Friday, December 31, 2010

Homestretch for Clarence

This is the last "update" post for Clarence.  Next time you see him - it'll be in all of his completed glory!  I've been spending a lot of time working on him the past couple days.  I put his whole body together.  He got his wings sewn on.  I gave him knees.

Aren't they cute?!  I love all the little details on pieces like this - makes them so much more unique and special.  There will never be another Clarence.  Kinda cool, huh?

He got his beak and eyes sewn on.

Those are a pair of vintage leather coat buttons I picked out.  They suit him perfectly.  He's a little mixture of quirky, eclectic, fun and mysterious.  And fuzzy.  I love how cuddley he's gonna be.  Right now he's kind of a floppy puppety little version of himself.

But there's just a couple more details I want to throw in and then it's stuffing time.  And I'm thinking about throwing in a little surprise just for Shawna (Clarence's mom-to-be) - but that's a secret just for her.  Then it's beans in the bum and sew him up!  I'm kinda stoked.  I can't wait to see him all finished!

Please welcome...

...a couple of new lovely beaver ladies.  

Here's Josephine...

..and Bathilda.

I really love the coloring on these two.  Something about that red I think - really makes them pop!  Check them out in the shop!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Rewind

Hello blogland!  I hope your holiday season is going splendidly.  Our Christmas went off without a hitch.  Which was wonderful.  Unfortunately (or fortunately! depending on how you look at it), I get wrapped up in the moments though and only remember to take pictures sporadically.

I think I mentioned our plans before, but to recap - we hosted Christmas breakfast, the opening of the presents, and Christmas dinner at our house this year.  It was soooo much fun.  And a lot of work.  But everyone was so happy and had a good time and the food was great and I love everyone!  :) I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  I didn't get any pics of dinner.  But I did get a couple of my Christmas crafts done before Saturday - so that was cool...

I got my snowflakes cut and hung.  When was the last time you made cut out snowflakes??  When I was making mine, I started to think about it and I couldn't even tell you when the last time was....years, for sure.  When I was done, I coated them all with ModgePodge and tied thread to them so we can use them again and again.

I also found this cool little origami star project on  Here's the blog link.

Please excuse the bad flash pic.  I made mine with red and green magazine paper and put it in one of my vintage center pieces.  I kinda forgot to put the beads on....but it still turned out really well for a first try.  Be warned -this one is kinda tedious and takes a lot of finagling to get it together right in the end.  But it's super cute.

And the boys enjoyed themselves thoroughly of course.  They are the only "grandsons" in this family so they are quite spoiled at Christmas. :)  Moe thinks this centerpiece needed a little more fluffy...

Cooper surveying his sunroom-turned-xmas-central.  Ever watchful, ever the center of attention.  My little boss-man.

I'm off work for the week again starting tomorrow after lunch.  So I hope to get a lot of work done on Clarence in my down time.  No real big plans for New Year's 'bout you?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis the season!

I'm still here.  See?   :)  I've just been swamped with the normal seasonal swampings that happen this time of year.  But I've got the rest of the week off so I'm super excited about that - I'm gonna be cleaning like a mad woman and getting ready for Saturday!

I don't know about you guys, but we've been good little elves around here.

Mailing out Christmas cards...

Getting some presents wrapped...

And one of the best parts about being an adult this time of year??  Years of perfecting your technique leads to totally awesome super-sized snowmen!

He's not done yet.  And it's hard to tell how really big he is with no real reference.  So I'll be back with more completed pics of this guy soon.  Hope you're all having as much fun as I am!  And if I don't get back on here before then, Merry, merry Christmas to you.  And if yours is a different holiday, or if you don't celebrate at all, I wish you just as much joy and love.  See you soon!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Every time a bell rings, a Clarence gets his wings

K, so there were no bells ringing really.  More accurately, the title should read, "Every time there is a big fatty snow storm and the roads get really bad so Cassandra stays home from her day job and gets to live her dream of running her own business for a day where all she's required to do is sew and craft (and maybe clean the house a little), Clarence gets his wings".  But, see?  That's really just way too long.

So on Tuesday, I did get to live my dream for a day.  I got up bright and early and got right to work.  I pretended (grownups are still allowed their pretending from time to time, right?) that I was a stay-at-home Me.  And I ran my day accordingly.  Which was sooooo very nice.  Because, honestly, it's hard working a full time day job and then coming home and having to put your all into what you really love - your own work.  Some(most)days I just feel too drained.  And uncreative.  And blah.  And I hate that.  (Any other crafters still requiring dayjobs have any helpful input on this subject?)

So having a day all to myself to really see what it'd feel like - was bliss.  I felt charged!  I was ready!  I had so many ideas!  What's that, Clarence?  You say it's about darn time you got yourself some wings already?!  I couldn't agree more.

