Sunday, December 21, 2008

How I Spent My Sunday

I spent my Sunday decorating cookies and covering pretzels and peppermint sticks with chocolate. These are the handmade goodies I give out to my family/relatives at Christmas every year. I think the pretzels are my favorite. It's the mix of the saltiness of the pretzels with the sweetness of the chocolate that is just yummy! These have become a family favorite.

More chocolate-covered pretzels and peppermint sticks.

I finally found peppermint sticks this year right around Halloween at Cost Plus World Market. What I really like about these are that they are soft and chewy. I have been wanting to cover peppermint sticks with chocolate for a few years, but had never been able to find peppermint sticks - you see candy canes everywhere, but the peppermint sticks are not that easy to find.

I made the dough for these gingerbread cookies on Friday night and chilled it overnight. I baked them yesterday and decorated them today. I found this really cool edible glitter (gum arabic) at my local cake decorating shop and I really like the little extra "sparkle" it gives the cookies, although it's a little hard to see in this photo. I am a firm believer that you can never have too much glitter!

What kind of baking do you do each year for Christmas? Do you have a special recipe or cookie/treat that your family and friends look forward to each year? I'd love you to share some of your baking traditions. I think it would be fun next year to do a virtual "cookie swap" where we could all share what we've made with each other. And there's no calories!!! I have some cute tins to put the peppermint sticks and gingerbread cookies in that I had bought last year at JoAnns (and they were like 75% off!), and some cute cellophane bags that I bought at Michaels this year to put the pretzels in. I'll post those photos soon.

It was a very productive day, but I still have lots to do, as we are having Christmas Day at our house this year and I also still have knitting that I'm trying to finish-up. I don't know if I'll be able to finish them to give on Christmas though, as one project has to be blocked after I finish knitting it. I have a feeling these gifts are going to be a little late this year, but that's okay. I should have started sooner, but I thought I would have plenty of time. There's a saying...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

With Christmas only six days away and with all that I have left to do to get ready yet, I'm going to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy Hanukkah a little early. Here's wishing that wherever you are, you are with loved ones and that you have a wonderful holiday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Santa Came Early!

My SIL sent me this little poem that she found on the internet and I just had to share it with all of you. I bet a lot of you can relate to it ( I know I can!). It gave me a good chuckle:

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, I'm glued to the tree.
I'm wondering what Santa brought just for me.
Could it be cardstock or chipboard or lace?
"Or a Cricut," I said, with a smile on my face.
And that's when I heard him, "Hi Santa!" I said.
"You know....good little girls should be in their beds."
"I know I should Santa, and now I've got caught.
But I was just so excited to see what you brought."
"Well, let's take a look in this room where you work."
He shook his head quickly, and left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear...
"You've got enough crap, I'll see you next year!"

I finally got my TagMate System with sterling silver tags to use for my jewelry and I'm so excited. Infinity Stamps is having a Jewelry Artist Holiday Sale now through January 1st. They are a very easy company to deal with and it only took two weeks to receive my personalized stamp system from start-to-finish. I love the resulting stamp and feel like this is the "icing on the cake", as far as finishing-off my jewelry creations! What are you hoping Santa brings you this year?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One of My Treasures

This is one of my absolute treasures. This is my favorite Tasha Tudor print and the fact that she had signed it makes it even more special to me. My dear friend Karen and I both bought this print, "Laura in Snow", back in 1991 and had Ms. Tudor sign them for both of us. It was known that this was one of her favorites too. I can't believe I've had it that long and that I finally got around to matting and framing it just yesterday. I had always meant to do it sooner, but like a lot of things, I put it in a safe place and never forgot about it, but always thought I would get to it a lot sooner! I always seemed to really remember it around this time of year, but now it finally has a home hanging on my office/craft room wall. I just love being able to look at it - it just brings a smile to my face.

Tasha Tudor was not only an incredibly talented artist and author, but her life is an incredible story in itself. She really lived life on her own terms. She passed away on June 18th of this year at the age of 93! Her family has a website where her prints, books, etc. can still be purchased and her legacy lives on. Be sure to check it out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

On The Needles

This is what I have on one set of needles at the moment. It's a pattern from Susie C Shore Designs called "Butterfly Kisses". The pattern ended-up having a mistake in it, which is noted on the website now. I had emailed them saying that I thought there was something wrong with the pattern and they checked it out right away and were so gracious about it. They sent me two free patterns for emailing them and letting them know about it. I was just so glad just to get the pattern corrections that the offer of the free patterns was above and beyond nice! You can't really see the pattern too well, as it will have to be blocked. I will post pictures of the finished muffler/scarf. This is going to be a Christmas gift for my cousin "C". Hopefully she won't read this post!

I also have a fun Christmas Tree Hat on the needles for my little 3-1/2-year-old nephew. He loves to wear hats and he's still young enough to not mind wearing really silly/fun ones! I figure I can only get away with this for maybe another year or so!

