Friday, December 19, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

White Christmas

A couple of years ago, my mother showed me this hilarious e-card. Thanks to the greatest website of all time, youtube, I can share it with you for the holidays! Take it away Santa...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

99 Problems

Hahahahahahahaha! I have got to turn this into something...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bring On the Cranberries

Merry Christmas! I'm in the spirit of the season, and it is so very sustaining in these hard times. The biggest project I've had for Christmas so far are my cranberry strands. I showed you all a picture of my mother's cranberries, and here is my best imitation:

I took apart my bead curtain my sister gave me for college, sorted out the little from the big, then spraypainted the big beads.

Here they are all lined up on our balcony to be sprayed...

You would think by looking at the picture that my drop cloth caught all of the spray, right? Wrongooooo. I didn't notice the fine red mist on either side of the drop cloth until the wind blew up a corner of the cloth. heh. Several hours of scrubbing with mineral spirits insued, and my poor little knees were shot. I love the result so much though that it was worth it :)

A veritable waterfall of craberries!

I strung up the little beads in their natural colors. Pretty with the red, huh? I'm so tickled I could burst. POW! Last night I made my tree-topper. My husband was wanting a gold star of some kind, so I used some gold foil I had from a Christmas craft set, glued it to a file folder and cut it out following a 3D paper star pattern. It's freakin awesome. I need to take pictures...

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Happy Thanksgiving :) I am a day late with my wishes, and I wish I were only one dollar short! Here is our comically small table decorated for the most festive eating holiday there is.

I love an excuse to break out the crystal fancy stuff. I have yet to acquire a fancy dish for turkey however, so this turkey breast is on a sushi plate :) Faaaaancy stuff people. This year my hubby and I ate as a twosome, which was surprisingly nice. We made french press coffee, listened to Christmas music, stuffed ourselves, watched the Sopranos (we only have two episodes left. mphf), then watched the Visitor - an awesome movie, I highly recommend it.

My shutter-happy hubby took some shots of my dishing out the goods. The meal was a particularly good one, even if I DO say so myself (hubby said so too).

I think he captured the quiet mood of the evening quite well.

And I leave you with some pictures of chocolate chip pumpkin bread and banana bread I made during the week. I definitely plan to make the pumpkin stuff again...I have a serious weakness for pumpkin - is it adictive? Hubby and I are also adicted to peppermint bark - our yearly dose is sitting unopened (amazingly) for us to enjoy around Christmas.

Happy holidays to everyone! I hope you are all surrounded by people you love, and that safety and security find their way to you in spite of all the bad news this year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Haaaaang on Snoopy, Snoopy Hang On!

Have you ever heard that song by the McCoys? I love that song - and when I was little, I always thought they were saying "Snoopy" instead of "Sloopy" :) I just have to keep singing that to myself so I can make it to Christmas...

Here is the giant Snoopy balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York last year. My eldest sister came to spend the long weekend with us then, and we had so much fun. I have to admit the parade itself was a pain in the patoot, but I really loved the rest of the weekend.

It has been nearly a month since I posted last! Life is stressful beyond my wildest dreams these days, as I tend to keep saying. We're still working on placing my father-in-law in a good assisted living facility, and my mother-in-law is coping with sickness and blood clots. All a barrel of laughs. On the plus side, we're all alive and we love each other, and the holidays are upon us! This year my husband and I are doing Thanksgiving as a twosome since everyone is tired of traveling. I've done more driving this year than I have in my entire life.

I have Christmas on the brain to keep my sane, and I've been working on some basic ornaments and decorations for a while. I recently took apart the wooden bead curtain my older sister gave me when I was in college. Being a wannabe bohemian, I had always wanted one and never got a chance to hang it up. My husband is a definitelynot bohemian, so hanging it in our apartment is not really an option. heh. So I decided to use it for Christmas! I'm taking all the bigger, round beads and spray painting them red. The rest are smaller, and I've leaving them their natural wooden colors of cream and brown and stringing them up alternating each other. Basically I'm trying to achieve my mother's cranberry strands which I associate so closely with Christmas since my childhood.

Aren't they pretty? For kicks and grins, here are some other shots of last year's decorations at my mother's house. You can thank my gifted sister for such cool pictures!

This is my hand and my grandmother's hand - those peach ballet slippers are my special ornament my mother gave me a long time ago. My eldest sister has blue ones, and my other sister has rosy pink ones.

That metal bear ornament is possibly my favorite ornament of all time. The red ribbon is actually metal too, and the green center are tiny jingle bells. So sentimental!

Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallows Eve....MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Happy Halloween everyone! I've bedecked our still messy abode with a few haunting decorations I made last year. On our table we are representing lindt chocolate with our little pumpkin tin and godiva chocolate with the ADORABLE little black cat box. Yum!

Hubby and I are going to the Wild Wing Halloween party tonight - I'm dressing as a batty witch, and he's dressing as a Chicago gangster. The bats in the picture below have been hanging on our door for the last month, but last night they ended up on my witch hat :) Hence, I'm batty. I'll also be sporting moon earrings, a little black dress, long black gloves, and some spooktacular makeup.

Hubby dearest will be sporting some awesome white spats I made for him last night, as well as a black fedora, a dark grey suit and a mustache. We're also going to try getting a cheapo clip-on tie for him and rig it with wire to look like the wind is blowing it - Chicago is a windy city after all :)

I will hopefully have some really cool costume pictures to share soon. Have fun eating tons of candy! The only candy I'm counting on is the sale candy tomorrow :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Christmas Plans!

I am so very excited about Christmas this year - my family is planning to come to Hilton Head this year for a week, and thanks to my mother-in-law's timeshare, we have a super cheap and super nice condo for overflow. Yay! My mom and I are about to burst with excitement - this year is all about quality time and food. We're skipping gift-giving and sticking to making ornaments, baking cookies and cooking. My mom is planning to bring her brand new sewing machine so we have two machines making cute ornaments. Here are some of the ornaments I made for her last year...

This one was actually done while I was at work in NYC (hehe). During my more quiet and secluded moments, I would cut out circles from old Christmas cards and glue them into this awesome shape. I got the pattern here from Martha Stewart (Heather Bailey did something very similar for Valentine's Day here). These are gorgious when they're finished and light as a feather - perfect for those delicate branches that can't hold much weight.

Here's another lightweight ornament - I got this knitted tree pattern from Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Christmas Fiddle Faddle in the Wilds" chapter of the Knitter's Almanac. I also knitted up some stars, and definitely plan to do it again this year. It's a great way to use up yarn scraps.

This one is a soft tree pattern I got from sewmamasew. This was so much fun! I basically just cut out tiny circles of fabric scraps and sewed a curvy line through each of them, then sewed on some sparkly beads, and wrapped it with some candy-cane string from my local NY bakery. It's like a little sugar plum tree :)

Of course I had to make some bird ornaments one of my all time favorite books, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. They take way longer than I had thought, but I definitely wanna make more this year.

After looking at the beautiful embroidery over at Wee Wonderfuls, I just had to try some of my own. The house ornament below is a portrait of my parent's log home. It was a very sentimental ornament to make, and I was so pleased it was recognizable :) The front is canvas and the back is a piece of Laura Ashley fabric from a thrifted dress.

For the other stuffed, embroidered ornament, I did a bear in red. I drew inspiration for this from a woman's printed fabric I found online, but I totally can't find it again. Oh well.

I'm also gonna use up my straw supply to make more straw stars. I got the materials from a Christmas craft kit when I was a kid, and the pattern from this book. This year I'm also gonna make some 3d geometric ornaments from that book. I have some gold and silver paper of some kind for that purpose - you can't beat free, handmade ornaments!

My lovely sisters decided to hang this in my hair last year - not a bad hair accessory. I love love love LOVE straw star ornaments. They are traditional in the most Christmassy parts of the world, like Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and the Ukraine. Plus, they remind me of something from a Jan Brett book. My other big ornament plan is to use the wooden bead curtain my sister gave me in college as cranberry garlands. You can see my mom's canberry strands in some of the pictures above, and they are some of the most sentimental Christmas decorations of all time for me. I'll just spray paint my beads red and string 'em up. I can't wait!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Hello there! I have great news - my mother-in-law's brain tumor is shrinking! The doctors at Duke still don't know what it is, but while it shrinking, they're not going to touch it. She'll go back for another MRI in a month to make sure it continues to shrink. I'm so happy and hopeful!

Hubby and I live at a marina, so we have access to a great fishing spot which is just a short walk away. We went fishing yesterday, and man was it COLD! It was in the sixties and the wind was blowing pretty hard. Nonetheless, we had fun - hubby caught two little fish, and I caught one. I also "caught" a blue crab which was hanging on to my bait for dear life :) I tried to grab my camera in time, but he finally gave up and fell back into the water. I wonder if these fish and crabs go back to their families swearing they were just abducted by aliens.

This little guy is a black sea bass - unintentionally I took this picture from an angle that makes it look way bigger than it is :) None of the fish we caught were big enough to be legal, but we got really lucky when some elderly fishermen gave us two big redfish for free! Gotta love free food.