So I whipped out my trusty old sewing machine (b/c although I really prefer handstitching, I couldn't figure out a quality way to handstitch a few of the steps that he needed) and got crackin.  And yes that's the owner's manual.  My machine and I....we're just not that close.  I wish we were.  Hopefully one day we will be.  But we're not there yet.

And spent a few hours on getting these babies just right.

Oh!  And a little while ago, Clarence got a beak.  I don't think I've shared that with you yet.  What do you think?!

I'm digging it.  Clarence is turning out to be one fly fella.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Midnight Madness...and then some

So Friday night we went to "Midnight Madness" which is apparently an annual event in downtown Romeo where all the shops stay open til, you guessed it, midnight! and there are lots and lots of sales to be had by all.  Plus, you can wear your jammies if you want!  (Which I was going to do, but changed my mind last minute b/c I didn't want to get them dirty trecking around to all the stores.)

So we bundled up and drove downtown.  Still have a couple of hard-to-buy-for people left on the Xmas list - so we were hoping to remedy that, on top of just having some fun.  We started at one of our favorite local antique shops - Town Hall.  There were so many vintage Christmas items!  I was kinda flipping out.

I mean, they always have really cool finds - but to see so many Christmas pieces in one spot!  I love the history.  The tradition (both remembering mine from childhood and adopting new ones that tickle our fancy).  The simple funny sweetness of the decor people used back then.  Neato.

Some of my favorites....the flocked Santas with fuzzy beards.  I really wanted one - but couldn't find one that was just right.  And that leaves me something to hunt for next year.  Eeeee!  I also love the little paper houses.  With glitter/snow roofs and tiny trees and little "stained glass" windows.  How cute would a whole tree of those look??  

This guy is almost too creepy.  But not quite.  (Boy did we see some seriously weird creepy santas - you know the type.  Eeesh!)  He didn't come home with us - but he's pretty cool so I had to share.  He's big too - size of a small toddler.  A fat, old, semi-creepy, toddler sized santa.  (Sometimes, even I think the stuff I like is weird.)

And the knee-hugger elves!  Now, this is one of the traditions that is not from my childhood - but they are so darling - I had to have one.  There were so many cute ones - all different colors and outfits it was hard to pick just one.  And I may feel another collection coming on.  Don't tell Jon.  

Here's mine, along with just a couple of our other finds of the night.  (PS: the train still works and has the greatest "WE'RE CAREENING OFF THE TRACKS! AHHHH!" motion to him.  I think it was called the ZigZag Express.  Very cool.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good morning, Winter Wonderland!!!

I normally can't shut up on here - but I don't really need words for today's post... <3

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Couldn't leave 'em behind

Yesterday I stopped off at one of our local Sal's (which have been busting at the seams with great vintage Christmas stuff this year!) and picked up a couple of absolutely necessary (read: totally didn't need them, am blowing my decor budget, was welcomed home with Jon rolling his eyes...) items.  (Btw - sorry for the crappy flash-ladden pictures.  It's dark before I even get home anymore.  Therefore, you get sub-par photos.  Ugh.)

I seem to have a kitschy little theme going here, don't I?  If you hate them b/c they're old and funny and juuuust slightly on the homely side...then I love them for the very same reasons.  :)

I don't know what it is about wooden rocking horses...but I adore them!  I feel a bit of a habit coming on, starting with that guy ^ .

And this little lady?  She's just a doll!  HA!  Pun entirely intended.  (Sorry, you probably couldn't have helped yourself either.)  Anyway, when I got her home, I realized she's made (her face/hands) from pantyhose!  Do you remember those?!  Then I imagined that there was some parallel universe me kinda gal from back in the day sitting in her kitchen with a kettle of tea on and her supplies scattered 'round her, munching on sugar cookies and sewing this little ginger-haired sweetie up.  I love her.

Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration you acquired somewhere over the years?

Oh, and that same night, I had to get my sister/nephew/dad's Christmas presents ready for shipping today.  So of course, I had a really great helper.

Thanks, Coop.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Banana & Avacado Face Mask Recipe

Hiya!  K, so in preparation for girlie night last weekend, I ended up just doing a quick Google search to find some simple face mask recipes to try.  It was actually surprising how difficult it ended up being (comparatively speaking) to weed through all the crappy sites I came across to get to anything worthwhile.  And I do have a book of lots of homemade remedies, masks, cleansers to make - but the ingredients are ridiculous - haven't even heard of some of the stuff - and the instructions are far from simple.  Point being, if anyone has any suggestions of a cool site or blog that features home-made skin care recipes, etc., do tell!

Anyway, here's the recipe (with some additional notes from yours truly) and I found it here.

