Sunday, June 26, 2011

Introducing our newest addition...

My husband just can't bear to leave a vintage scooter homeless.

hubby's new scooter


At least it's cute!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A taste of Vienna

Isn't it fun when a simple taste brings back wonderful memories?

This happened to me this week. My hubby and I were shopping at World Market and found several varieties of Manner wafer cookies that we just had to bring home with us. Why? Well, we were fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to Austria for our honeymoon several years ago... and part of that trip included four days in Vienna... swoon. I knew these cookies would bring us right back.

Manner wafer cookies

You see, Manner cookies are made in Vienna. In fact, there is a fun little shop in the historic section of Vienna, just down the street from the hotel we stayed in. The shop had many different varieties of Manner, as well as Manner trinkets and goodies of the non-edible variety. It's safe to say that we tried a lot of different Manner as we explored the city of Vienna. (Along with other wonderful foods... Sachertorte, Wienerschnitzel, and more!)

Just the thought of savoring these sweet little wafers brought back memories of walking to the Stephensdom, visiting the Vienna Zoo, riding the Reisenrad at the Prater and touring Schloss Schönnbrunn. A wonderful trip that will never be forgotten.

Manner shop, Vienna

We even saw a Manner truck...

Manner truck, Vienna

... and a Manner horse and buggy!

Manner buggy, Vienna

What foods bring back special memories for you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My first granny square!

Since my 30 before 30 list has been rather slow going lately, I decided to kickstart it and begin work on my granny square afghan! I thought it would be great to take on vacation next month [what? I haven't told you about our vacation yet?? clue: it involves mountains, and it does not involve 104 degree heat... yay!] to work on in the car. Only problem was that I've never made a granny square in my life... and I've only crocheted once - I made a scarf in college, but that already seems like a long time ago and I've mostly forgotten.

But that didn't stop me... I decided to just jump in with both feet! I ran out to Joann's fabric last night and chose a nice assortment of pretty yarn and came home to try and figure out the granny square!

I went through a bunch of online tutorials that were all too hard. Even videos - they seemed great at first, and then they would start moving so fast that I couldn't keep up. [this may or may not have been due to the fact that I really didn't want to go back and learn the basics first... I just wanted to make a granny square. maybe that's lazy (actually I know it is), but I was convinced it was possible!] I was starting to get very frustrated, but FINALLY I found a tutorial that worked for me! Attic24's "Summer Garden Granny Square" was so well-written and clearly explained that I had *almost* no trouble making it on the first try. Plus, it's even cuter than a traditional granny square, so it's a win-win! Yay!

Here's my square. It's not perfect, but it is my first one. I'll be sure to keep you updated with my progress as I get some more squares finished! This is so exciting! :)

my first granny square!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

What is it? Revealed!

Well, I guess it wasn't such a challenge after all, as Karin knew exactly what it before hardly anyone had a chance to guess! (If you don't know what I'm talking about, quickly scroll down or click this post and guess what this vintage utensil is!)

vintage jar opener

Great job, Karin! It is a jar opener! The question I have for you (or anyone else with knowledge of these things), is how does it really work? When I tried it, it wouldn't stay tight enough around the lid to actually unscrew it. And it doesn't have any way to grip the lid, it just spins around. Would you put a towel or one of those rubber grippy things between the utensil and the jar? It doesn't seem like they would have been very popular if they didn't work. What am I missing here?

On an unrelated note... is anyone else having trouble leaving comments in Blogger? When I try to leave a comment on someone's blog and choose "Google Account", it makes me re-login, and then it still lists me as anonymous, and then when I click "send comment" it keeps making me re-login over and over. Just an endless circle and I can never actually get anywhere. SO ANNOYING! Anyway, this was happening to me a month or so ago, then it got fixed and now it's happening again. So that's why I haven't been able to comment on anyone's blogs. Sorry! And if you have any tips to make this stop, please do share!

Have a lovely evening, everyone! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

I love my dad. He's the best. I couldn't have asked for a better one. :)

He's the one who has always told me that I can do anything I put my mind to... and he's always stood behind me 100%.

He always has a project up his sleeve... probably the reason I always seem to have a million things going at once!

Growing up, I believed my dad could solve anything... he was Mr. Fix-it and always had the answer to any of life's problems... whether it was a problem with a class project, or a conflict with my friends. Can I tell you a secret? I still believe this.

And he always manages to keep life interesting!