So we cleaned the fish, for me it was the first time. It would have been easier with a filet knife, but we got most of the meat off with a steak knife. I dredged the filets in egg then flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, then pan-fried them in extra virgin olive oil. MAN they were good. I hope we can catch some of these on our own so we get this meal more often!

Fishing is an activity I would probably not do on my own, but I am coming to enjoy it more and more through my hubby's enthusiasm. It's acutally quite relaxing, you find yourself thinking of nothing other than the water ripples and the odd passing fancy. Plus, I absolutely LOVE the idea of self-subsistance wherever possible, so walking a short way to catch extremely fresh salt-water fish seems too good to be true, especially with the economy crashing all around. Free, healthy food is hard to beat.
Over the past month, I have found myself desperate for Christmas. I think I really need my family all around me after all the changes and crises I've been through lately. This year my family is coming to Hilton Head for Christmas, which is going to be SO MUCH FUN! I am trying to plan out what ornaments I can gather and make, and what food to cook for Christmas dinner. Already I have been gathering beautiful pinecones and sewing patterns for ornament making. Soon I'll post some pictures of ornaments I made for my mother last year - I'm getting into full-on Christmas mode early this year :) I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our New Home

I wanted to share a few pictures of our new home - at least the outside of it :) Once we get some furniture in place and throw out all the moving boxes I'll be showing you the inside. Hubby and I are still hopping around in circles over the view. I'm not sure that you can see it in this picture, but there are all kinds of yachts and boats coming and going and docking in the marina. So much cooler than cars!

We also have several neighborhood cats who are domesticated and think they are wild jungle cats who wander around in this jungly back yard and drape themselves over tree limbs like panthers. They also brutally murdered a squirrel which I'm not very happy about.

Oh yes, updates on the cockroach battlefront - I haven't seen a single monster sized cockroach since my last post! Woohoo! We had pest control come in and nuke the place, which made me nervous for our health....but then I did see a little roach type bug and thought, well if he made it through the poison, surely I can survive it. I did have to kill a big spider last night. A harrowing experience I tell you - it's extremely difficult to squash things on carpet. Ew.

Walking on the beach is wonderful therapy. All of your worries seem to drift away in the roar of the waves. All that openness is like taking the deepest breath possible and letting it out nice and slowly. AHHHHH... It's also fun to watch these new surfing dudes - they hook themselves to a parachute style device and catch some amazing air. I'm still not sure what physics are involved in keeping them from flying away. In the picture above you can see a guy doing it, but the parachute thingy is too high up to fit in the picture.

Here he is catching some air while us lesser beach crawlers gawk. How cool is that?!?

Now I leave you with a picture of some stained glass creations from my uber-talented G'ma. She is the coolest grandmother in the world - she is from New Zealand, eats marmite (yuck yuck yuck, but cool!), gardens like nobody's business, is a hula dancer, has an un-be-liev-able koi pond complete with fountain which is on a pond tour (yes, a pond tour), and is the craftiest lady I know. She knits, paints, crochets, quilts, sews, cuts stained glass, cooks, and generally anything else you can think of. She even used to be a jewelry model when she was younger, and she is a published poet! I'm sure I will be sharing more of her life story and artistic accomplishments in future posts. She is giving me her old quilting frame, so I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stupid in Charleston

Hubby and I went adventuring in Charleston yesterday, and man is it a unique place! He had a doctor's appointment there that morning (which I believe we will rethink in the future considering its a two hour drive), so we went tripping around the downtown for a few hours before heading home. This is where "stupid" comes in - we realized while walking all over everywhere that we had parked our car in a random parking garage and had NO IDEA how to get back to it. All we remembered was that we walked through a bunch of winding back streets when we left it! Trying very hard not to panic we asked around and checked every parking garage we could find. BAHAHA! Just had to have a laugh at myself. Fortunately our good spirits stayed intact, found the car, and had a good chuckle on the way home. Charleston reminded me of Mexico because it was so open and quiet, and also of Europe because it is so extremely old for us young whipper snapper Americans. I always imagined it was very much like Boston, but it has a totally different feel. I didn't fall head over heels, but I really enjoyed visiting! I found this awesome tin sign in the downtown market that reminded SO much of my mother I had to call her (she has coffee running through her veins). We both laughed so much about it she just had to have it, so I will always remember our silly day-trip when I visit Mom's kitchen :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New York Retrospective and Cockroaches

Hello again! My husband and I have been nearly going nuts with stress these days. He's on the phone right now asking about assisted living for a family member, and we STILL don't know whether my mother-in-law has cancer or not - her biopsy came back inconclusive at Duke, so we're waiting a month then going back to try again. Apparently her steroids she takes for her muscular disease masked the results of the biopsy. Argh! We are getting to know the Duke area very well.

