Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Sweet Mouse All Dressed Up

Ok, this little mouse is not ALL dressed up. I mean, she is lacking attire, but she's got it going on in the accessory department.

This is the newest stationery set for my etsy shop. It came about when Jamie at City Chic Country Mouse (click here to see the seriously cute stuff in her shop) wrote that she was having a hard time finding cute mouse graphics. I thought Hmmm... if she was having a challenge, then perhaps other mouse admirers were also. So I set to work and came up with this little gal.

She travels through the mail with her sister
who likes to ride on the envelope.

This is the three color combinations she comes in.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Final Handmade Christmas Gift!! -- A Bucket of Love

Finally finished the last of my handmade gifts for this holiday. Whew! It's a Bucket of Love for my husband.

This idea started in November of 2007. I was going to make a daily calendar for Christmas with each day stating something I loved about him. Well... that idea turned out to be more than I could take on (365 is a lot to think of, not too mention making the calendar!). So, I shelved the idea for last Christmas, tweaked it a bit and came up the "Bucket of Love" for this Christmas.

The Bucket of Love ready to give.

The idea for the paper fortune cookies came from the For the Love of Paper blog, click here to see how they're made. I printed the "loved things" on the paper directly (not a fortune slip), cut out the 3" circles (bigger would have been better) and folded them. I had a heck of time keeping the cookies from popping open (even with permanent sticky). I ended up heavily creasing the fold. They don't look near as nice as Kimberly's, but I was running out of time!

I put them in a clear paint can/bucket from the Container Store, made a label for each side of the bucket and voila, I was done. A Bucket of Love for my Love Bucket!

I wonder if he will read them all at once or spread his reading out over time? Either way, I hope he will feel the love.

A Birthday Shout Out

My pal, Cathe Holden, over at Just Something I Made is celebrating her birthday today so...


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Handmade Goodies for Me!

My little elf self has been working hard on making some handmade stuff for this holiday season, but little did I know there was another elf in my midst who was also working quite hard.

My pal, Cierra, at work bestowed these beauties on the LOML and myself yesterday. Well, knock me over with a feather! I mean, just look at the details! She did some shopping at Paper Source and spied these plain boxes and then just let her creativity go.

Inside were a couple of homemade truffles. Sweet!

She didn't stop there. She also made us a beautiful card that becomes an ornament. Truly, my poor photography skills do not do it justice.

It's dated and she wrote a lovely sentiment on the back.
The tree pops out of the card, ready to hang.

Cierra admits she may have an slight addiction to Paper Source and all the inspiration and supplies they offer. (She's not at the intervention point yet, but we are keeping an eye on her :))

I so appreciate the care and creativity that went into these goodies and I will have good memories each year we hang the ornament on the tree!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Handmade Gifts

I haven't been posting much lately. Trying to make this holiday a hand-made one is taking loads more time than I thought it would. Here's a few more things I can check off my list...

Little Cat A is a snuggler. She loves plush/soft stuff (blankets, stuffed animals etc). I thought I would knit her a scarf for Christmas. I haven't knitted in about 20 years and I was very much a beginner when I stopped knitting. I have to give a big THANK YOU to You Tube and all the kind, generous people who post knitting videos. Without them I would have ended up giving Little Cat A a ball of yarn! Thankfully the yarn I chose was VERY forgiving. I initially started out with 25 stitches and after 1.5 hours of knitting, realized that would be way too wide and I unraveled all my hard work. After all, I wanted the scarf to keep her warm, not strangle her! I started again, this time with 12 stitches and somehow ended with 14 in the end! I don't know that happened. Anyway, here's what Little Cat A is receiving.

Little Cat A's Christmas scarf.
I thought it worthy of two photos since it took me forever to make!

Next up may seem like a cop-out, BUT my peeps will need to write thank you notes after Christmas. So they will each get a set of flat notes with return address labels designed just for them.

Little Cat B appreciates the Steam Punk style,
so the gears work for him.

The LOML would appreciate something simple.
Manly yes, but I like it too.
(Does anyone remember those Irish Spring soap commercials??)

Little Cat A likes cute things; puppies, kitties and of course, butterflies.

