"Hey, if I had somewhere to go, I certainly wouldn't be in Cleve-Land." -Howard the Duck

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

While visions of catnip mice danced in her head...

A little catnap after a long Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you & yours! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another Creative Gift Idea

Another one of the gifts I sent has been received, so I can share this idea with you.  Yesterday I said that you shouldn't throw out those mint tins...well, you shouldn't really throw out any tins, since they can be upcycled into pretty little things.  This tin lived it's former life as a Clipiola tin.  I've loved using those little round Italian paper clips from Cavallini & Co. for years, and one tin was finally empty.  It was easy to cut paper to size & add that plus some ribbon & a Cavallini bird sticker to the tin, then bling it up with some Stickles in a deep green...I think it's called Patina. 
Since I couldn't decide on just one charm to use as a pendant on a simple necklace for the gift, I made 3 charms that are things I know Kimber loves.  These all nestled into some crimped paper inside the tin & went on their way to the Pacific NW. 

So...if you still have some gifts to make...this might work for you.  Upcycling is all the rage...yet artists have been doing it for years.  We just figured we were being resourceful & using things that might look like trash to someone who didn't realize that just about anything can be an art supply.  Really.  You should see the boxes & drawers full of stuff in my studio.  But that's another post for another day.  Maybe.

Time to go make some spreads & dips to nibble on while we wait for Santa tonight!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Need some last minute gift ideas?

Maybe you're still making gifts for Christmas...or Hanukkah...or Kwanzaa.  I'm sharing some of the ideas I came up with this year.  All the people who these were sent to have opened them, so I won't be spoiling any surprises...I sure wouldn't want to do that. 

The ornaments above add some very pretty sparkle to your Christmas tree.  I especially love the icicles...I'm thinking I need lots of those to adorn our tree next year.  They look so elegant, yet were relatively easy to put together if you have the supplies & some basic beading skills & tools.  Those are vintage hooks on the ornaments...they're sooooo much sturdier than the ones you buy now.

Here's the cross hanging on a tree.  I love the peace dove on this one.
My friend Bev collects buttons & uses them in her artwork & jewelry designs.  When considering a little something to send her way, I decided on an altered mint tin...don't ever throw those away as they're a great canvas for altering.  A little collage on the front, along with some buttons and a line from a vintage book are all it takes. 

Then go through your button box or jar & select some pretty ones to share. 

A bit of memory wire & beads make a pretty bracelet that goes together in a matter of hours.  Add some charms or more beads to the ends & you have a bracelet that fits almost any wrist.  This one is in Los Angeles for a nice, warm, Hanukkah celebration.  I wish I could have delivered it in person!!!

There's always the option of making a piece of jewelry such as a pendant or earrings & gifting them in an altered matchbox.  A small ornament could be gifted the same way...or maybe some cold hard cash would fit inside...that's always the right size & color!

These little ornaments add a cute touch to your gift packages & then look "sew" sweet on the tree.  If you bake & give goodies as gifts, these are a nice touch for attaching the gift tag or closing a bag of cookies.

Last but not least, most people really love to get a handcrafted ornament.  I have friends who tell me how they always think of me as they're decorating their tree, or how once their daughter got married, they gave her the collection of ornaments I'd made to get her started with a nice collection. 

Merry & Happy to all of you!  Remember to slow down, breathe, & enjoy your holidays...and some good munchies with a nice adult beverage never hurt, either!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah !

Happy Hanukkah!

