Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Great Pumpkin: Thanksgiving Tablescape

Submitted by Linda
Well, I supposed that since November is waning away, I should probably share these photos of our Thanksgiving tablescape. I did cook a few dishes, but because I wasn't hosting at my home, I offered to bring centerpieces and help set up the tables. This past weekend, I was enjoying Susan Branch's cozy discussion of her tablescape, and I noticed that Eddie Ross had an amazing one too. Mine may never end up in a magazine, but I sure had a fun time doing it, and I believe it added a 'warm and welcome' vibe to our family gathering.

My friend Diane had mentioned several years ago that she always spray paints her leftover pumpkins to incorporate into her Christmas decorating. I knew that this was something I was definitely going to try. Armed with my 40% off coupon for Michael's, I bought my paint and started spraying.
These bigger pumpkins are already sprayed and in their box, ready to transport to my sister-in-law Renee's house.
I also knew I was going to bring these blingy pumpkins that I glittered up a few years back.
And these fake acorns! They look so legit to me, I bought several packages last year.
In early October you may remember me sharing this photo of the 'Great Pumpkin' that was given to me by one of Craig's co-workers. (Remember, it was a happy miracle that grew out of a compost pile.) I loved, loved, loved the green color....
...then it turned orange.......and then I sprayed it gold! So gorgeous! I found the subtly sparkly netting stuff at the new Hobby Lobby, and I think you all should run out and get some. It comes in all kinds of colors, and makes the perfect base for any table setting. I sprinkled my acorns and pumpkins around, and voila!
Tea lights, or some type of candlelight, are always a requirement to add a soft glow.
Now the glittered pumpkins are all put away, with the acorns. The real pumpkins are sadly destined for the shooting range, except the Great Pumpkin, which I'm saving for the seeds. Because next year, I'm going to want another one. But for now, I'm dreaming of 'hauling out the holly!"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Treats

Submitted by Michelle
Each month during the fall Linda and I make treats for our co-workers and friends. In September it was sugar cookies in cutely decorated boxes. October was See's candy bars decorated with Scary Skelly, our favorite Halloween stamp. And this month it is cello bags filled with Ginger Molasses cookies tied shut with a fall inspired tag.
Here are my bags all ready to go to school and be given away.
In the spirit of planning our work and working our plan, Linda and I made the tags in early October so that we would be ready to go once November came. Carla, one of my colleagues, often marvels at my monthly treats saying, "I don't know how you have time to do it all." The truth of the matter is, I am busier than ever this school year but planning ahead and working on things well in advance of a holiday really makes gift giving much easier.

In early November I made a Fall Banner to send to my Aunt Rosemarie in New York. I easily wrapped it up in a cello bag, tied some beautiful ribbon on it, and attached one of my tags. Boy, was I glad I had something so perfect, ready to go.
I hope all of you out there in blog-land are enjoying this Thanksgiving Day, and are surrounded by the ones you love.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fall Foliage

Submitted by Michelle
In the past I've written about Linda's amazing ability to create something out of nothing. She often gets embarrassed when I write about it on the blog, but I do believe it is a gift to be able to come up with an idea for a card out of one's own head. However, there are times when copying is a must. Linda and I ADORE Heather Klump and her blog, Downstairs Designs. (If you have never gone to her site, do it now!) Heather is a Stampin' Up Demonstrator and though we have never met, I am sure we would be fast friends. This past July, Heather received an Artisan Award from Stampin' Up and the card below shows why.
Totes gorg, right???

When Linda saw it, she knew she had to CASE it. (CASE is crafter speak for Copy And Share Everything.) Over the weekend Linda and I had an impromptu get together in Claremont and we were able to squeeze in a few hours of stamping. Linda made her version of Heather's awesome card.
The thing that makes this card so spectacular are the realistic looking leaves. They are actually images from the Fall Foliage stamp set, that have been sponged on the edges and then cut out and crumpled up. I also love the lace detail that adds a vintage vibe.