When we're not sorting through family drama, we're working overtime at our new office. My hubby is an immigration lawyer and we're doing our darndest to get a solid business in place as quickly as possible. Might I add at this point that I despise insurance companies.

In the middle of all of this, I've been thinking back on my daily grind in New York. We miss walking at night in the city because everything is all lit up and crowded, so any old time we wanted to stretch our legs we could do it. Now when we go out for a night-time stroll, it's DARK with plenty of rustling bushes. I feel like we're little kids going out on an adventure with a flashlight. Before leaving NYC, I took some pictures of my morning commute. Here is a morning-in-the-life-of-moi while living in NYC:

This was my street...(if you kept walking several blocks on that street you'd run into the Guggenheim Museum!)

Here is the bus I used to get to the subway (I was lazy, yes it's true).

I had to get on the 4/5 train then transfer to the shuttle train at Grand Central. I was scared I would be arrested as a terrorist for taking pictures on the subway. I seem to have gotten away with it though...

Then magically pop-up in Times Square! Tourists love to go there and stand and stare at the signs. It was a pain in the behonkus to get around them to get into my building, which fortunately was just around the corner from the subway.

Once at my desk, I would dig into my highly therapeutic breakfast of honey bunches of oats with my anthropologie cup and hello kitty spoon. Breakfast of champions!

I hope soon I will have a routine here at our new home. It seems everything is still either in boxes or piles on the floor, so pictures of the actual apartment will have to wait. I am extremely freaked out about giant water bugs, e.i. COCKROACHES that keep wandering into our home. My husband often marvels that I am not scared of anything, so he finds this hilarious. I just feel so guilty killing them, like I'm some big powerful freak who demands that no other living thing can share space with me. Then reality sets in and I see that I'm sharing space with a cockroach. I tried bashing one to death with a small trashcan, and boy do those things have armor! They are like little marching tanks coming in to look for provisions. The aforementioned unfortunate cockroach that met with the business end of my trashcan managed to stay alive and crawl pitifully to the wall. It was like watching a wounded soldier in battle. Do they make have-a-heart traps for roaches? I don't think my neighbors would take kindly to me establishing a catch-and-release policy for roaches though.

As my husband said last night, we're in the jungle now! Then he questioned my sanity when I started quoting Axel Rose. I shall keep you updated on the roach battlefront. Mind you, I didn't even mention the spiders and smaller bugs. HELP!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sadness and Stress

I have been AWOL since August 18! I wish it was because I've been at Disney World, but unfortunately I've been wading through some nearly unbearable sadness and stress. My husband and I had to drop everything and move one week earlier than planned because my dear mother-in-law has brain cancer. Oddly enough, she found out because she lost the ability to write. We're now waiting at their house for a call from Duke University telling us to come on up for the surgery. Apparently she will have the same surgeon as Kennedy, so I am hopeful that she will have more than just a year to live (which is what one doctor thought). I wish at times like this that she were a typical dreaded mother-in-law, but she is one of my very best friends. My hubby and I have both talked to her daily for years. She has been through so many surgeries and even breast cancer already - I just wish she didn't have to go through all of this again. I'm still hoping for the best - another big chunk of healthy years and another trip to Disney World.

In the middle of all of this, we have the guest bedroom here packed full of boxes and bags, and we're still waiting for a precise delivery date on all our other stuff to be delivered to our new apartment. All of this, the deliveries, picking up new car, insurance, and surgery are all supposed to happen this week!! I think we'll be able to handle anything if we can just get through this. My fingers are firmly crossed!
Here is a picture of the New York apartment we just left behind. Believe it or not, this is BEFORE we were in the moving mess :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cute Purse Giveaway

Check it out here!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Merciful Heavens

I'm so tired! I know, I know, whine whine whine. Through any and all stress with moving and setting up a new office, I have been having a blast anticipating living at the beach. Last week my hubby and I got a TON of work done setting up our new life in Hilton Head. We bought a car...

Signed a lease for a condo...

We even bought a mattress :) Never say we don't think ahead!

We also took our first look at our new office and it looks great - we have a window!!! In case I haven't mentioned it, I'm quitting the giant corporate life and working with my hubby at his law office. I have a really good feeling about it...I can't wait for my last day in this sky-scraper.

Being on the 30th floor was really cool for a while, but the novelty has long worn off. Yesterday I sold our kitchen island for $200 - woohoo! Let me know if anyone is interested in buying furniture - anyone? anyone? Now all we have to do is donate what we can't sell, then load up our rental SUV with as much crap as we can fit for the final trip down on labor day. In the mean time I'm stuck at work :( But only for 11 more days!!