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.  Since we celebrate both Hanukkah & Christmas, we will be lighting the first candle tonight...and eating latkes for dinner...with applesauce & sour cream, of course.  We'll be eating lots of latkes over the next eight days, I'm sure...and this year I'm going to make a noodle kugel.  Phil loves noodle kugel, so I'm not sure why I've never made one before.  I have a few recipes to choose from, so I'll let him pick the one he likes best.  I don't remember ever tasting it, so this will be something new that may become a tradition.
Now...for the latkes, there's a story, of course.  One year I made latkes from scratch.  Shredded potatoes & onions...and a few scrapes to my knuckles from the hand grater.  They were so good...or so I thought.  As we ate, I asked Phil how he liked them & he said they were ok, but too much like hash browns.  He liked his Mom's better.  Fair enough...so I called his Mom to ask how she made hers. 
Here's the secret recipe...Manischewitz Potato Pancake Mix. 
Right from the box.
No scraped knuckles.
Just follow the recipe on the back of the box & fry those babies up.
Serve with sour cream & applesauce. 
Phil is happy.
That's how I'll make them tonight.  I'll do some from scratch ones using the blender to chop up the potato/onion mixture during the eight days...but for tonight, we're going with tradition. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's a Girl!

Yep...it's a girl kitty named Sunkist...and she came home with us yesterday afternoon.  She's pretty much a non-stop cat right now...exploring all around her new digs.  She roamed around all day Saturday, slowing down just enough to get comfortable for awhile & catch a little catnap.  The pic above is her just after waking me up at 5am today...she looks as if she pulled an all nighter!
You can see here...in a brief minute of rest...that she is polydactyl on her front paws...and the way she can flex those extra toes makes it look like she's attempting to develop opposable thumbs so she can rule the world!

This is how she spent a good part of her first day...watching birdies.  That's good kitty entertainment!

Yes, that's snow on the ground, but she's warming our house with her kitty presence, so I'm trying to ignore the snow.  It's good to have a kitty in this house again.

Apparently, Sunkist's original owners had to turn her in to the shelter when their landlord refused to let them keep cats.  Poor baby...she had been in there since May 2011.  She's got a good forever home now...and she's already trying to train us to do what she wants!

One last pic for today.  This is another morning photo...she had just come out of the back window & looks sad that there are no birdies yet...it's still dark out.  She'll get lots of good birdie watching time later today. 

Now to get her to stay off the kitchen table, stop clawing the furniture, and stop trying to chew on the Christmas tree.  We've unplugged the lights as a precaution.  She's already stolen those candy cane ornaments from the bottom of the tree & I'm hoping we can leave the tree up through the New Year.  I'll get a pic of her under the tree soon...she does like to sleep there...she has definitely made herself at home.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Christmas Tree is just not right this year...

Our tree is up...it's almost decorated.  I've had a bit of a problem  getting it done this year as a major part of our Christmas and our lives is missing.  The first thing our dear sweet Sophie Cat did each year was to lie down under our tree...and start to "steal" ornaments from the bottom branches.  You can see her favorites in the photo of her above.  I miss that.

The photo above is from 2003...we were all still quite happy in CA...and Sophie was looking for Santa, I'm sure.  We miss her more than words can ever express.  Hug your furry friends for me, ok?  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vintage jewelry

Do you like vintage jewelry?  I know I do, but I rarely wear any of it these days.  Sad, but true.  Somehow the brooch above doesn't go too well with my jeans & sweatshirt.  I remember saving my money back in the 1960s to be able to buy presents for my Mom & Dad...and this is one I bought for Mom.  It was probably from Higbee's...you know...the department store shown in "A Christmas Story".  Only I grew up in the real Higbee's, which is no longer open.  Neither are Halle Bros. or May Company or Sterling Linder.  Very sad.  Those were the days in Cleveland OH.

Anyway, I've decided to begin to part with some of my vintage jewelry.  I have it available in my Etsy shop now, including those pretty bells.  Perhaps you're still looking for an unusual gift for someone...or maybe Santa needs to get it for you.  I know "Santa" has left quite a few gifts under my tree over the years...I love playing Santa, even to myself.

Here are more of the pieces available.  I'd love for them to find a good home.  Really.  It has taken me a long time to decide to start to part with them.  They need to be loved by someone else now.

