Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Wants: Kings Dominion

This week I have a different kind of Wednesday Want- a destination!  I really want to go to Kings Dominion near Richmond, Virginia!

I grew up nearby and we used to have season passes every summer.  Some weeks we would go more than once since we had friends that also had season passes.  

It's changed a lot there over the years, but I could still find my way around with my eyes closed! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shop Talk: Etsy Treasuries

One of my clutches just got featured in a new treasury, so I thought it would be fun to try out the treasury tool and document them all! If you'd like to see the rest, they're after the jump.

Try it Tuesday: Embroidery Hoop Wall Pocket

I love this tutorial!  I've been buying Stitch Magazine for a while, but this is the first project that I saw and immediately had to make.

My sewing desk is often a mess, so anything that can get important items out of the chaos is awesome!

The tutorial is several pages long, but here's the gist of it.  Find a large embroidery hoop.  (I bought mine at A.C. Moore for $1.69.)  Choose your fabrics.  Fold one over and press to make the pocket area.  Pin and sew at intervals to create the pockets.  Cut a piece of regular old batting (the tutorial called for fusible fleece-and I say "no thanks") and place it behind fabric on top of the inner hoop.  Secure fabric and batting inside of hoop.  Cut extra batting as close to the hoop as you can.  Glue along the top edge of the hoop to secure everything.  Cut off any additional fabric.

I've got so many ideas for future wall pockets! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Souvenir Stash: Asheville

Of course, I just couldn't help myself in the face of souvenirs (or fabric).

As promised, here's my stash from Asheville, NC!  Most of the souvenirs are from various gift shops along the Blue Ridge Parkway where we went hiking.  The motorcycle postcard is my favorite!   The postcard with the baby/pig on it is an advertisement for the product that made the owner of the Grove Park Inn rich.  The print is from the awesome Woolworth Walk.  The pouch made of measuring tape and the "Yay! Asheville!" magnet are from Malaprop's Bookstore.

I also got to visit two awesome fabric stores while in Asheville.  I love, love, love being able to see "designer" fabric in person!

The first store I visited was Kitsch Fabrics on Haywood Road.  They had a great selection of unusual fabrics, some of which you can see above.  (I can't remember the designers off the top of my head-other than the Jay McCarroll mushrooms.  Email me if you're really curious and I'll check out the selvedges.)

The other store I visited was Waechter's Silk Shop.  By visit, I mean run down the road to 14 minutes before they close and make a giant stack of bolts. :)  

Those red wagons remind me so much of PeeWee Herman!

I was so excited that they had the "Prom" print from Michael Miller!  The Tammis Keefe tribute fabrics from Michael Miller are so adorable.  I can't wait to find the perfect project for all this new fabric!

(Did I miss any amazing fabric stores in Asheville?  Let me know so I can visit next time!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Songs: Richard Marx/Baltimora

This week's grouping is random for sure, but also enjoyable.

SAD: Richard Marx- Right Here Waiting

My most vivid memory of Richard Marx is how I seemed to be the only person in my 4th grade class who even knew he existed.  We were at some kind of assembly, and I mentioned this very song and the girls I was sitting with (who could be be described as my frenemies for the school year) acted as though he was my imaginary friend.  I was never the type to have an imaginary friend (or even use a different name during games), but if I was, I would NOT have created Richard Marx.  For one thing, he must have been at least 26 by that point.  Also, he always seems so depressed!  

Maybe he and Bonnie Raitt should have gotten together . . . on second thought, Bonnie was way too realistic for him.  At least she knows she can't make someone love her if they don't and can't make their heart beat something it won't.

This is the kind of song that will forever be playing on Delilah's radio show.  If you don't have the pleasure of having Delilah broadcasting in your area, you may have someone else that hosts a show where people can call in and talk about how tonight is their 11th wedding anniversary and request a special song be played for their lady.  Then Delilah will play "A Whole New World" from Aladdin.  

It should be completely obvious by this point that this song is nothing but sad.

