store-bought laundry bags can be found in the utility fabrics section at Jo-Ann’s, so I bought a yard of that along with 1/8-inch cording. The mesh yielded six bags for me, some in the size indicated in the pattern and others to utilize every bit of the remaining fabric.

You don’t really need a pattern for this project; it’s merely an act of making bags with casings to hold the pull cord. Now I’m ready to do laundry and am running off to do just that.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blessings Friday: Starfish Quilt AAQI Auction Result

In January I created and donated a mini-art quilt to The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) to help raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. My little quilt was auctioned and sold while I was in Hawaii.

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I’m tickled to announce my small offering earned $80 for the AAQI.

If you would like to make and donate a mini-quilt to help the Alzheimer’s cause, you can find all the information you need here. Donated quilts are auctioned the first 10 days of each month.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snowman Cloth

We’ve now started the February cloth knit-along project hosted at the Kris Knits blog. Both January and February's projects have been a bit delayed because our poor hostess has been trying to move into a new house and get set up again. Moving is a challenge all on its own.

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Here’s my finished cloth for January—a cornflower blue snowman to remind me there’s plenty of snow somewhere, even if it’s not in Tucson.

I like these simple monthly projects which only require knitting a few rows here and there. Before you know it, you’ve got it done which is such a satisfying feeling.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Party Butterflies

Saturday night before I left for Hawaii my husband and I attended Maggie’s (a neighbor) 50th birthday dinner at The Arizona Inn, a National Historic Site. Her husband Brad asked me to help with the planning and party theme. I suggested butterflies to represent transformation and renewal—perfect for a milestone birthday.

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I made place cards and added a butterfly made using a Martha Stewart punch. I folded the wings a bit and mounted them on the cards. Each card had a graphic indicating the guest’s choice of entrĂ©e; beef, chicken, or fish. This helped the wait staff at the restaurant when serving.

Brad also asked me to come up with a party game. My suggestion was “Say What?” Each guest writes down the wildest thing they’ve ever done (or is willing to admit to have done). It’s done anonymously, no signatures.

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I found sheet music to “The Butterfly” which I printed in 3x5-inch format so the guests would have something on which to share their wild past. Then I ordered engraved pencils from the Oriental Trading Co. web site.

After the admissions were gathered, the guest of honor read each one out loud and we all tried to guess who wrote it. I’m not big on party games but admit this was rather fun.

You’re probably wanting to know what I admitted to doing, aren’t you?

Some years ago at a women’s Autumn Equinox retreat in the Arizona desert, we danced naked at midnight around a huge bonfire under the full moon while other women drummed on Native American drums or djembes. It was awesome and ever so liberating.

Maggie guessed my admission right away. I saved every single one of the “wild” things to include in our birthday gift to her—a scrapbook of the event using photos my husband took at the party. My honey went out early the next morning and got prints which I immediately added to the scrapbook I’d prepared ahead of time. We delivered our gift to her Sunday evening.

Much more went into her party, but all my other photos are gone thanks to my now-deceased laptop and we’ve already given Maggie everything.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kitchen Gift Set

When I recently gave the oven hand mitts tutorial at The Idea Room blog a try, I got an email from my sister Connie after she saw my blog post asking me to make her some for her birthday.

Oven mitts for her 50th birthday? That seemed slightly inadequate to me, but she said she needs new kitchen linens. After giving this some thought, I decided to put a little kitchen gift set together using colors she likes.

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She likes spirals so I found fabric with that design to make her the requested oven hand mitts. Then I found a large metal bowl echoing the spiral theme. I got busy making her other things she could use in the kitchen and added them to the bowl as each project was completed.

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Some organic kitchen dishcloths were bound by edging with a blanket stitch in the various theme colors and some by trimming with binding made from extra fabric.

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I knit some ballband dishcloths, too.

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Next up were dishtowels. Some were embellished by embroidering spirals on each end with floss colors matching the fabrics; others were simply a matter of adding fabric bands to each towel end.

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A microwave baked potato bag from this tutorial was added to my little offering along with a card providing usage instructions.

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I added a couple of books to the gift set.

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Here is everything together. I gave it all to Connie the day before we left for Hawaii—she loved her little gift.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb. 15, 2010: Aloha, I’m Back!

Vacations have layers of meaning different for each of us as we seek escape from the ubiquitous of everyday life at home. There are so many approaches one can take—pure relaxation, exploration, intensive sports activities, learning new things, experiencing new environments. Whatever you seek in a vacation you can find.

My trip was a combination of all those things. Here are a few photos to give you a taste of what I experienced in the magical paradise of Oahu, Hawaii.

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The view from our 11th floor balcony at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina in Kapolei, Oahu (west coast).

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Kayaking in Kailua Bay, me in front and my two sisters behind me.

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When in Hawaii, one must pay homage to coffee beans.

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Fia Fia Night (translates to "The Happy People") show with Chief Sielu Avea. That's the chief on the right giving me a big hug.

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Lots of beautiful flowers abound; I've no idea as to the name of this plant.

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Shauna's (my niece) friend Ozzie took us out on his boat for a day of whale watching. We cruised down the coast to the Waikiki and Diamondhead area. This is one of the migrating humpbacked whales showing us its graceful tail. Ozzie took us for dinner at the Hawaii Yacht Club and we went back out to watch the fireworks from the vantage point of the water. Fireworks happen every Friday night.

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Drinks in paradise; yep, we really enjoyed life in Hawaii.

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Day or night, no view was without its intrinsic beauty.

If you're interested in seeing more of my Hawaii photos, you can visit my online album here.