This card took some work, but it was well worth it. And lucky for me, I have a friend who always makes two of everything so she has one to share with me!

"Barn-ish and Rustic" Wedding

Submitted by Linda
You may remember this post about a wedding shower for my nephew Matt's fiance, Kyan, where I shared this beautiful engagement photo. Well, the wedding came, and I just have to share all the clever details with you.

The couple dreamed of a barn for their venue, but found a grassy field on the campus of Western Christian School in Claremont, that would be perfect instead.

Matt, who is a gifted craftsman, among other things, built a 'chapel without walls' for the wedding. The carpet of grass, sprinkled with fall leaves, created the perfect ambiance. Kyan loves old mason jars, so they were a prominent part of the wedding and reception decor.
These doors, from the home Matt is restoring for his bride, is for the wedding party and the bride to walk through. Notice Matt's red truck in the background. The plan was to load the bed with ice and old-school bottled sodas, but the weather didn't cooperate. No worries- you will see that truck again!
Here comes the bride!
One sweet home-spun touch is the 2nd cousins entering in a rustic wagon, just ahead of the bride.Matt also built this heavy-duty arbor/backdrop, which framed the wedding party beautifully. Notice the jeans and cowboy boots! Even Kyan is wearing boots under that gorgeous gown!
Here are 2 of my wonderful nieces, Matt's sister Kate, and sister-in-law Andrea.After the wedding, I tried to stay out of the photographer's way, but I did manage to snap a few sweet pics.
Kyan is seriously the only bride I know who could fit into that wagon!Now, about the reception. Kyan's dream was an outdoor wedding and reception, but with rain looming, they wisely ordered a tent for the reception. With the strings of lights and heaters, it was cozy as the drops gently rained on our happy celebration.

As guests entered the tent, they saw the gift table, complete with antique luggage filled with picture clotheslines....
...and another suitcase for cards. My job was to make the 'cards' banner.I distressed the twill tape, newsprint designer paper, and all the kraft card stock with brown ink. The tables were decorated with white tablecloths, burlap runners, unhemmed fabric napkins, and a giant chocolate chip cookie in a brown bag.I love the custom stamp that they put on the cookie bags!
Everyone enjoyed their sodas, including the bride and groom.
Now for the guestbook. Guests were asked to take a card out of this old coke crate and write a message........then the pop it into the old mailbox! Cute, right?
The dessert bar was framed with a "How Sweet It Is" banner that the bride made out of burlap and hardware store stencils. Homemade cupcakes - YUM!
My other job was to create the 'cake topper' for the bride and groom's cupcakes. Before I had captured the full vision for the wedding, I confused 'rustic and barn-ish' with 'antique and vintage'. I created this version with glitter paper and lots of silky kraft colored seam binding, among other things. I was graciously asked to simplify, so I swapped out the seam binding for plaid ribbon, traded the glimmery heart for a black scallop. I left in my grandma's lace snippet, and one tiny blingy heart! Here's the simpler version......and here it is on the cupcakes!
Now for one final treat! I promised you a glimpse of the red truck again, and here it is! A beautiful picture that totally captures this couple! Congrats Matt and Kyan!
Photo by Bethany Cissel

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Sunbeam Mixer

Submitted by Linda
You may remember this post (here) when I was making cinnamon-pecan rolls with my mom, using my grandma's recipe, which she received with her Sunbeam mixer years ago. Thus, my mom has always had a Sunbeam, and after many years of muddling through with a hand held mixer, I received my very own Sunbeam for Christmas last year. Isn't it so cute and retro?
It has really rocked my baking world! Making cookies or frosting with it is so magically easy, compared to my old mixer. My only problem was that it was getting dusty between uses, sitting on the counter. I asked my mom about making a cover, so she designed a pattern (by taking apart an old terry-cloth cover that she now uses for a rag). I pulled out some cloth napkins (which I never use) that match a retro tablecloth I own, and we started cutting. (When I was a kid, we would have called this recycling, but now the word is repurposing!)

