Friday, October 31, 2014

The Caped Crusader

Call me Alfred because I am raising Batman!! 

Halloween is by far my family's favorite holiday. This is the first year we didn't really go all out, there just seemed to be so many things that seemed to keep us from being home long enough to get out the decorations. 

However, this year we also seemed to have a bit of a problem with our little one deciding on a costume, so we got both Ninja Turtles and Batman.

After wearing his costumes around the house for the past 2 weeks, Batman was the final choice!

We had fun at his all-day school party yesterday - a parade, party snacks, movies, games, and so much more!!

Tonight he went trick-or-treating with Daddy while I passed out candy, then he came back and they took over. He was so excited he kept running up the driveway to meet all the kids and was so excited and complimenting them on their costumes. I think that was my favorite part. 

(For some reason, I just think this expression is so funny!)

He finally fell asleep like this tonight. It almost looks like he may have some regrets on how much candy he ate tonight.

We'll, it's getting late and tomorrow I am opening the show at the International Quilt festival, so I'm off to bed. I hope everyone had a safe and sweet Halloween!

Until our next cup of tea ...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Went to Market, Saw Some Friends

What a busy week this has been! Actually, for the first time in more than a month, I came home from a day at my son's school and didn't have pending work for the magazine, a work assignment, something for the school's Fall Festival or my son's class. So after cleaning the house a bit, making dinner, doing a load or two of laundry, and spending some time with my little one before tucking him into bed, I am settling in to write a blog post or two.

The week started off absolutely amazingly (I know that grammatically that may not be a valid statement). On Sunday, I jetted off to the George R. Brown Convention Center here in Houston for Quilt Market. What an amazing opportunity to visit and explore quilting companies, designers and more. It was both a chance to do some research for the upcoming 2015 issues of TEAinTEXAS as well as visit with friends from all my years of working in the quilting industry and my time with Bear Thread Designs.

It was definitely an amazing experience. 

Something obviously on my Must-Do List was to visit the Quiltsmart booth. As you know, I am doing A Year of Quiltsmart (August 2014-July 2015). I spent some time with Mattie, Steve and Donna and event checked in and chatted with Mandy electronically. According to Mattie, Mandy and I are creative-soul mates which is awesome because we work together so much not only on Quiltsmart-inspirations and projects, but on personal projects as well. If you don't have a creative buddy to talk through projects, you need one. Though your project list may increase exponentially. But I digress ...

Mattie and the team had quite a few visitors on the Quiltsmart booth, many of them Quiltsmarties! She was busy introducing recently released patterns such as the Quiltsmart Maple Leaf, Quiltsmart Bear Paw, Practical Art Banner Flags and Raw-Edge Letters, as well as their new partnership with Angela Yosten. Having recently learning about the Angela Yosten projects, I was excited to talk to Mattie about it. (Squeal alert - I will be working on a project and posting about it in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!)

Steve as usual was the Belle of the Ball and on a mission to let the world know, men needs bags too! (Holiday gift hint!!)

Another project that was added to my list was the Quiltsmart Christmas Stockings!! Yeah! My list is growing, but I am excited that my other commitments ae winding down. The Fall is my busiest time of the year. 

Stay tuned for more posts about International Quilt Festival, the latest in the Round Robin quilt, Quiltsmart for a Year projects and more.

Until our next cup of tea ...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

Anyone who knows me, knows I love pink. Like OBSESSIVELY!! While I love all pinks, I am partial to light pinks, especially paired with white or lace. 

One goal, or dream, is to one day have a pink and white Christmas tree. I mean, I want a green tree, but the ornamnets would be pink, white and a little silver. So every so often, I get a little creative and make some pink or white ornaments. There is no time that gets me more inspired than Fall and Winter.

About 2 weeks ago, I decided to recreate some ornaments that I had made when I first got married and was creating ornaments for our family tree. It was a fairly new technique then, but has become more and more common.

You simply pour small amounts of paint from 2 or 3 colors into glass (or plastic) ornaments and rotate them inintervals until they create a marble look, or unique blended design. This year I made 12 (and already broke one). Here are a few of the ornaments from the first batch.

The ones that I made when we first married were a variety of colors and I will try to take a picture of some when we put our tree up this year, but I did find these ...

Until our next cup of tea ...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Tea Pot, One Stitch at a Time

Well, we are nearing the end of the layout and design of the Winter Issue of TEAinTEXAS, and we are about to start planning for the Internaltional Quilt Festival in Houston, even as we completed an event this weekend where staff (not me) manned a table and sold many of our tea products and accessories. 

While the publisher and design team finish the last of the issue, I am making samples of some quilt patterns that we will be selling at the Quilt Festival. They are all tea-related patterns and earlier this week, I finished the top of the tea tray placemat. It was a quick and easy pattern, even though I am not a fan of triangles in quilting.

I love that I am able to choose my own fabrics and these three were used in other projects. I'll post the others as I get them finished.

Until our next cup of tea ...

Friday, October 17, 2014

What's Your Story?