What projects are you working on for Christmas?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


These are just a few of the unbelievable and heartbreaking images we in the Los Angeles area have been dealing with since late last night. There are over four major fires going on here in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties at the same time. The two bottom pictures from Yorba Linda, which is in Orange County, show a multi-million dollar estate burning to the ground with an infinity pool in the foreground; the top picture shows both the Yorba Linda fire and the one burning in the Newhall Pass, which is in the northwestern part of Los Angeles County. It seems like there is no end in sight. The fires just keep hopscotching because the embers are being carried by the wind and are starting more fires miles away from where they originally started. There was a major fire that started last night around 10:30 that ended-up totally burning over 500 homes to the ground in just one mobile home park. There were reports of the wind being 70 m.p.h. This all just makes me heartsick. It's so hard to watch, but it's like an accident - you just can't help but watch. We had a horrendous fire about five years ago in the San Bernardino area in which hundreds of homes were also lost at this same time of year and one in the San Diego area. This has always been the fear when the Santa Ana winds pick up and when it has been so hot (records were set again today) and everything is so dry. As one newscaster just said, this is a dire situation and to add insult to injury, there are reports of looting. I don't understand the mindset of some people.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beaded Hearts Charm Bracelet

These are the best photos I can get. I ended-up using my Ott light inside the house, as I couldn't seem to get a good photo outside. I have a lot to learn about taking good photographs, especially with lighting. There is a tutorial online that deals with making your own lightbox that I need to investigate. I'm hoping that will vastly improve my photos.

I wore this bracelet yesterday when I got together with two of my dear friends and got a lot of compliments on it. My friend "K" wants me to make her one! We met for lunch and some shopping. I bought some really pretty vintage German glass beads that are in the shape of acorns, some Swarovski crystal drops (I love Swarovski crystal) and some goldstone beads. I have ideas for all of them!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

Everyone, please get out there and vote today. As we have seen in the past, every vote counts and we should not take anything for granted. I feel very priviledged to live in a country where a woman can vote; it wasn't always that way. Enough said.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Finally, It Feels Like Fall!

It finally feels like Fall here in Southern California - yay!!! It rained yesterday and it was the perfect day to make some chicken stoup, which I did and it was yummy. I have enough leftover to have for lunch today. It is a very cloudy, beautiful day today with a temperature of 66 degrees. I love this kind of weather - especially since we just had the warmest October ever recorded (since the 1870s or thereabouts when they started keeping records of the temperature).

Today I'm tidying-up and organizing my office/craft room a bit so I can get busy making jewelry for my Etsy shop in time for Christmas. I've been missing my crafting mojo lately, but I think it's starting to come back. I perused some of my jewelry books last night for inspiration; I find that usually helps, and it did. I'll keep you posted (no pun intended) on my progress and share some of my creations here on my blog.

It sure is nice to have gained an extra hour - any extra time for creating is a bonus! Have a great day!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Have a safe and fun time out there!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween "Hike"

I took these photos this morning during C's and my weekly "hike" at Descanso Gardens. It is such a beautiful, clear fall day - it would be perfect if it wasn't so dang hot. It's been in the 90s for the last week and it was getting rather toasty by the time my cousin "C" and I had finished our hike/walk at 11:30. They were filming something there today and using a smoke machine which was nasty-smelling, but the effect it had on the rays of sunlight coming through the trees was spectacular! Lyrics from "Stairway to Heaven" came to mind ("..Rings of smoke through the trees..."). The trees look so pretty as their leaves are changing to their fall colors. I love this time of year.

They had decorated one of the trails with homemade Halloween decorations that were really clever using rakes, brooms and pumpkins. Toward the end of our hike we came upon the set that they were filming with the smoke machine - it was marked "Hunting". We could see some of the actors taking a break - they were dressed as cavemen! It reminded us of those silly Geico commercials. We came upon the other set marked "Garden of Eden" but couldn't get close enough to see what they were doing. Living so close to "Hollyweird" (as we call it), we see film sets quite often.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday

I'm taking a cue from various bloggers and posting a Flashback Friday photo since I don't have anything on the crafting front to share with you right now. I'm still trying to get a good picture of my beaded heart charm bracelet, but I haven't had any luck with the lighting. It's so frustrating. So, today I'm posting a picture from long, long ago! This is me and my cousin at her house. My uncle made the swing - I love the bright yellow color he painted it. I'm the rather unhappy-looking kidlet on the left. I never liked having my picture taken and still don't - that's probably why I'm not smiling.

I hope everyone has a pleasant weekend. I sure hope the temperature will go down a bit for Halloween next Friday. I mean, it's going to be 90 degrees today. Enough with the heat already! Sheesh.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Halloween Decorations

Here are a few of the Halloween decorations that I have put out this year. The little "ghost" candy container (that's what I call it - I'm not really sure what it is!) was one I got at Michaels last year that was on clearance right before Halloween. I thought it could use a little sprucing up, so I covered it with glow-in-the-dark glitter. You can't really see it in the photo, but the glitter makes such a difference!