We added some pre-made piping (who knew that they now have piping in the bias tape/rick rack section of the fabric store?) and voila!
Here it is, in it's happy corner, all covered and ready for it's next use!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crafting Road Trip

Submitted by Michelle
Yesterday me, Carrie and Teri hit the road and headed out of the desert for the day. We were on a mission to visit the newly opened Hobby Lobby, the mother of all crafting stores. It is a paper crafter's mecca. The holy grail, so to speak. And up until October 28, the residents of Southern California had wrongfully been deprived of The Hob Lob, as I like to call it. Carrie, who hails from Michigan, and Teri, who is a new desert transplant from Seattle, have a long history with The Hob Lob, but I had only seen one in my lifetime when I visited the Utica, New York store last fall. We were giddy as we set out on our trip and we planned to make a day of it, hitting other crafting stores along the way.

Our first stop was Collective Journey in Redlands. They were having their Holiday Open House and this is what greeted us as we walked in the door!
Ah-maz-ing! It literally took our breath away.
At closer inspection I found some fantastic vintage style ornaments.
Collective Journey always has fantastic displays and seasonal decor that is truly inspired. The store is huge but the employees make it feel homey by creating decorations that hang from the ceiling.
I don't know how they come up with this stuff!
Along with a zillion things to purchase, there were also make and takes. We managed to sit down for one.
Teri, me and Carrie

From Collective Journey we set out to find Tai Pan Trading, a wholesale home decor store in Rancho Cucamonga.
I'd been hearing about this place from Linda and other Claremont friends from months and knew I had to see it for myself. Think of Tai Pan as Kirkland's or Home Goods on steroids. The prices on most things are more than reasonable and if you can't find what you are looking for at Tai Pan, then you probably never will because they have everything from candles to dishes to holiday decorations to patio and garden decor. I had to restrain myself more than once but I did find this gem:
A giant square bulletin board that will go perfectly in my craft room! I have big plans for the white frame and currently am in the process of deciding if I'm going to stamp, stencil or use Decor Elements on it.

Saving the best for last, our final stop was Hobby Lobby. It was everything we hoped for and more.
We probably spent close to 2 hours wandering up and down every single aisle. I went nuts over the endless selections of ribbons and trims, and bought more than my fair share of gingham ribbon in every color possible. I was in such a state of bliss that I didn't even take any photos!

The weather was gloomy and cold the entire day, but you never would have known it from our faces. I don't think any of us ever stopped smiling. It was a great day out with friends and an inspiring trip that has me chomping at the bit to get crafting. If you live anywhere near Rancho Cucamonga, get in your car right now and head to Hobby Lobby. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Budapest Tablecloth.....15 months later!

Submitted by Linda
So I think I've already blog-confessed about my deep appreciation (we won't say addiction) to dishes and linens. And you know that lately I've added embroidery to my favorite pastimes. If you've been a blog-follower since Summer 2010, you may remember that I was fortunate to take a wonderful trip to Europe with a stop in Budapest, Hungary, where I spent more than my allotted budget for a gorgeous embroidered tablecloth. (For more details about my time there, click on Budapest, Hungary).

You may remember this photo of sweaty me (in a record breaking heatwave), with all the beautiful textiles.When I got home, I promised to post pictures of the tablecloth, after the boys were gone to college (so that no one would spill BBQ sauce or ketchup on it). Well, they were gone, and back for a summer, and gone again before I realized I had never once even put it on the table!!!!
It's even prettier than I remembered.....I love the scallop/eyelet feel.....
...all of that delicious embroidery....
...and the cutwork on the top!I plopped a favorite red Hall pitcher in the middle, just to get a taste of what it would look like with a cute centerpiece!
Every time I walk past it, I'm so glad I bought it! ( But you can be sure it will be put away before the boys are back for the holidays.)