Friday, December 25, 2009

How to make your photos even more special...

Try converting your photos from color to black and white, or sepia. You can use a free source like Picasa from Gmail to do this. When you change the color of photos it makes them into a more beautiful accent for you walls or for presents. It's SO easy. These used to be color photos:

Try it! It makes any photo seem more professional. Happy holidays!

Low Fat Shortbread Recipe!

Happy holidays!

I know...it's hard to conceive of shortbread being low fat. But I've found a way to make it delicious without the real butter! It takes longer to cook and usually is chewier than regular shortbread, but still yummy!

1 cup Smart Balance (about half a tub)
2 cups flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Optional: chopped dried cranberries, almonds, walnuts...whatever you like


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients in mixer. Mix with electric mixer until well incorporated and crumbly.
3. Add optional ingredients now with the mixer.
4. Spray a generous amount of Pam in the pan you will be using.
5. Press the shortbread mix into the pan.
6. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes on the middle rack.
7. Use the tines in a fork to put holes in the top of the shortbread (if desired) and cut the shortbread into the desired size pieces you want. Remove the pieces to a cooling rack before the shortbread starts to cool.
8. You can add frosting, powdered sugar, or anything else you can think of to the top if desired.
9. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Seasonal Photos

My nephew and I walk around the neighborhood all the time. Here are some of the pictures we took of the last foliage of the season before all of the leaves dropped. It's pretty spectacular that shoved in the middle of suburbia you can find so much nature. Enjoy!

Where is everyone?

I just came back from the post office. I expected a ridiculously long line and no parking. I expected to be away from my home for a good 45 minutes before I even got INSIDE the threshold of the office. Instead, I parked, in a parking space. A parking space in the post office parking lot. And walked into the office to find that I was the only patron in the entire room.

Have people been extra savvy in getting their gifts out early in the mail this year? Or is this a sign of the recession, where people are cutting back everywhere, including not only gifts, but mailing gifts, and mailings in general? Is this a sign of the postal mail being a less preferred method to electronic means of communication? Or, are people reconnecting with the true spirit of the holidays: being with the people (and beagles!) you love. The parking lots are almost hopefully bare this season as we move away from obsessive consumerism. Except I'll probably still have to go to Jo Ann Fabrics later and buy a ton of yarn I don't need. (But I NEED IT!) Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give your HAIR for the holidays!

Need a unique gift idea? Donate your hair to Locks of Love. I donated 11 inches of my hair in August and you can too! Visit their website to see how you can help: http://www.locksoflove.org/

My braids!!!!! (Post hair cut.....)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recycled Holiday Gifts!

Californiabottles.com is a great site where you can get ANY bottle you have sitting around flattened and made into a cute cheese or appetizer plate. A great idea for the person who has everything! They are all one of a kind. You can choose from what they have on the website, or submit your own bottle!

Monday, December 7, 2009

How to Make Coasters!

I recently walked into a store in Mill Valley and fell in love with some coasters. They were about $34 EACH!!!!! I'm sorry but that is too expensive for even people who have pockets lined with gold fabric and platinum stitching. So...I embarked on a coaster making experiment. I went to Home Depot and found plain white tiles. I bought six for $0.96 total! I also bought some clear plastic feet for the tiles to stick on the bottom so they won't scratch a table. Then I decided that nail polish was better to use than acrylic paint to bedazzle the tiles.

Here's what's happened so far....
1. SUPPLIES: Nail polish, nail polish remover, tiles, q-tips, coaster plastic bottom thingies







2. PAINT WHATEVER YOU WANT!!!!


























3. Let polish dry. Then stick plastic coaster thingies on the bottom.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mill Valley Craft Fair Today: 10am to 5pm

Hi everyone! Hope you can make it out to see us today. 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, CA at the Community Center. I'll post pictures soon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Ornament Making!