Dad being bitten by a fish

Thanks, Dad, for always being there for me. I wish I could spend this special day with you, but you are always in my heart.

I also want to send some happy anniversary wishes to my beautiful parents... 29 years!! Love you!

And 61 years ago today, my grandparents were married!

What a special day! Sending my love to all of you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What is it?

Last weekend, I picked up a vintage kitchen utensil at a thrift store. (Yes, I collect red-handled vintage utensils... I'm going to use them to decorate my kitchen!) I didn't even know what it was, but it sparked my curiosity so I had to have it.

When I got home, I twisted and turned it, examined it closely... and finally came up with my best guess of what it could be. I checked online and it turns out I was right! But I'm not going to tell you until you've all had a chance to make a guess!

Here are a couple pictures of it.

It's not too big, about the size of a cookie cutter, with a wooden handle that can be twisted back and forth.

what is it?

When the handle is turned, this causes the semi circle-shaped metal pieces that stick out of the bottom to come closer together or farther apart. However, you can only twist the handle about a half rotation, before it is stopped by the C-shaped grooves and you have to crank it back the other way.

what is it?

Any ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Then check back here in a day or two and I'll reveal the function of this funny little utensil!

Good luck! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Button, Button

I shared my love of buttons awhile ago, and I promised that I would share some of my button collection here on my blog. Most of my collection is currently categorized as "organized chaos," but I finally got around to framing a set that I completed this summer. Couldn't wait to share it!

complete set of glass vegetable buttons

This is my set of glass vegetable buttons. Though the set is complete with eight buttons, it was also sometimes sold as a set of six, so the tomato and green pepper are harder to find. I think my set came from a total of 4 different sources, and took me about a year to collect. There are so many different types of buttons out there that it can be hard to decide which type to collect. I love glass buttons, so I try to focus most of my collecting around this type. I especially like the realistics (shaped like objects or animals... also known as goofies!) Glass buttons aren't as old as many other types (most are from 1930s - 1950s) but I just love the look. They're colorful and fun... and if you don't collect what you love, then why collect?

I mounted these buttons on matboard covered with linen. I'm yet not sure where I'm going to hang them, but I have several other similar frames, so after I fill those, I'll be able to display them as a grouping.

Hope you enjoy! I'll share more soon!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Design Opinions Needed

Hi! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

I have a favor to ask of you guys... because I can't make up my mind! So... I mentioned a bit ago that my hubby and I are painting the kitchen. Well, we're finished with one area of the kitchen and ready to put window treatments back up. I have decided to make roman shades, like those in the picture below. Super easy directions from 365 Days to Simplicity... found here.

My problem is that I can't decide which fabric to use! I ordered samples of a bunch of different fabric from Etsy, and narrowed it down to my three favorite. I apologize for the bad quality of the photos, but the paint color is a gold-ish tan.

My original favorite is the apples. I have this idea that kitchens should be fun and cheerful and this fabric fits both those qualitites. I want an old-fashioned kitchen feel and I think this fabric has that, even though it is a modern print. Plus, the dining room (right next to the kitchen) is painted with red, so I think the colors would go well. Also, this fabric line (Farmdale by Alexander Henry) has lots of different coordinating prints, so I could make placemats and towels and all sorts of fun accessories to go with the shades.

However, I'm a little worried that the apples would be too busy. Would they? (I would be making roman shades for these two medium-sized windows pictured, plus for one small window over the sink.)

My next favorite is probably the birds. A very sweet fabric and the colors go well. A bit more subdued than the apples, perhaps.

The brown and blue damask looks really nice, but I worry that it is too modern for our house. Hmmmm....

What do you guys think? I know I have to make the final decision myself, but it would be great to get some opinions from all my crafty blogger friends!!

Thanks! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Life is just a bowl of cherries

life is just a bowl of cherries

Life is just a bowl of cherries... Ever wonder where that saying means? Where it came from?

I pondered it as I munched on cherries tonight until finally I dragged my butt to the computer to look it up. Turns out the saying comes from the lyrics of a Depression-era song. Basically, it means "Relax, don't take life so seriously!"

Works for me!

Just for fun, here's the music... and the lyrics too! Be careful though, it's kind of catchy. You might be humming it all day tomorrow. I know I probably will! :)

Enjoy! And take it easy!

"Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries," lyrics by Lew Brown, music by Ray Henderson (1931)

People are queer, they're always crowing, scrambling and rushing about;
Why don't they stop someday, address themselves this way?
Why are we here? Where are we going? It's time that we found out.
We're not here to stay; we're on a short holiday.