(I just have to mention that the site that I referenced the lyrics on for this song says that almost 600,000 people have used the site to read these lyrics in little over a year.  Yeah, that sounds totally accurate.)

HAPPY: Baltimora- Tarzan Boy

By contrast, this song isn't anything but happy!  I can't really remember hearing it when it came out, though I am sure I did.  Perhaps I heard it on my one lone visit to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party as I wiped the pooled grease off of my pizza or first heard the Pop Rocks and Coke myth from someone's older sister.  It is nothing if not the sort of song that will make children go crazy and jump up and down.  It would be the perfect soundtrack for a toy run:

I have a lot of residual jealousy towards this kid.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wanderlust: Asheville, NC

Last weekend, I took an awesome trip to Asheville, NC.  Here are a couple of pictures of the fun!

Mini-cupcakes from Short Street Cakes

some shots from the trolley Ghost Tour 

Mt. Mitchell on the Blue Ridge Parkway

(I'll be back later with a Souvenir Stash post with my new goods!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Wants: IAdornU Arrow Bracelet

Wednesday Wants is starting to become an expensive feature on my blog!  Most of the time, it seems that I end up buying the object in question.  In this case, it's already on its way to me.

I saw this adorable bracelet from iadornu on Amy's blog and immediately fell in love.  The last bracelet I wore with any frequency was probably sloppily braided by a ten year old back in the day a slap bracelet, but I could see myself wearing this one all the time.  Now I can't wait to wear it with everything! :)

(Photo via Etsy)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Try it Tuesday: Andrea Zuill's free patterns

When I had a simple surgery a few years ago that would keep me off my feet for a bit, I decided to jump into a new habit and do some hand embroidery.  I had always loved hand sewing, but usually what I was doing was something like securing my Vandals patch to my backpack.

I quickly got hooked on embroidery and was always on the prowl for new designs. 
Andrea Zuill's Badbird's blog was instantly my favorite place for free patterns!  I love her quirky drawings!

Here are my versions of some of my favorite patterns by Andrea Zuill.  I can't wait to try another one!

(Sorry for the quality, or lack thereof, of these images.  They were taken quite some time ago just to document my embroidery.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday Songs: Laura Branigan and 50th Post Celebration Edition

Today's Sunday Songs is not only the Laura Branigan edition by special request, but my 50th blog post!

SAD: Laura Branigan- Gloria

I'm so confused about this one.  Laura Branigan is presenting this is such a gleeful manner and the words are so...something.  Saying "I think they got your number, I think they got the alias that you've been livin' under" seems to be a classier way to call someone trash. Laura seems to think that Gloria is a desperate woman who needs to learn to value herself.  She also suggests that Gloria hears voices and is "headed for a breakdown" . . . and she does it in such a happy way!  Gloria must totally be her enemy. 

I'm sure quite some time ago as a little kid that didn't understand lyrics, I may have danced around to this song while getting ready for Halloween or something.  It has such a happy tone and Laura is wearing such a happy sequiny thing, but it is so,so sad.

HAPPY: Laura Branigan- Self Control

Laura Branigan sure has a funny way of showing her emotions.  Above she happily tears into poor, trashy Gloria and here she is all morose about being in love with someone.  Confusion reigns!

Speaking of confusion reigning, have you seen this video?!  There is no other way to describe it other than "absolutely insane."  There's some kind of masked swingers dance club with an aluminum foil floor and that's one of the least weird things. 

I think this song is happy because it reminds me of a time where all the clothes in the front of DEB were hung on these weird chains made of rings that hung from the ceiling.  It was like walking through a forest of '80s fashion.  If we're talking about something that could have actually happened while I heard this song, then I could have been hiding under one of the racks of stir-up pants in the back with my sister. 

With this particular selection, I prefer to imagine that this is a song that the DEB salesgirl liked to listen to as she counted the lace headbands in preparation for inventory at closing time on a Thursday night in November.  She's thinking about some guy she likes that she met at a bar while the theme from "St. Elmo's Fire" was playing, and that song could make anyone get carried away with their feelings.  She's going to go home and call him from the princess phone underneath her "Electric Youth" poster and on top of her black and mirrored laquer  light wood wicker nightstand. Maybe they can get an Orange Julius on her break tomorrow night.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Wants: Tugboat Print Shop


Tugboat Print Shop does such beautiful work!  Unfortunately, the print above is from an edition that is sold out, but it has been on my favorites list for years now!