There's even a tie clip that belonged to my Dad.  I bought it for him at Halle Bros. when I worked there.  He collected coins & loved wearing this tie clip.

I now return to my tree decorating...it's going slowly, but that's another story for another day.  Let's just say I'm a bit anal about the tree...and I'll be moving things around on it for quite some time. 
Seriously.  I have references.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December already???

No, our tree is not up yet...but I'm targeting next weekend to at least schlep the boxes up from the basement so the tree can be set up & I can begin the ritual of "foofing" out the branches just so...it's a skinny faux tree as I'm allergic to real evergreens.  Found that out the hard way one Christmas years ago...my nose looked like Rudolph's & not from having one too many!

I love the shot above...it's from last year's tree & shows just part of our "Santa in the Sunshine" ornament collection.  We're dreaming of a GREEN Christmas!  The only snow can be the faux garland on our tree. 

I've been busy taking pix to post some more stuff to my Etsy shop, including some vintage treasures.  I've enjoyed some nice orders recently, even a custom order which was a lot of fun to do.  I'm thinking I may offer custom order service after the first of the year.   It's good for me to stay busy creating things that others want to buy.

I hope all of you are enjoying this time between Thanksgiving & Christmas.  We'll have our Hanukkah celebration starting December 20th at sundown...so it will be a Christmakkah here.  Or is it Hannumas?  Either way, it should be fun...with good food, too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday

So did you shop this weekend?  We avoid the malls & big box stores...and only did some grocery shopping...we had to get a turkey for ourselves as the one I made earlier in the week was taken to our out-of-town celebration. We returned home Friday evening to relax for the rest of the long weekend.

I was busy packaging up my hand dyed ribbons to send to a dear friend who will offer them for sale with her handcrafted items at a Christmas Craft Sale.  I just listed some more in my Etsy shop, too...I dyed up about 200 yards of ribbon!  I just never get tired of those pretty colors.

The charms above were the ones I made for a Christmas Ornament Charm swap in the ArtCharms group.  I got THREE sets of charms returned to me on Friday & Saturday...the ornaments as well as a Christmas swap with red, green & gold charms...and an Autumn Charms swap, too.  Lots of eye candy to make me very happy.

I haven't gotten into the shopping frenzy of Cyber Monday, either...most of the gifts I give are handmade, and I'll get them finished soon.  I think the tree will go up next weekend...so I'll focus on my Etsy shop until then.  I'd love to have you visit me there if you get a chance. Thanks!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to all of you! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Santa's workshop?

I feel a bit like I've been working in Santa's workshop this weekend...and shopping for all the Thanksgiving necessities, too.  The little ornaments above are SEW cute on the tree.  They're for sale in sets of 3 in my Etsy shop.  
I've made more altered matchbox gift boxes & calico wreath ornaments, too...and since Hanukkah Harry helps Santa when he needs help, I made this pretty Star of David bracelet.  The blue beaded chain is vintage & I think it's gorgeous with a single Star of David adorning it.

I'll be doing a lot of cooking over the next few days to prepare for our Thanksgiving feast...then I can enjoy the day...and watch some football, too!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

WHOO's got owls?

Who's got owls?  My friend Kimber has owls...and you can have them, too...all you have to do is visit her Etsy shop...Kimberiginal.  I was the lucky recipient of one of these cuties one Christmas & they are so adorable.  You'll definitely want one or more on your tree.  They make great gifts & are fabulous to tie onto a gift as a special trim.
I've been busy making more ornaments & altered matchbox gift boxes to sell...of course, as I get them done, they will be listed in my Etsy shop, KittenCreates.  I found some vintage Christmas Seals from 1984...and the one sheet I have from that year actually had Hanukkah images in addition to the usual Christmas ones.  I have not seen that in any other year.  I have created a couple sets of Altered Matchboxes using reproductions of these stamps & they are also available in my shop. 