I found the spider with the party hat and treat bag at my local Hallmark Store. I just cracks me up, even though I hate spiders. I have lots more decorations, but these are just a few of my favorites.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bats, Ghosts and Glitter, Oh My!

I love glitter. I love glitter despite the fact that I find it on myself and on the table days later, no matter how careful I am.

I bought this Debbie Mumm "BOO" sign at JoAnns on Friday. I thought it was really cute and it was even 40% off! I thought that it could use a little sprucing up though, so I got out my glitter, glue, and paint brush, and went to work. I absolutely love Barbara Trombley's Art Glitter - it is the most beautiful glitter, the colors are just gorgeous, and there are a lot to choose from. (Martha Stewart's Glitter is a pretty close second though and you can find it at Michaels.) For the letters in BOO I used Art Glitter #156 Chartreuse Ultrafine Opaque. For the purple background I used #203 Eggplant Ultrafine Transparent, which has little flecks of green in it. For the ghost I used Martha Stewart Crafts Crystal Fine Glitter. It's hard to get the full effect of the glitter due to the fact that the lighting isn't the best and I had to use the flash on my camera, but I think you get the idea. Just know that it is much "prettier" in person, which I think is usually the case (at least with my photos!).

I love the added sparkle. I had glittered a plain wood BOO sign last year that I bought at Michaels and really liked how it turned out, so I wanted to do some more this year. I will be getting my Halloween decorations out and putting them up this week and I will share some of my favorites with you later this week.

What fun Halloween crafting projects have you done or have planned?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Descanso Gardens

My cousin "C" and I went to Descanso Gardens this morning, one of our favorite places to walk. We got there a little after 9:00 and it was blazing hot already. I thought it was Fall! Ugh, I am so over this HOT weather. Tomorrow is the first of October and it's 100 degrees outside. I guess the weather is making up for the relatively mild summer we had.

Anyway, we started out and came upon the sustainable garden they have and saw the biggest squash we had ever seen. Some of them were taller than we are! They are "Italian Trombone Squash".

As we walked along, we noticed there were an awful lot of spiders - they were everywhere we looked it seemed, even way up between the trees. And they were rather big. I have arachnophobia, but I just had to get some pictures of these guys. My cousin said they are always around this time of year. I've never seen so many before. Boy, I'd hate to walk into one their webs, which are a little hard to see sometimes depending on the lighting. We made sure we were careful where we walked! One looked like it was getting ready to eat its "lunch"!

I was finally able to get pictures of a gorgeous Monarch Butterfly that landed on a butterfly bush - how fitting! I've always seen them fluttering around, but I've never been able to get pictures of one, until today! "C" calls them "little flying pieces of art" which I think is very poetic and a perfect description.

The rest of the pictures are of some of my favorite sights of the morning. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Halloween Jewelry

I finally added two items to my Etsy shop this afternoon - a charm necklace and a pin. I have more jewelry to take photos of and list in the next day or so. I love making jewelry, but I think if I had to pick a favorite kind, it would be my charm bracelets. They are a lot of work and take the most time, but I think the results are really worth it. They are so much prettier in person (my photography skills, or lack thereof, just don't do them justice).

Fall has officially arrived today - yay!!! This is definitely my favorite time of year. It was such a nice, mild day today but I hear that the Santa Ana Winds are going to pick up at the end of the week and it is supposed to be around 90 degrees. Ugh - I am so over summer weather. I don't mind the wind, in fact, I actually like it, but the threat of fires here in So. Cal. has everyone on edge this time of year. We've had some really horrific fires in the past this time of year. I pray that this year we will get through it without one.

Have a wonderful week and please check out my Etsy store for more additions. I will be blogging about them here also.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Answers in Pictures

I haven't done much crafting or really felt like it the last week-and-a-half. I have been, however, reading my favorite blogs and searching various crafting sites for inspiration. One of the blogs I read is by Mary-Heather whose blog is She did a post back in June where she answered questions with pictures. I thought I would give it a try since I don't really have anything to show you right now. This is how it works: (1) Type your answer to each question below into Flicker Search, (2) Using only the first page of results, pick an image, (3) Copy and paste each URL into fd's mosaic maker, and (4) Blog it!

The Questions:

1. What is your first name? Susan

2. What is your favorite food? blackberries

3. What high school did you go to? Crescenta Valley

4. What is your favorite color? turquoise

5. Who is your celebrity crush? Lee Pace

6. What is your favorite drink? coffee

7. Dream vacation? Tuscany

8. Favorite dessert? My mom's apple pie

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? wise

10. What do you love most in life? My Family

11. One word to describe you? dependable

12. Your Flickr name? susanc - this was the closest I could find!

I plan on taking some presentable pictures of my beaded heart charm bracelet this weekend and will post them when I do. Until then, enjoy my answers in pictures!
P.S. I'm not exactly sure how to link each photo to the original so that I can give credit to the photographer who posted the pictures. I will try to get that figured-out soon. This blogging stuff is all rather new to me and I still have loads to learn.