 The work is mostly hand carved woodblock prints.  So gorgeous!

(Photos via Etsy)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Try it Tuesday: Martha Stewart's Key Lime Pie

I've been experimenting a lot with food lately, so it's only fitting that those recipes trickle into Try it Tuesday!

I am a huge fan of Martha Stewart's recipes, so I was excited when a friend who was visiting last weekend chose key lime pie as his belated birthday cake.

It was a learning experience.  I had certainly eaten key lime pie before, but I didn't stop to consider that key limes are actually a different kind of lime.  Tiny, tiny limes!  

  Testing my hand strength by attempting to get a half a cup of lime juice out of these guys has prompted me to look for one of those manual juicers!

Do yourself a favor if you try this recipe and grate the lime zest before you cut up the limes and squeeze all the juice out!  It's not very easy to get grated lime zest from a squished up pile of lime bits.

Yes, I cheated and used a pre-made pie crust.  Shhh!  Don't tell Martha!

This pie was a huge hit!  Once I get that juicing apparatus I will have to make it again!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Songs: TV Theme Song Edition: Family Ties/Perfect Strangers

This week's sad and happy songs/ memories come from TV theme songs!

SAD: Family Ties Theme

Few shows confused me more than "Family Ties."   It made me terribly uncomfortable after the episode where the mom and dad were in some play and the mom had to kiss a stranger.  I could be wrong, but I also seem to remember that she was fighting an attraction to this co-star.  Also, someone was wearing an awful leather jacket with fringe on it in the play.  Troubling!

Anyway, this song just seems so depressing . . . like they all just had a big fight and now they've decided they may as well make up.  I know Michael J. Fox was a huge heartthrob during this time, but it always seemed more like a show for adults.  I much preferred the show that goes along with this week's happy song!

HAPPY: Perfect Strangers Theme Song

It's so strange that a show about two grown men would have a theme song all about following your dreams!  

"Perfect Strangers" was the original T.G.I.F. headliner (for my age group), and my sister and I were totally devoted to anything playing on that station between 8 and 10pm (and sometimes even 20/20).  Larry and Balki had such hilarious slapstick antics that always cracked me up.  My favorite episode is when they promised to stay on this deodorant billboard until the Chicago Bulls won a game.  (Here's part one if you're curious!)

Sad theme songs are not my cup of tea.  They should all take notes from "Perfect Strangers!"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Wants: Modcloth- Craving Curry Skirt

I really prefer wearing skirts in the summer, so I love this casual one from Modcloth!  I love the high waist-so flattering!

(Photos via Modcloth)

Souvenir Stash: Myrtle Beach

I've got a real weakness for souvenirs.  (Maybe this can be attributed to listening to Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" as a child, i.e. "goin' places that I've never been, seein' things that I may never see again.")  Something about the experience of "vacation" makes the objects that much more precious.  They are made to help you remember a time that was extra special, maybe spent with people you don't get to see often.

Since finding souvenirs is something I really enjoy (and do frequently), I am going to start featuring my stash here after my trips!

I want to start by sharing the first souvenirs I remember buying.

These two mini-aquarium/snow globes were for sale in a little house that was a gift store.  They are still marked on the bottom as being $1.39 each, so I must have really wanted them as a seven year old to end up with both!  They've lost the glitter they once contained due to being filled over and over again, but I still love them just as much as I did when I was seven!

This stash is from our recent trip to Myrtle Beach.  Here's the (overly informative) breakdown:
* The pinecone owl and alligator puppet are from Alligator Adventure.
* The flamingo snow globe, waterproof containers, some of the postcards, and the two dolphin magnets that make it seem like dolphins are unfamiliar with water are from Bargain Beachwear.
* The wiggly crab magnet is from the mini golf course where I achieved second place after three holes-in-one. 
* The owl earrings are from a shop in Barefoot Landing.
* The heart lock, blue dolphin magnet, vintage postcards, and license plate are from the Gay Dolphin.  