Back to the studio...to see if the paint is dry so I can make more gift boxes...I sold 5 sets yesterday alone...so y'all know what I'll be doing this weekend.  I hope you're doing something creative, too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

We return to our getting ready for Christmas programming...

Back in the 1970s-1990s, I used to sew a lot.  I've done some sewing here & there since then, and when I was looking through some of my stash, I found a basket with a bunch of little circles already cut out.  The prints are some of my favorite 1980s calicos...the colors are a bit deeper than the vibrant Christmas reds & greens...and the accents are ivory & a bit of metallic gold...even touches of blue.  They are gorgeous fabrics & I still have some yardage...I bought enough to make a Christmas quilt...but never got around to that. 
It's still on my to do list.

I decided to sew up these little wreaths from those vintage fabric circles...and they are currently for sale in my Etsy shop...Kitten Creates.  Each one is lovingly hand sewn...there is no machine stitching here...just handmade ornaments for a bit of Christmas nostalgia on your tree.

Now if I can get the tension working right on my sewing machine...I'm hoping to make some more of those kitty ornaments I donated to the Humane Society sale...so I guess y'all know what I'll be working on for awhile.  I wonder how much tension I'll have while trying to fix the machine tension??? 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Birthday Girl c.1957

This little Birthday Girl is me...back in 1957, I guess.  The folder with this pic in it doesn't have any notes on it, but I think I see 5 candles on my cake.  The party scene is in the basement of the house we live in now...and it is still unfinished to this day.  It's only used for storage these days, but back when the house was new, it was our playroom & party room.  Check out that dress I'm wearing...good grief!  My favorite part of the table is those aluminum tumblers...wish I had found those in the basement here, but they are long gone.

Then...a couple years ago, my favorite stamping/scrapbook/altered art/fun stuff store, Red Lead Paperworks, came out with this birthday girl image...see any similarities?  I hadn't even found the pic of me when I made this tag to send to them as a sample for their shop.  Interesting coincidence, no? 

I do love this image...and I've used it many times.  The text stamp is from Red Lead, too. 

So...it's my birthday...and we have wild jumbo snow crab legs & clusters waiting in the freezer...it will be a good dinner tonight!  I'd rather cook my own dinner than go to any of the restaurants around here.  We have a bottle of Prosecco chilling, too...let the celebration begin...after I get some more sleep!

BTW...Mother Nature is cooperating as much as she can in OH...she doesn't have much to work with in this pathetic state.  The snow is gone & the sun is shining...and it should get into the 50s.  Still too cold for me, but better than it could be.  Thanks, Mother Nature.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I thought 11-11-11 was supposed to be LUCKY!

Looking out the back window this morning...CRAP!!!

This certainly is NOT my idea of a lucky day...guess I'll go back to bed..."at least it's not worse" is the best thing I can think of.  I absolutely HATE HATE HATE snow...even one little flake is too much for me.  Thankfully, Phil has today off...so he didn't have to scrape off the car before leaving for work.

I hope it's warm & sunny wherever you are.  This crap had better not be here tomorrow is all I can say.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Luckily, that does NOT mean snow is falling here...but it IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my Etsy shop... Kitten Creates.  I've been busy with paper, paint, embellishments & beads...making some pretty things for the holidays ahead.  I'm still busy in my studio...and have decided to part with some vintage treasures, too...so please check back from time to time to see what's new.

I hope you'll take a look at what I've added into my shop & perhaps you'll find an interesting bauble or two for someone special...or for yourself.  And if you have a friend who is shopping for handcrafted gifts, please feel free to share the link to my shop.  Many thanks!

You'll find ornaments:

...and gift boxes...

...and jewelry...

...and pretty ribbons, of course...

...to help make your season merry & bright. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Charming Autumn

I must confess...I'm not a big fan of the colors associated with Autumn...the oranges, browns and golds.  But this year I challenged myself to work with them a bit & I'm sharing the results so far with you.  They're still not my favorite colors, but for now they're playing well with others.