Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simple Pleasures: Part 2

Submitted by Linda
Who can resist a baby wearing these faux mary janes? These are my friend Ellie's feet in the sweet mary jane socks. Delicious!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simple Pleasure: Part 1

Submitted by Linda

This wonderful quote (and sweet handwriting) was borrowed from Susan Branch. Her website is full of her darling art, great quotes, and fun shopping.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the theme of 'simple pleasures'. I even had a nice conversation with my 17 year old son about the little things that make life good. We talked about flannel sheets, good iced tea, and other creature comforts (including his favorite Eddie Bauer flannel shirt).

This week, every time I walk out of my back kitchen door to the driveway, I am greeted by the most amazing smell-my neighbor's jasmine, which, as you can see, has crept over our fence most generously. I genuinely wish I could package that smell for you all to enjoy- the fragrance is not overpowering, but is very present, even standing yards away.
This has been my 'continuous' small treat, every day this past week. I didn't plant them, or water them, or prune them, but I still get to be the beneficiary of their beauty and scent. I can't help but think there is some deeper spiritual meaning there; probably another lesson in grace.

So, in the spirit of a happy life, keep your eyes open for the continuous small treats!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Latest Cards

submitted by Michelle

This month I did the same projects for both of my card making clubs. Linda was here in early March to celebrate her birthday and while we crafted like maniacs I also got these cards created and prepped. It was fun having my FRF to keep me company in my craft room. Here is what we made:

A simple Easter card using the Top Note die for the Big Shot and the Eggcoutrements stamp set.

A monochromatic friendship card using the Vintage Vogue stamp set. (Click here to see where I found the idea for this card.)

A Thank Your card utilizing the Sweet Pea felt flowers. This card was so easy to put together. There isn't much stamping, but the satin ribbon, designer paper and flowers give it a polished look.

A birdhouse. Linda created this using the milk carton die for the Big Shot. We got the idea online but made it our own with the Easter grass and jelly beans inside.

I'm not sure what we'll be making in April, but it is going to be hard to top these cute cards. However, I'm sure I'll find inspiration somewhere. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ultimate Tea Party

Submitted by Linda
Last Sunday I attended the Claremont High School Class of 2010 Tea Party Fundraiser. It was a great event, and the funds go to our kids' big grad-night celebration. When my friend Bonnie decided to host a table, I offered to make favors to fit her "Picnic Party" theme. I could not find the perfect ant stamp, so I ended up using this cute little bee. Inside is a Ghiradelli square. (The die cut/embossed flowers were made with Stampin' UP's Sizzix dies).
You may say this favor is cute.....but look how perfect it looks with one of Bonnie's ceramic sunflowers!!!! Each person received one at her place setting.
If you think that's sweet, wait until you see the ceramic ants that she made, and carefully placed, "marching" around the table.....
She even created two teapots to coordinate with the favors and theme!
Now....are you ready for the full effect?!!!There were even ants and sunflowers tucked into the real flower arrangement!
Bonnie's table wowed everyone, but many of the tables were decorated in fresh, creative ways. This table was "Alice in Wonderland".
...Mardi Gras.....
....black and white...
...and Spring into Easter!
I so appreciate going to events where people put in so much effort to think of every detail! It ended up being a fun tea party, and a great fundraiser. I really makes me want to pull out my china and have my own little teatime!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

There's a New COLOR in Town!

Submitted by Linda
So, Michelle and I had a perfectly fun day today! It began with a trip to Starbuck's, followed with a viewing of Pride and Prejudice on Craig's big screen T.V., and then an outing to downtown Claremont. We started with lunch at one of our faves, Le Pain Quotidien, then moved on to cruise through our 'must-see' shops. Those include a trip to Barbara Cheatley's and Stamp Your Heart Out. We both ended up finding some gifts for upcoming holidays, but our best stop of the day was at the new yarn store, COLORS 91711.
Now as a child, I learned how to knit and purl, but was limited to making discloths, which my mom, or Aunt Sara, or Grandma Klip always had to help me cast on and bind off. In recent years, when handmade scarves were popular again, I resisted the urge to add knitting to my list of hobbies, because I feared I would need another craft room to house the yarn I would be inspired to buy. So my strategy is to occasionally buy yarn, and commission my wonderful mom to whip me up a scarf! Michelle has never been a knitter, but also is blessed to have a mom who is a skilled knitter and felter.