I had a package waiting for me when I got home today and inside I found this adorable Origami Owl lanyard from my friend, Korin Hardt. First of all, it could've just been a note that said, "I love you face" and I'd be happy but then the lanyard made it even better. On top of all that I'm on a hexagon kick right now, so the boxes were totally a happy bonus!!

As soon as I got my son an afternoon snack, I rushed to my bedroom to find the charms I'd been collecting for my lanyard. Since I wear a Media Badge a lot at TEAinTEXAS Magazine, I knew I wanted it to reflect the journey that had led me  to this place, which qualifies as my dream job (that or book editor).

So I'd been thinking about it and eventually, got these charms, one or two at a time ...
Army Charm: Starting the day I got married, I spent 7 years working with military and military families. I started out as a journalist and photographer with a base newspaper and eventually became the Family Readiness Support Manager for a Military Police Battalion. TO this day I still have treasured friends I met at both of these positions and those 7 years played a pivotal role in making me the person I am today, both personally and professionally.

Blog Charm: It was while I was at the Army newspaper that a co-worker and fellow troublmaker (TC), talked me into starting a blog about my daily life and the adventures of military life. Though that blog is currently inactive, it did serve as the stepping stone for this one ... which is why you are reading this post.

Flower Charm: During the time I was working for the newspaper and for a few years after I left, I was a freelance photographer both in nature and landscape and for family portraits in natural settings such as parks and gardens. It is a reminder to always look for the beauty in life. Even when the blooms are dormant, the rustling leaves across the ground have thier own charms over us, if you just take the time to watch them.

Purple Ribbon: The purple ribbon serves as a reminder by giving of my time, I can help make a difference even if it is one day, in one person's life. The purple ribbon serves as reminders of Adoption, Anti-Gay Bullying, Domestic Violence, and Pancreatic Cancer - all elements that has touched my life. Everyone has a story and by serving others, we may be the weight that tips the scales giving them a better life.

Teacup Charm: That's easy. That one is the reminder of how something I loved in daily life, led to my work at TEAinTEXAS.

Love Charm: A reminder to always love what you do. I am the one who choses to love or hate what I am doing.

Pink Charm: A reminder to always be myself. From an accidental PrettyPinkPrincess login to being named "Viper Princess", the best person I can be is me. Holding true to myself is the best path I can take.

If you don't have an O2 rep, I'd definitely say contact Korin. She'll definitely help you find your happiness!! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mad for Mad Hatter!!

I love Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter. Its just something about the quirky little versions all this character, and his connection to tea is just a wonderful bonus. 

The past 2 months I have been working with a variety of antique shops and boutiques as I worked on the TEAinTEXAS Winter Issue. Of course, I took the time to explore and some of my previous posts shared some of those photos.
While I was visit Antiques on Memorial in Houston and there I found this wonderful treat. This Walt Disney figurine made in Japan.  I haven't found much information on it, though the vendor claimed it was "rare". Unofficial notes say it was made in the 1950sor 1960s. I'm not sure if the rarity is because of limited edition or because age and few have survived. I have seen several for sale on various websites, but most are already sold.

Regardless, of the lack of information this little guy is the perfect companion for my Alice in Wonderland tea set. 


Until our next cup of tea ...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Just Another Day at the Office

Today was a long day, but it was still pretty great. We are at the final days of ad sales for the Winter Issue, so we've been working early moring and late nights. Its not too bad, because its only a two week period each quarter. But today was still a great day despite running like crazy.

I had to visit some clients and potiental clients, which in my world is not too bad. Actually, most days its the best part.

One place I visited today was Buttons n Bows, a quilt shop on Memorial Drive in Houston. They always seem to have the perfect fabric for my projects. Though I stopped by for business today, I decided to multitask and pick up more yardage of a green fabric I need for a secret Quiltsmart Project, part of my Year of Quiltsmart. For the same project, I need a yellow fabric, which I had been procrastinating because ... well, I don't like yellows and I'm picky about golds too. 

But, as I was looking for the green and considering pushing off choosing a yellow for the project, Marge said she had one on the cutting that she thought I might just like for the project. Sure enough, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was perfect! 

Another stop today was Rummel Creek Village Antiques, just down the street from Buttons n Bows. I could tell you of how many beautifu antiques there were, or express how hard it was not to blow an entire month's paycheck, but maybe I'll just share some photos with you!

The best part was meeting my friend E.B. for lunch. Her
husband's company recently brought them to the United States and it is fun to introduce her to places here and learn about her international travels.

So despite the busy week, the activity leads to new adventures. Who knew exploring your own community could be so fun? That's what make my work so fun!!

Until our next cup of tea ...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Spook-tacular Halloween Wreath

Last year I made a burlap Fall wreath for our front door. It was really fun and turned out better than I had expected. It was the first wreath I'd made using the wire wreath form.

I was excited to make another one this year, but decided Halloween-themed would be the task for this year. While I at the Dollar Tree recently, I found a small wire wreath form and a variety of Halloween ribbons. Once home, it took me a week or so to figure out what I wanted to do with them.  