I have only one more hand-made gift to make. I'll post it when it's done. I'm excited about the concept, I hope the execution of it meets my expectations. Fingers crossed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gifts for the Neighbors

Each year at Christmas time the LOML (Love Of My Life) bakes up several varieties of yummy cookies for our neighbors. He puts a LOT of work into these babies. He scours the internet for new and different recipes and no recipe is too time consuming or difficult for him. I always encourage him to keep it simple, but he's all about the taste, no matter the effort. Then, after all his efforts, he's perfectly fine with putting his creations on a cheap paper plate and covering them with ugly plastic wrap for delivery to the neighbors. He's been doing this for 15+ years and each year I suggest he kick up his presentation a notch or two. He's never interested. This year I figured, if it was important to me, then I should do something about it. So I did. Here's what we co-created together. He was responsible for the cookies and I was responsible for the marshmallows and the packaging.

A package of wrapped cookies and the supplies I used to make the cookie tags.

Here's the Hot Cocoa packaging before I cut them out.
Props to
LollyChops for coming up with the great hot cocoa packaging idea.
Thanks Lolly!!

Iced Citrus Crackle Cookies
Lemon Meringues
Ginger Cookies
Cappuccino Flats
Homemade Marshmallows (little hearts - cut with a cookie cutter I bought at Bake It Pretty which I discovered from Miss B at Le Blahg. Thanks Miss B!)
Hot Cocoa Mix (store bought, but packaged with love)

The filled boxes before they get all wrapped up!

All wrapped and ready for delivery!

I like how they turned out and they were worth the hours and hours of work!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teacher Gift

My sister, who has been a 2nd grade teacher for years, knows a thing or two about teacher gifts. She's been on the receiving end of many and written a thank you note for every one of them. Well, this year it's her turn to give a teacher gift. It's her daughter's first year of pre-school and her class is the caterpillar class. Here's what we came up with for Gianna's teacher to use as thank you notes to her class. We did a little play on my Learn-to-Print stationery and added an extra personal touch at the bottom.

We hope she likes them. We think they're funny!

Gifts, gifts, and more gifts!

This holiday season I'm trying to make as many gifts as I can. Of course, I see loads of things that my peeps would love to receive and I have bought a few of those too (especially since I feel I'm running out of time!).

I believe the wrapping of a gift is just as fun as the gift itself. So, though a number of the gifts pictured are store bought, I did try and put my lovin' touch on the wrappings and used some of my just received 3" round labels to make gift tags.

It doesn't show up in the photos too well,
but the font on the gift tags is striped like a candy cane.

This next little pretty is my gift to me. I bought it on etsy at dottyral's shop. She has soooo many cute pin cushions, I had a hard time deciding which one wanted to live at my house. But, I can't say no to a cupcake (real or felt), so now she is living with my other sewing supplies and looking scrumptious. Maybe this will get me to sew again...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My 2009 Calendar

Timing is everything they say and though calendars are all about time, I blew the timing of creating a calendar for my etsy shop this year. I'm learning as I go and it looks like the beginning of November was the time to introduce this time sensitive item. Next year I'll know. I still wanted to create one because I thought it would be fun and a good learning experience. It was both. So this year there will be none for sale, but here's what I made to give as gifts.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Family Fun Week - Day 9 & 10

Day 9
The "fun" part of Family Fun did not actually include my family for Day 9. My friend, Jan, over at Room With a Past invited me to visit Wendy Addison's shop, Theatre of Dreams, in Port Costa for one of Wendy's openings. We were joined by pals Rosann and Sherry. We went on the second day of the opening and Wendy mentioned that Day 1 was tres busy with many items sold out. I still scored a glittery bird that I'm planning to hang in my "studio".

Rosann, me, Jan & Sherry outside of Wendy Addison's shop.

My newest glitter addition.