I was so excited about these waterproof containers since I thought they'd be perfect for iPhone . . . so I bought three.  When I showed them to my husband and tried to demonstrate, it became clear they are not at all perfect for iPhone. 

My parents used to spend a lot of time in Myrtle Beach before I was born, so I bought them a copy of this vintage postcard.  It's before their time, but probably more like what the area looked like when they visited when they were first married.

I'm so excited to share more stashes in the future, including some of my extra special treasures from past trips! :)

What's your favorite souvenir?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Try it Tuesday: Little Pink House Tutorial

Today I tried something a little different: this felt applique project by Melissa from CheckoutGirl.  We were away this past weekend and I wanted something I could make while sitting on the couch watching (what ended up being bad) movies.

If you check out the tutorial, you can see that I just went off on my own after the basic idea.  I decided to  try and replicate my house in felt.  Our house is more of a tan/very light grey with a brownish gray roof, but those colors do not exist in my felt collection.  To be totally honest, I also skipped a window.  Oh well!

I have done a lot of embroidery, but I had never appliqued anything onto a hoop.  I love the effect!

I almost didn't paint the hoop, but I'm so glad that I did. :)

Wanderlust: Myrtle Beach

We spent a fun July 4th weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this year!  It wasn't my first trip and I got to visit some of my favorite spots.


The Gay Dolphin bills itself as the World's Largest Gift Store (that just seemed to need capitals).  It's been around for 55 years so far!  It definitely brings some welcome quirk to a shopping landscape that is mostly clogged with Sunsations/Wings/Eagles beach superstores.

This was my second trip to Alligator Adventure , which is home to over 800 alligators and many other animals.  The baby lemur in the picture above is only 3 weeks old!  He was so cute!

Huntington Beach State Park, home of Atalaya, is an awesome place to visit.  Atalaya was built in 1931 by Archer and Anna Huntington, who wanted to use it to work on creative pursuits without the interruptions of the New York social scene.  During WWII, it was even used as a base for the Army Air Corps.  

The couple last stayed at Atalaya in 1947, and removed their furniture in 1955.  In 1960, the land became a state park.  Unfortunately, Atalaya was left to the elements until the late '80s or early '90s.  

When I visited as a kid, I was so confused about how this strange building had ever been a home.  At this point, it has (almost) no windows and the interior is made almost entirely of brick.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what the people must have been like, and still couldn't imagine.  Even visiting this weekend, it's still hard to imagine what it must have been like in its prime!

I hope you had a great 4th of July weekend!  I'll be back later for Try it Tuesday!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Songs: Vaguely July 4th-related Edition

These songs aren't directly about America or July 4th, but they do reflect what I define as profoundly "American" songs.  So, like I said, this is a vaguely July 4th-related edition.  I did my best! :)

SAD: John Denver- Country Roads

Even before John Denver died, this song always made me sad.  When I was little, it made adulthood sound so scary.  You weren't near your home anymore, which was "where you belonged." 

The reason I find this song patriotic is that John Denver was someone who loved and was really proud of his home.  Even though he was away doing famous person stuff, he still just wanted to get back to his roots after he was done exploring the rest of the country.

Fortunately, there is some happy news even though this is the sad song section!  If Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are playing "Country Roads," it suddenly becomes a lot happier!  It's a July 4th happy bonus!

                                               HAPPY: Bruce Springsteen- Born to Run

Now this is my idea of a patriotic song!

Sure, this song is pretty negative about Bruce's (or the narrator's) hometown, but there's a lot of hope about being able to find someplace new where they can "walk in the sun."  That's important stuff!  It's important to "guard your dreams and visions" and try to find happiness.  

The excitement that comes over me every time I hear this song could only mean that it's happy!

Happy July 4th!  Be careful with those fireworks! :)