Banana-Avacado Mask 


  • 1/2 over-ripe banana
  • 1/2 over-ripe avacado
  • 2 tbsp unflavored full-fat yogurt (A lot harder to find than you might think.  EVERYthing is low fat or 2% or whatever these days.  And go ahead and ask the guy at the store to find you some "yogurt with all the fat in it please" and watch the look he gives you.)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
1. Peel your half banana (and it really does help if it's as ripe as possible - ours weren't quite there and it made the mushing more difficult) and put in a small bowl.
2. Squish the avacado half out of its skin into the bowl.
3. Add yogurt and olive oil.
4. Mush everything together thoroughly (we used forks - I bet an egg masher would be good too).  The smoother the mixture, the easier it will apply to your skin.

5. Apply liberally to your face and neck.
6. Relax. Leave the mask on for about 20-30 minutes.  (At that time, ours were pretty well dried out.)
7. Rinse with warm water.    

You get two hefty applications from this one recipe.

And you should definitely have a camera on hand.  The stuff doesn't taste half bad, but boy, does it look funny.  It kinda looks like you have like, little green boogies all over your face.  Or like you're an ogre.  Or a gnarly green toady or something.  Makes for an maaaaarvelous photo op...

Love u gals!  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Girly Night!

Hello my bloggie lovelies!  Oooooo, sometimes a good ol' fashioned girl night is just what you need.  Not like, an out on the town girly night.  I'm not that kinda girly.  I'm talking good food, baking, face masks, some movies and a crochet circle shared with a couple of super-cool chicas.  Blissssssss!

Last night, the guys went out to a monster truck show...(*snicker* yeah, I know, I didn't think he was actually serious when he told me either)...and I invited a couple of my favorite crafty hippie chicks (H & KL) over for a sweet night in.

The night's events?

We had good food...

(chicken, romaine, spinach, cucumber, sprouts, tomato, mushroom salad)

...then H baked some cupcakes for dessert (sorry no pics of those little devils).  Then we whipped up some face masks from a recipe I found and watched How to Train Your Dragon.  :)  With our then newly nourished faces, we threw Date Night in and got down to business with some crocheting.

H worked on her scarf for the Special Olympics Scarf Project that she and I are participating in (info here and here) while I helped KL brush up on her crochet skills so we could try out some Amigurumi critters from a new book she picked up.  We worked on a squid.  Cute!  And I'm proud to say, KL has not only graduated from Amigurumi apprentice - she is well on her way to Master of those little critters!  Wooohoo!

I'll be back later with the face mask recipe!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Phillysteak and Cheese Nachos

So there should really be two narratives for this recipe - what I did...and what you should do.  I love cooking.  And things usually turn out really well, even if it's a new recipe.  But my all time biggest problem is t-i-m-i-n-g.  If there are multiple phases to a recipe, you can bet I've probably done at least a few steps out of order.  Usually the worst that happens is I'll have to keep something warm until the end b/c I've cooked it too soon or something.  Ah well.  Someday I'll learn.

Anyway.  We saw these awesome nachos on Man v. Food the other day and I just had to make them.  Of course, I'll just do this in order of should be done so you don't have to muddle through like I did. :)

Ingredient List:

  • Nacho chips 
  • 1 lb. finely sliced steak meat (got mine pre-sliced at WholeFoods)
  • 1 lb. bag of pepper strips (red, green, yellow)  You can obviously substitute fresh peppers here - I'd use one good sized one of each then.
  • One medium sized onion (or half of a large one - to taste)
  • 1 - 8oz. bag Monterrey Jack cheese

Step one: Cut your onion into strips.

Put a splash of olive oil in a good-sized (obviously larger than the one I used below) pan and heat it.  When pan is hot, add onion and lower temperature.  Cook them about half way done.  (This is if you're using the bag veggies - if you're using fresh cut, I'd probably cook them all at the same time.)

Step two: When your onions are about half way cooked to your liking (we like ours pretty well floppy and golden), start another pan (no oil - although I added a splash of water so it wasn't dry in the pan) and when hot, add the meat.  Lower the temp.  Throw in a bit of seasoning to taste (I just used some of that pre-mixed steak seasoning they make. Yeah, yeah, cheater, I know.)

Add the bag of peppers to the onions.

The meat, cut into such small pieces, really cooks super quick.  So watch it - I thought I cooked ours too long, but Jon said it was excellent.  I'd say about 6-7 minutes-ish.

Step four: Since you're following my great hindsight directions, your veggies and meat will be done together.  Spread a layer of nachos on a plate.  Add a layer of veggies.  Add your meat.  Sprinkle a generous layer of cheese on top.  (You can melt in microwave if your cheese does not cooperate.  Mine didn't either.)