Glitter Bird -- $8
Discovering a new place and being inspired -- $Priceless
Total -- $8

Day 10
We headed into San Francisco for our last day of Family Fun. To the Presidio to be exact. The Presidio was once a military base, but is now run by the National Parks Service. It is so very charming. We toured the Visitor's Center and right next door was a small exhibit of Andy Goldworthy's nature art. He is a fantastic artist. Click here to see photos of his work on flickr. We then drove the the Golden Gate Bridge and walked half way across and back. It was a great experience. I wouldn't mind doing it again on a crystal clear day. We had a bit of fog/smog happening when we were there.

We were all hungry after our walk, so we drove back into the Presidio and lunched at a semi-fancy place called La Terrasse. We all enjoyed our food and Little Cat A claimed it was the best French Toast she had ever eaten!

We tried to geocache a little, but realized we were too pooped to give it any real effort, so we called it a day and drove home (taking the long way through the Presidio to look at all the cool buildings). On the way home we stopped at Katrina Rozelle's and each got a piece of cake. I had the Almond Vanilla and was happy as a clam!

Parking -- $1
2 bags of pretzels to keep from starving -- $3
Fabulous Lunch -- $65
Fabulous Cake -- $15
Enjoying a beautiful location with my family -- $ Priceless
Total -- $84

Family Fun Week was fun and I'm ready to return to our regularly scheduled programming!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Design for the Shop

Family Fun Week has been great AND I've been longing to create something again. Alone. With no one around. Just by myself. Ok, I think you get it.

I've always loved that paper that kids use when they first learn to print their letters. I love the feel, the colors and the crisp, clean appearance of it. Not to mention the hope this paper gave me, when I was a kid, that one day I could have crisp, clean, well organized, beautifully formed handwriting. Well, I don't, but I still appreciate the hope the paper gave me.

Anyway, here's what I came up with.

Family Fun Week - Day 6, 7 & 8

Day 6
Day 6 of Family Fun Week was pretty mellow. Little Cat A assured me that she was healthy as could be, but I didn't want to travel too far from home just in case. We enjoyed some fine dining at In-n-Out Burger (Little Cat A's choice) and then off to bowling. In the evening Little Cat B went to a friend's for a sleep over and the rest of the gang watched the movie, Enchanted. Little Cat A and I made some Meringue Cookies. If you use this recipe feel free to substitute the chocolate chips and nuts for 1 Cup crushed-up mint M&Ms, we did (you can only get these at the holidays). Tres, tres tasty!!

Lunch -- $15
Bowling -- $20
Movie -- $2
Everybody Healthy -- $ Priceless
Total -- $37

Day 7
Thanksgiving Day -- The LOML made a great dinner with all the traditional foods. The rest of the crew was responsible for making desserts to serve in the evening when some guests came over. My dessert pick was the Meringue Cookies mentioned above. Little Cat A chose Lemon Poppy Cake (recipe not included because I didn't think it was tasty) and Little Cat B chose homemade Moon Pies. The Moon Pies turned out fairly decent. We made Homemade Marshmallow and sandwiched the goo between Costco chocolate chip cookies. I think if we make these again, I would put the Marshmallow goo on ONE sugar cookie, wait the goo to set up and then dip the goo side into melted chocolate and let harden. In our Thanksgiving version, the ratio of cookie to marshmallow was off. Just too much cookie. The LOML also made some Gingerbread cause he just can't help himself.

Day 8
The weather was a bit gloomy and overcast and we wanted to avoid post-Thanksgiving crowds, so we decided to stay in the "hood" and try our hand at geocaching. Here's how geocahing is described on their website "Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment." We had never done it before and the LOML had been figuring out how to use the hand-held GPS all week. We set out on foot from our home and walked to two cache sites. But alas, we discovered we are not such good seekers! Yet. We didn't find the caches. We still had a good time and the dog got a walk in, so all was not lost.

Went out for lunch at Back 40 Texas BBQ. We love their sweet potato fries! Had a lovely lunch and then tried one more geocache site. Still no luck in finding the cache. We learned that it's VERY helpful to print out the clues from the website when you go out searching. We'll do that next time.

We watched the movie, Iron Man, that night and snacked on leftover Thanksgiving desserts.

