Thursday, September 20, 2007

Home Made

As you know Little Miss Chloe had her Sixth Birthday this month. She received some very nice presents, so when it came time to write out Thank you Cards, I was faced with the choice of getting in the car once again to go to a store and buy more stuff. I feel like all I do is buy stuff and bring it into the house, and then create more trash.

More Stuff = More trips to the Trash or Recycling Can = My visuals of an over crowded land fill = Me saying, Please, NO MORE STUFF !!! = How can I change this equation ???

So, this time around, I found some left over card stock from Valentines Day, some left over envelopes from another project, measured and cut up the card stock, and gave them to Chloe to create her own Home Made Thank you cards ! Even though they still are something that eventually will end up in the land fill, I figured, we didn't add to it more by buying new cards. While we were making these, (and I might say it took us a lot longer than it would have if we just bought them, there were 12 total), we had a great time. It was a nice activity to slow us down so we could spend creative time together. Something I truly love to do with my children. Blake even got in on it, practicing his cutting, and drawing.. A book I am looking forward to getting when it comes out, is just on that subject, The Creative Family.

Chloe is a girl after my own heart !! She could not wait to get home from school each day to finish her cards. I watched her go through what I do when I start a project. I think about it all all day, and can't wait to get my hands working on it when I finally get the chance. The pictures do not show, but she added little intricate secret surprises on the inside of the card. I think that was the most rewarding part for her. A little Crafter she is... how wonderful, I think. Oh, and did you notice the card with Fabric on cute !!

By the way, the original Inspiration for Chloe's Home Made Cards came from this card below that my Mother made, she has been making her own ever since I can remember, It sat on the table while we worked. What treasures....

Some of you reading this post may have already received your cards, but for those of you who have not...I tried to wait, but just couldn't pass up this opportunity to show them to you now. They just went out in the mail a few days ago...and there are still a few yet to go... Creativity takes time you know !!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Unexpected Gifts from Nature

We have been inspired by the plants in The San Diego Zoo ever since we moved here 9 years ago. So we have slowly added lots of foliage to our backyard. Bamboo, ferns, ginger and plants we don't even know the names of, but had to have them when we came across them. Every so often one of the plants puts out some amazingly awesome fruit or flower that we had no idea existed, and we consider it a secret gift to us. They are lovely surprises.

Here is one of them.. This plant is referred to as "Elephant Ear" the botanical name is Colocasia Esculentum. Alan bought it because he loved the shape and size of it...we had no idea that it would produce these red seed pods.

While we are on the subject of nature, and gifts, here are some expected bounty from our vegetable garden. These photo's were taken in August just before our vacation..we are sad that we are at the tail end of our vegetables, but we savored every bite we could !

Sun Gold Cherry Tomato's

Marigolds...lots of Green and Orange..two of my favorite colors !

Armenian Cucumber's

Last but not least, the one of many Flying Green Beatles Chloe befriended.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Family Vacation :: Stories and Photo's Part 2

It's almost been a month since our Summer Vacation in Michigan, but the memories still lay clear in my mind. We have some nice photographs to remember our days there, of course not enough in my book, but we didn't count on a camera malfunction. Luckily our friend Karl had his camera and passed along some great images.

After leaving Niles, Michigan, we drove 5 hours north to the Leelanau Peninsula to stay at a Rustic cottage on Glen Lake, which is just a few miles from
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

We stayed at the cottage for a week with our friends Karl and Elizabeth and their two children Adam, and Estelle. We discovered that we are quite compatible families and are looking forward to many, future vacations together. The weather was also just beautiful. Warm sunny days, and cool nights, kept us loving life.

My Youngest Brother Andrew joined us for a few days, for his Birthday, and my Oldest Brother Greg and his family were staying in the area to, so we were able to share some nice dinners and beach time together. We were also able to visit with my Cousin Maureen and her family, who live in Traverse City, we have not seen each other for over 5 years, and actually had never met each other's children. On top of Great friends it was a family affair as well...

This picture is Andrew and Adam looking cool at the top of a 400ft dune...

Our Cottage was the perfect size, it easily housed all 8 of us, and it had the decor that older cottages have, but with a Vintage flare to it. I really could have easily lived there for a month! The best part was that it was on the lake, and due to the fact that there was no one staying in any of the cottages near us, we virtually had the lake to ourselves. We always starting our mornings at the beach on the lake, drinking coffee, watching the kids play in the sand and water, and after an outing during the day, we were back there late afternoon, and evening to swim, and finish off the evening with a fire. It was dreamy.....