Serve with a side of chunky salsa and sour cream.  This should probably serve four.  (Although Jon and I managed to polish off a good portion of it all by ourselves.)  Mangia!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just checkin' in and a bit of Christmas sharing

Hello everyone!  I hope you have all had a most excellent Thanksgiving.  We did.  I ate enough for a horse and couldn't move for a while.  We went out to Grand Rapids to celebrate with family, but we are back home now and spent last night setting up for......CHRISTMAS!!!  Do you absolutely love Christmas as much as I absolutely love Christmas??  If you do, please feel free to leave a comment telling me about your favorite parts.  Or traditions that you have.  I'd love to hear.  :)

Our "helpers" as usual...

For me, this season means family.  Mine is scattered so few and far between (geographically) and not all, but most of us are not very close (emotionally) either, so I have long been a very lucky, thankful part of a surrogate family - Jon's.  Which is lovely. :)  They're beautiful people who hold the Christmas spirit dear to their hearts as well.  It's great to be a part of it all with them.

And it means gifting.  Don't get me wrong here though - I don't agree with the massive commercialism of it all.  And I don't agree with children making lists and telling (not asking) their parents what to get them for Christmas.  I think a lot of people forget how lucky they really are.  And that's very sad to me.  Please don't ever forget how lucky you really are, my fine readers...

But the part of gifting I like is the search and the reward.  I put so much into figuring out the perfect items for those I love.  (I make a lot of my gifts too, and buy a lot on Etsy - supporting handmade is important for me in general and I love pulling that into this season as well.)  I put a lot of thought and time into getting everyone something that really suits them - and it always pays off in the delighted faces and reactions on Christmas morning.

And it means food!  I love putting grand meals together.  Usually Jon's mom does most (read: all) of the planning for us in that department, but this year, Jon and I have volunteered our home and kitchen for Christmas day.  I'm very excited.  And a little nervous.  I love putting a great big menu together.  And filling bellies with fresh, homemade goodness.  So I can't wait.  But I'm not sure what to make yet though.  We'll see.

Anyway, last night we got out all our Christmas goodies.  We set up the tree, reminiscing about each ornament - where we got them and when.  We set up the train and village under the tree.  I brought out my AnnaLee elves and put them on the mantle (we have an actual mantle with an actual fireplace now!!).  So many happy memories.  And we drank eggnog and watched Polar Express.  I forgot how nerve-wracking that movie is!  Geesh!

When do you set up for Christmas?  Are we abnormally early?  Tell me what you love and how you celebrate.

I'll be back later to share a dinner recipe with you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gift Gallery Photos and Happy Sunday

Hello there!  So the gift gallery opening was awesome!  I was so so so happy to have not only Jon accompany me, but his wonderful, supportive parents came as well.  Then my girl friend and her mom stopped by (and made off with some sweet finds!) and then! total surprise for me - my coworker friend Katie stopped by too!  How nice was that?!  (Sorry, I'll try to scale back the !!! - but it was just so fun and I was really really happy about it all.)  I want to extend (again) a personal, sincere THANK YOU! to you guys.  I'm so happy you could make it out and I really love that you were there on opening night - because you totally didn't have to do that (the show runs for the next two months) but you did anyway.  (They must like me or something, huh?)  :) :) :)

So here's me grinning like an idiot with some of my plushies on display.  (Bucky found a good home that night!  Eeee!!!  Thanks Kristin's mom and Kristin!)

Here's the display tree where my birdies are in good company showing off their cheery holiday goodness.

And the showcase wall where Quigley stands tall.  *sniff* I'm such a proud mama.

There were so many goodies there.  I really wanted like, pretty much one of everything.  (Ugh - just realized I forgot to get any shots of the lower level.)  But I got a gift for my sister (shhhhh!) and some local handmade soap and Jon and I bought a gift for his mom and a beautiful handblown glass ornament for our tree.  Actually, I think I might display it year round in a window or something - it's really pretty.

And the food was good too.  They had deserts from a couple different local bakers.  Actually really local.  We found out one was right around the corner from us, located out of Romeo.  And the other, Holy Cannoli, is actually run by the daughter of the owner of a local antique shop we go to.  Small world.  :)

So overall, it was a great night.  I have a feeling though, that those who came opening night were mostly either the artists, regular members of the gallery, or friends/family.  So the real shopping probably started yesterday morning (when admission was free and the sale was going on).  So I'll have to pop back in there next week and see if they need any restocking of Pooknflip goods.  (I hope I hope I hope they do!) Which means I need to get busy.

Oh!  And it's a happy Sunday (b/c Sunday's are usually not my favorite) because my niece and her hubby are coming over for dinner.  I'm cooking meatloaf, asparagus, sweet potatoes and smashed redskin potatoes.  Mmmmmm.  And they're bringing dessert!  I'll try to remember to take some pics...