Geocaching -- $0
Lunch -- $15 (we had a $40 gift certificate)
Movie -- $2
Total -- $17

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Creative Customer - Marcey

I received an email this morning from Marcey Stone over at Happy Stones sharing with me some photos of her paper goods she created from a template set she purchased from my etsy shop a little while back. She added some sparkle with rhinestones and glitter. And you know, glitter always makes me smile. I was excited and delighted to see what she came up with. I always wonder how my designs are given and received. Thanks for sharing Marcey!!

Family Fun Week - Day 5

Family Fun Week had to call in sick for Day 5. Little Cat A had a fever and felt yucky. :(

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Family Fun Week - Day 3 & 4

Day 3 - Sunday
Well, we laid low on Day 3. Some chores around the house (no fun in that) and then in the afternoon we went to Gianna's, our niece, family birthday get-together. Got to catch up with everyone. For all you crafters out there, my brother told me about this website that is closing out a bunch of stuff We ate some tasty BBQ chicken with fixin's. My brother-in-law is the BEST BBQ-er! He could open a restaurant. Really. In the evening, we came home we had Movie Night in our family room and watched Wall-E and ate our candy from Powell's Sweet Shoppe.

Movie -- $2 (Netflix)
Family Memories -- $ Priceless
Total -- $2

Day 4 - Monday
We decided to go into San Francisco for Day 4. Little Cat B (14 year old son; does that make him Medium Cat B??) had been wanting to go to the SFMOMA for some time. On the way, we stopped in Berkeley at Zachary's for a slice of their delicious pizza and then another pit stop at Bake Sale Betty's to pick up some of her mouth-watering Ginger cookies for the car ride to the SFMOMA.

The SFMOMA was fun, but it's safe to say I don't get modern art. I tried, really I did, but after viewing 3 of the 5 floors, Little Cat A and I went to the gift shop and had a fine time looking around. Little Cat A bought a very cool, clear bouncy ball that is filled with superfine blue glitter. It's mesmerizing.

We then decided to head on over to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop at Ghirardelli Square where we proceeded to gobble up 2 giant Hot Fudge Sundaes. Our tummies felt a tad woogley after the treats, so we walked around and peeked in some of the shops to give our stomaches a chance to settle before getting in the car again. There were a couple of shops that spoke to me and I had to explore further.

First, there was Kara's Cupcakes. I adore cupcakes! The petiteness, the sweetness, the flavors, everything about them, I love. I bought a Sweet Vanilla and a filled Meyer Lemon cupcake. I ate the Sweet Vanilla in the evening. I savored it. I don't like to be rushed with a cupcake. It was the best tasting cupcake I've ever had. The frosting was tres vanilla-y and the cake had a bit of an almond taste to me. YUM!! The Lemon cupcake is still waiting to be sampled. Here are a couple of photos of the cupcakes in their natural habitat..

We then strolled over to Lola of North Beach, a very cute paper goods and baby gift shop. We poked around a bit, had a few laughs at some of the cards, bought a card that sparked an idea for a Print Possible holiday card and had a lovely chat with the woman who was working there.

Then off to home we went. I made chicken noodle soup for dinner and we popped popcorn and watched Bee Movie (a very clever movie in my opinion).

Zachary's Pizza -- $14
Bake Sale Betty treats -- $5
SFMOMA -- $32
Parking -- $9
Ghirardelli treats -- $18
Card -- $3
Kara's cupcakes -- $6
Movie (Netflix) -- $2
Time with Family -- $ Priceless
Total -- $89

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family Fun Week - Day 2

Yesterday, the first whole day of Family Fun Week, we went to Petaluma, CA. Though it's FAMILY Fun Week, this trip was solely my desire because Cathe Holden of Just Something I Made blog was participating in a vintage craft boutique. Cathe posted some sketch books on her blog that she would be selling at the boutique and I wanted to own one the moment I saw them.

The weather was beautiful, sunny, clear and in the 70's. We enjoyed the lush, green rolling hills showcasing the mama sheep and their baby lambs on the way there.

Here's what we parked next to. I couldn't resist snapping a pic. Wow!

The boutique was absolutely fabulous!!! There were about 15 vendors and each one had beautiful items. It was so nice to meet a fellow blogger and especially someone who is so creative and talented. Cathe couldn't have been nicer!