We had been referred to the Colors store by Diane, one of our stamp club friends who is an accomplished knitter as well. I had been asking about a scarf she had made, and she suggested we go to Colors. When we got there it was the happiest surprise! Look at just one section of their beautiful yarn choices!
The middle of the store boasts a beautiful work table, where someone was knitting away on a project. This is where people can come for classes, or just to knit. It turns out, they've only been open a week, and their Grand Opening is coming in April!Here are Pat and Teresa, who helped us with our purchases, and were happy to even help us figure out needle sizes and how much to buy (not for us to knit, of course- Mom, if you're reading this I have another big favor to ask you!)
We had so much fun in there, we may just end up taking up knitting as our own hobby after all!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Craft Fairs: Passe or Posh?

Submitted by Linda
I'll admit it.....I am a loyal craft fair shopper. Though nowadays (as opposed to the 80s and 90s when craft shows were in the height of their glory), many of the items aren't handcrafted, I still enjoy shopping there for a variety of reasons.

1. I like to see what's new in the crafting world. Is there anything novel that I want to buy and/or copy? This reindeer candy bar was something I found several years ago.

2. I love to find interesting home dec items, purses and jewelry (the sparklier, the better!)

3. I love to have a laugh at all the "old-school" crafts (remember the crocheted dolls that covered a roll of toilet paper? Thankfully, I don't see those too often).

4. I like to support crafters who are working hard to sell their handcrafted wares.

Lately, I'm finding neato spring decor items. Check out this great flower arrangement I got last week for my "pretty" bathroom (the boys in my house call it that, and know that they aren't allowed to use it).

I really like it, and think it looks so nice against the butter yellow walls and black granite.

For anyone interested in craft fair shopping, here are my faves:
Sugar Plum - This one is great: big, lots of vendors, fresh ideas, usually in Orange County.
Crafts Unlimited - Not as big, but I usually find something there. Recently this one was in Rancho Cucamonga.
Seasons and Holidays (was not able to find a link) - Always at Pacific Christian School in Upland, smallest of the three. I found a favorite embellished purse here once.
Harvest Festival - great, true crafters and artisans. The only downside is that you usually pay for parking and a hefty admission price.

Did I miss any? Let me know if I've missed any that you like!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ain't No Flies on Us!

Submitted by Linda (aka Mrs. Wallace)
This past week we enjoyed our annual kindergarten trip to Amy's Farm in Chino. Though the state budget issues have affected us greatly, I am blessed at my school to have generous parents who donated cash to cover the cost of our bus ride. After all, can you put a price on a kindergartner's first ride on a school bus? (Those bus rides aren't quite so fun as an adult, except to enjoy watching the students enthralled with the bumpy-smelly-singing bus ride!) In the picture above, my class is waiting for Teena the Cow to walk by. And here she comes......Teena is 14 (70 in people years), and is a Brown Swiss. She is also a great-grandma!
My friend Alek is petting a turkey in the petting zoo. She was very pretty, and allowed all the kids to touch her beautiful feathers. I heard some interesting comments about Thanksgiving dinners after they spent time with her.
Noah is petting a baby goat, who is probably nibbling at his shoelaces.This year, we had the privilege of of milking Guinevere. She was very cooperative and had to stand there while all the students gave it a shot.
And here is our infamous group shot. This year every student made it on the trip, which makes this photo super special!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tom's Kale Soup

Submitted by Linda
Many of you who know me know that my father in law, Tom, was well loved and admired by many. He passed away several years ago, and we still remember him and his legacy often. My Tommy was Grandpa Tom's 11th grandchild, and we were so blessed to be able to name him after his grandpa. Tom was good at fixing anything, but he was also a great cook.

This past weekend, when it was raining, I decided to make his Kale Soup. When I pulled out my recipe card, I remembered that the last time I made it, he was in my kitchen helping me do it.

This soup is a favorite family recipe, most of the Wallace grandchildren would say it is one of their favorite Christmas foods, expected at our Christmas family gathering. (Even the small kids love it, and don't realize they're eating one of the most healthy greens!) The original recipe comes from A Well Seasoned Appetite by Molly O'Neill.
Just for the record, under normal circumstances, I would have never tried a recipe with kale, and this recipe would have not been something that would seem appealing to me. However, I'm asking you to trust me on this- it's amazing! Even Michelle, the foodie, gave it two thumbs up when she tasted it last weekend. I doubled the recipe, and it was gone before the weekend was over!

Here's the recipe:

(Tom's) Kale Soup with Potatoes and Sausage
Serves 4/main course

1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casings (I used "hot")
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
6 0r 7 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (or more, if you like)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes
1 1/2 heads kale, stemmed and chopped, about 6 cups
4 C. chicken broth
2 C. water (if it seems like more liquid is needed)
1 T. basalmic vinegar
2 t. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
White rice, cooked (I use a rice pot- but it can easily be made stovetop)

Pour a bit of olive oil into a large pot, then put the sausage in the pot over medium-low heat and brown it, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the broth, water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour. Season with pepper.

Serve with the white rice, so folks can add as much or as little as they like.