I wanted to create a braided look, so the first thing I decided to do was wrap the wire with some black fabric that I had in my craft room. This created two rows with a center row.

Next, I began to wrap each section with the ribbons. It took about 2 of the solid orange ribbon and 4 of the diamond patterned ribbon. The solid orange was easier to just alternate the wrapping to create the braid, whereas the diamond patterned ribbon had to be hot glued to the back at the every weave in the back so I could flip it to keep the front of the ribbon facing outward.

Once finished, I added this cute sign to it that I found at Tuesday Morning. I had to fluff the ribbons a bit and readjust a little after I took the photos, but it only took me a few hours to do even with the various interruptions from my 4-year-old (life has a variety of everyday crisis at that age.)

It was quite a budget-friendly project.
Wreath frame, $1
6 spools of ribbon, $6
Fabric, less than 1/2 yard, approx. $4
Sign, $4
Total Cost: About $15
I'm definitely going to try this project again. I'm already looking for Christmas ribbon!!
Until our next cup of tea ...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Accidental Chef: Smashed Potatoes

Accidents occasionally happen, and sometimes its a happy accident. That doesn't happen too often, but when it does, its a great surprise.

Earlier this week, I was making a pasta meal for dinner and dropped something at the bottom of the pantry. When I bent down to pick it up, I realized the sack of potatoes I'd bought the week before were at the bottom where our extra waters and other drink are kept. I guess my husband had put them there when he was helping put away groceries. (Yep, I'm a lucky girl!)

I knew that with the long list of plans for the rest of the week, that I would need to cook them or they would go bad before I could get to them again. So, unsure of what I'd do with them later I decided to put them in the fridge in a zippered bag. As I put them in the bag, I "smahed" them one at a time with my hand (through the bag) to break them open, hoping that with the skin broken they would heat fast when I reheated them.

So last night, I pulled them out to reheat with some previously-cooked turkey meatballs. Quick and easy. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and poured the "smashed" potatoes into a glass baking dish. As I was searching the fridge for butter, I also saw and grabbed some bacon bits, cheese and a little bit of garlic. I sprinkled the butter, galric and bacon bits over the potatoes, along with salt and pepper. 

I placed the uncovered dish in the oven for about 10 minutes, then pulled it out, mixed it and sprinkled cheese over the top. Then I baked for about another 5 minutes.

OMG! It was so good! Hubby loved it. That of course, is the greatest test. I'm sure we'll try this again in the future, maybe with some adjustments and try new things, like maybe sauted onions. Mmm, that sounds yummy.

Until our next cup of tea ...

Friday, October 3, 2014

If I Could Choose a Super Power ...

My son and I had a discussion their other day about super heroes and he asked what super power did I want. At the time I went with something that he could thing was cool like blowing like the wind or laser eyes, but in reality, I want to have a super power that slowed time. All of me would chose that super power for selfish reasons, but depending on the day, they purpose would change. Slowing down how fast he is growing is one powerful reason that most any mom would want that ability, but at times when I am overwhelmed and have a to-do list so long I want to sit in the corner and cry, I'd like to manipulate time so that I could have a little "me time".

Well, now you know why the blog has been quiet for a bit. I have a long list of things that I'd love to get posted, but alas, life has gotten a bit hectic in the last 2 weeks.

Although the the Fall Issue of TEAinTEXAS is still on the newsstands for another month, we are already putting together the Winter Issue, which will feature Texas Antique Shops, Holiday Home Tours and (my favorite) a Holiday Gift Guide.

Then about 10 days after the Winter Issue goes to print TEAinTEXAS has a booth at the International Quilt Festival, which is not only the largest quilt event internationally (as far as I know), but we also decided to get a double sized booth this year versus the regular size. So we won't have the usual down time to compress and start brainstorming the Spring Issue. (OMG, we haven't even had Halloween and I am already talking about Spring!!!)

I also volunteered at my son's new school to help organize the Fall Festival, but that has turned out to be a bigger project than I had signed up for. I agreed to head the Marketing Committee which was something that I do every day for TEAinTEXAS, but then the volunteers in the Ticketing and Volunteer Coordination teams dropped out and my team of two was given some of their tasks. AGH! Of course, life wouldn't be as exciting without a few bumps in the road.

The actual event takes place the weekend after the International Quilt Festival ends, so I am going to be running like a crazy person through the second week of November, just in time for Thansgiving!

So, all in all, its been pretty hectic, but ... that doesn't mean I don't have time for a creative project or two. Especially a quick and easy Quiltsmart project! I made another banner, this one for my tea cup cabinet. I'm not going to sugar coat it, I'm in a burlap and lace kind of zone right now. 
It was so easy! I used a soft burlap-style fabric to make the banner then a white-on-white fabric for the letters. I found a pretty, natural linen ribbon and a spool of same sized lace and sewed them across for the ribbon tie. 

Well, its a beautiful day here so we spent the morning at the beach after I met some of our partners in Galveston. I'll post pics of our adventures soon, but while the little one is resting on the sofa with a movie, I'm going to sneak over to the sewing machine where another Quiltsmart projects awaits!

Until our next cup of tea ...