Here's Cathe surrounded by all her lovely goodies.

Here's the newest addition to my things-that-make-me-smile-and-bring-me-joy cache.

Cathe wrapped up my new sketch book in such a cute way with some red and white baker's string tying a pair of scissors to the bag along with her business card. It felt like a gift to myself.

The LOML, Little Cat A and Little Cat B were extremely patient while I visited and shopped. Here's another little goodie I bought. Glitter makes me smile...

Next we were off to The Tea Cafe for lunch. It was OK. I think the next time we visit Petaluma, we will try a place new for eats.

We then walked over to Powell's Sweet Shoppe. This is just a wonderful place. It's filled with every candy imaginable, pleasingly displayed and they have Charlie and the Chocolate Factory playing on a TV with theater seats to sit in. Little Cat A bought a DOTS lunch box that she has been pining for since August, and we all bought some candy, of course.

Then it was time to drive home. Fun was had by all and I will enjoy my sketch book for years to come!

Boutique goodies -- $28
Lunch -- $45
Candy -- $15
Inspiration received from seeing so many beautiful creative things -- Priceless
Total -- $88

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Family Fun Week - Day 1

Well, the kids have the whole Thanksgiving week off from school and with feeling the need to conserve finances, we decided we would not be doing any grand destination vacation. So, I came up with what I thought would be a brilliant idea (so far, I think I'm the ONLY member of our family that thinks so) of staying local, but acting like we are on vacation. We all contributed to a list of places we would like to visit/experience. Our budget is $100 a day for a family of four, not including gas and bridge tolls, but including food.

And here we gooooooooo...

Last night went to the The Paramount Theater in Oakland to see Singin' in the Rain. It was so much fun! The theater is art deco beautiful (of course, I forgot my camera) and the movie was great! (Nobody in my family had ever seen it.) And the Paramount doesn't just show you a movie, oh no my friend, they give you an experience. At 7:30pm a man sitting at an elaborate organ rises from below the stage and proceeds to play some oldies until 8pm. After each song the audience claps and cheers. Next they show an old cartoon and some previews of old movies. At 8:15 they turn up the lights, and rising from the stage once again, the man playing the organ PLUS three men in tuxedos, one woman in a vintage fancy dress and a very cool retro spinning wheel with 3 turning dials/wheels. It was time for "Deco-Win". Each patron received a numbered raffle ticket when entering the theatre. The Paramount's "Carol Merrill" (Vanna White for you younger readers) spins the wheels/dials, one of the tuxedoed men calls the winning number and, ta da, the lucky ticket holder wins a gift certificate from a local food place. They did this 3 times and no, we did not win, but it was still great fun! Then the movie begins. After each great dancing scene the audience applauds and cheers!

It was a great time and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is near enough to partake!

Movie entrance fee -- $25 (5 people, Little Cat A took a friend)
Food Treats -- $23 (4 bottles of water, 3 bags of popcorn and 1 box of Milk Duds)
Parking -- $10
Experience -- Priceless
Total -- $58

Monday, November 17, 2008

Party Invites for my Niece

Time flies! My niece Gia is turning 4. Seems like last week she was born...

Well it's her first "little friends" birthday party and I offered to create the invites. She decided on a princess theme and my sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to just trust me to come up with something.

Here's what I came up with...

Of course she would need some Thank You notes too!

I hope they like them. I think I will make some into birth announcements for my etsy shop

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What a Pretty Treasury!!

Jen over at Paper Wren put together a very pretty Treasury on etsy called Tipetty Tap Tipetty Tap and was kind enough to include my "Hello" / Typewriter gocco-ed flat notes. I love the subject matter and colors she focused on! Thanks Jen!

Friday, November 14, 2008

What an Honor!!

Miss B over at invited me to do an "On the Download" on her blog today. "On the Download" is a weekly (on Fridays) free download of an creator's artwork. I've put together an assortment of gift tags just for the download.

I was so honored by her invite. I adore her blog! It's beautiful, informative and so fun to read!

So scamper on over and get yourself some free gift tags! And of course, check out all the great things on her blog (not to mention her beautiful paper goods in her etsy shop)!