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Don't take it serious; it's too mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can't take your dough when you go, go, go.

So keep repeating it's the berries,
The strongest oak must fall,
The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you've never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Don't take it serious; it's too mysterious.
At eight each morning I have got a date,
To take my plunge 'round the Empire State.
You'll admit it's not the berries,
In a building that's so tall;
     There's a guy in the show, the girls love to kiss;
     Get thousands a week just for crooning like this:
Life is just a bowl of . . . aw, nuts!
So live and laugh at it all!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Adventures in Houston

Hi all! Lately I've been busy... at work we are deep in the mires of a big [and getting stressful] project; at home hubby and I have started painting our kitchen... Something has to give, so I unfortunately haven't had much time to devote to the blog lately. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently visited Houston, so I want to share some thoughts about my trip before moving on to bigger and better things.

Houston Discovery Green and convention center

Last week, I visited Houston, Texas for the American Association of Museums' Annual Meeting. Conferences can sometimes be dull, but not when there are over 5,000 museum professionals gathered in one place! However, I don't want to bore you with every last detail, so I thought I'd share some of the [probably quite random] highlights of my trip, as well as some of the photos that I took.

* First things first... Houston is really hot, and super humid. Eww.

Downtown Houston

* However, right next to the convention center (which was designed to look like a huge cruise ship... at least that's my interpretation!), there was a beautiful park/greenspace called Discovery Green. It had a little lake, concerts, fountains, gardens, restaurants, public art... everything! It was lovely and I spent much of my time between sessions sitting in the park, people watching. That's where I took most most of my pictures, too.

Magnolia at Houston's Discovery Green

* I got to visit a ranch (George Ranch Historical Park), where we met cowboys and longhorns. I was most impressed to learn about the role of the cook during a cattle drive. They were basically the boss of the entire drive and could be paid up to four times the wage of a typical cowboy. We also saw several alligators in the creek. Gosh, I never knew that cowboys had to watch out for alligators! Also, we saw a pink ibis. It was beautiful. [If you can't find a pink ibis in your bird book, it's because pink ibises are actually the offspring of white and red ibises!]

Longhorns at George Ranch Historical Park

The 'Cookie' at George Ranch Historical Park

* I got to touch a moon rock at the Houston Space Center. I really wanted to love it there, but the interpretation was a little outdated. To be fair, I didn't get a chance to see everything, but it wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped.

* I heard about efforts to save the art and cultural heritage of Haiti following the earthquake. It was very inspiring to listen to people who have been working in Haiti, conserving art that is seminal to the country's history. It reminded me a bit of a book I recently finished reading titled The Monuments Men, about the men assigned to save the artwork of Europe during WWII. Totally, totally different stories, but some similar threads.

* I visited the National Museum of Funeral History. Strange but interesting place. I have never seen so many hearses in one place before, historic through modern. My favorite part was a small exhibit on Victorian mourning practices. It talked about hair wreaths and a tradition I had never heard of which was that women would often make quilts from the silk ribbons taken from flower arrangements after a loved one's funeral. There was a beautiful quilt on display. Here is the photo, but the image quality isn't very good.

funeral ribbon quilt

* I attended a talk given by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. I'm not sure if I've ever listened to an astrophysicist talk before, but I don't think he's your standard astrophysicist. He is a hoot, and I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. He is the one that demoted Pluto from being a planet... and he still receives hate mail about it from third graders. He shared some and it had everyone in the auditorium rolling in our seats. Then he talked a bit more seriously about the sorry state of science and innovation in our country. The part of his talk that hit me the hardest was his statement that Americans don't dream anymore. He said in the past, there were always these visions of what the future would bring (think The Jetsons, et. al.), but now people just seem satisfied where they are. It really made me think... and unfortunately I think he's right.

public artwork at Houston's Discovery Green

* I also attended a talk by Rebecca Skloot, the author of the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It's about a woman whose cells were used without permission for research and have been the source of many important discoveries, vaccines and drugs. I haven't read the book yet, but I am fascinated with the story and can't wait to start reading.

public art at Houston's Discovery Green

* Oh, and on the drive down we stopped at an awesome gas station/rest stop called Buc-ee's. If you're ever driving down the interstate and see one, you should definitely stop. I promise you won't regret it. 

flowers at Houston's Discovery Green

All in all, it was a fun trip, but it was wonderful to come back home to my hubby and my kitties when it was all over!