We were about a half a mile's walk into town, so every morning Alan walked there and got himself a copy of The New York Times to lazily read over while the rest of us were still waking up, and getting our breakfast. It was nice to see him r-e-l-a-x...

One of my favorites things we did, was pass a little roadside fruit and vegetable stand, which was selling the harvest from a family owned garden, and picked up fresh peaches, tomato's, cucumbers, and I even was able to cut my own herbs right out of the garden. What a delight ! Let me tell you, everything tasted just fabulous !

My list of simple pleasures for the week...

The fresh baked Cherry/Blueberry Pie from " The Cherry Republic"
Sleeping in every morning with Blake, we were always the last one's to arise.
Laughing, lots of laughing.
Picking the wild flowers on the side of the road as we walked into town.
Campfires on the Beach.
Drinking Cherry Port after dinner.
Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries.

Yes, lots of Cherry's, apparently Leelanau County leads the nation in terms of acres planted in cherries... Mmmmm...

You can see more photo's of our trip on my flickr page by clicking here..

Part 3 of our Family Vacation will be coming up soon...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Muu-Muu for Momma

The definition of a Muu-Muu is "a loose dress of Hawaiian origin that hangs from the shoulder." (Check out the Wikipedia link here and see Homer Simpson sporting one). So this dress is not quite Hawaiian and not quite the traditional Muumuu, but after finishing it, and trying it on, it was the only word that kept swimming around my brain to describe it.

I made my own pattern, based on the pattern for the Dresses I've made for Chloe. Somehow, I didn't realize that an adult female body looks alot different in a muu-muu style dress, than a 6 year old girl... Let's just say, it's not the most flattering, and it would come in handy if I had another bun in the oven....but, it's very cool, and very comfortable. Plus the fabric is one of my favorites. I got it at a local swap meet, and the price was great. $1 a yard, and that's a 54" wide yard. I also added my favorite brown and white gingham hand made bias tape for straps and for the hem. I just can't stop using that gingham. Now it will match my Gingham Bandanna !!

When it was all said and done, I think this dress cost around $2 to make, not bad. Of course this was something I started back in July, in hopes of taking it on vacation to wear over my bathing suit, and just for hanging around the cottage, but, I was never able to hem it before I left town, so last night, I finally got a little time with my beloved Bernina, and completed it. It might have to hang in the closet till it gets Hot again, either way, it will come in handy soon.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Birthday Party Fun

It was a Scorcher for Chloe's Birthday Party, that's for sure, but we still had a great time !

The kids spent their time going in the Jumpy then to the Pool and back round again, and again. The Adults spent their time watching the kids, sitting, drinking and having good conversation. Of course there were ice cold Mojito's, Appetizers, Pizza and the Positive Room (for those of you that were not here, that's the one room in the house that we thankfully have air conditioned!) Oh, and I can't forget the yummy Ice Cream Cake from Coldstone.

From my experience one of the funniest times at a Kids Birthday Party, (other than the senseless beating of a pinata) is when you bring out the cake. The kids light up like lights, and they stare and stare at the cake with big eyes, plotting which piece has to be theirs. They certainly do not hold back in letting the cake cutter know exactly what they want. " I want that piece right there with the oreo and the pink flower on it !" Then their is the humorous Adult who voices behind you, the exact piece they have to have, too funny, because you know... kids say the darnedest things, and we adults would be banned from any social situation if we were to act like they do, so it is quite hilarious to hear that from an adult, while struggling to cut the cake and serve it to the salivating children....I can really appreciate the humor of it all !

Some photo highlights below..

The Momma's...

The "Childless"....

The Freaks...

My personal favorite, Isabel's Belly Flops

One! Two !! Three !!!

Splash !!! Thanks Isabel !!!

The Cake...

Blow out all those candles Chloe....

The Birthday Girl...

Thanks to all that came and weathered the heat with was great to hang out with you! By the way, all the images here were taken with the I-Phone...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Happy Birthday Chloe !

Chloe is turning 6 today. It's officially the "Birthday Weekend" Lot's of fun to be had with family and friends.

Some of my favorite photo's of her first year with us...

Had to put this one Henna Belly with Chloe inside...