In December's Family Circle magazine there is a crafting how-to for making gorgeous ornaments! I am obsessed with making these sequined ornaments. They are very simple and anyone can make them. Here are some steps and photos:

1. Supplies you will need: Foam balls, ribbon, pins (get shorter ones depending on the size of the foam), and lots and lots of sequins!!!!! You will need more pins that you initially think. One ornament I made had about 180 pins in it!
2. Pin the ribbon into the ball.
3. Pin the sequins in any shape and direction you want around the ball.
Here are some pictures of my finished products. It takes awhile to do one ornament, but it's a good activity for a rainy day or while watching tv! Try it! It would make a great holiday present too.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Wreath Making!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! I'm still getting over a cold, but at least it's not swine flu!

Since Thanksgiving is over, I had to clear my pumpkins away and make a new wreath for the door. I used the same wreath form that I bought from Jo Ann Fabrics to make my Autumn wreath, and am using the same door hanger. Here are the steps and materials to making your own inexpensive holiday wreath!

1. Gather local shrubbery around your neighborhood. This morning we took out the dog with a bag and some scissors, looking for different greens and reds and some pine cones. We found a great mixture of pine, juniper, rosemary, eucalyptus, willow, and some berries. You can use any kind of plant or tree you can find that goes well with the color scheme you want.













2. Layer in the base green layers. Tuck in different kinds of greenery through the twigs in the wreath base. It doesn't have to be perfect, just layer in different sizes and types of the greenery throughout. Figure out where you want the top of the wreath to be (where the hanger goes).














3. Add in red leaves and berries. Depending on what you collected you may have red leaves or berries, or another accenting color. Weave in the contrasting color leaves or berries into the greenery and twig layers. Be careful if you're using berries and have pets around to make sure they don't eat them. No one wants an emergency holiday trip to the vet!















4. Add pine cones. No glue gun necessary! Just find some twig layers that can accommodate the size pine cones you find. I used the baby ones that had dropped to the ground. You may need to use wine to secure larger pine cones. Picture hanging wire is easy to bend and use for this kind of project. Also, fishing tackle (the clear thread you can find at a sporting good store that is sold is spools) is great for attaching all kinds of holiday decorations and is a great strong material to add to your crafting tool collection.














5. Extra material accent jars. If you have extra greenery left over, use cleaned out mason jars (see the previous blog entry) and fill them up. Place them around your house to add accents of greenery or holiday cheer to bookshelves, coffee tables, etc.



















Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Preparation


Happy Thanksgiving! Here's a thought to make your Thanksgiving more eco-friendly and cheaper!

Recycle bottles and jars by re-purposing them. I've been saving wine and champagne bottles to use instead of water pitchers at the table. The next time you buy wine, look for beautiful bottle colors, or ones with etching to make a particular statement for your table. I've also been cleaning out mason jars that had pasta sauce in them. You can use them for multiple purposes: as a vase, a drink container, to package leftovers, house safety pins or other sewing essentials, etc. You can also use garlic jars or baby food jars to keep your sewing or jewelry making pieces in. It just depends on what size jar you have or need. You can also re-purpose small jars by melting wax and putting a wick in them...making your own candles!

Remove the labels with hot soapy water. You might need to encourage the labels off with a knife depending on how patient you are. I also run mine through the dishwasher.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cleaning ideas....

Yesterday my mom and I took Ralph out on a long walk. When we got back to my apartment she told me that my house smelled. Obviously, anyone with a dog can relate to the smell that lingers from a wet pet in the house in winter. My boyfriend hates when I spray any kind of "air sanitizer" in the house so I came up with a more natural way to make it smell better.

I sprinkled some dried lavender sparsely across the carpet (and only in places I knew I would be able to suck it up with my vacuum). I used about 1/4 cup of lavender per 100 square feet of the house. Then I sucked up the lavender with my vacuum. It leaves behind a refreshing scent without putting extra chemicals into your home.

I buy my lavender at Save-on-Crafts.com. They are located in Watsonville, CA, and I used a regular shipping method and my lavender arrived within 24 hours of my order! This is a great online store for crafting or setting up for a party or holiday celebration.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Project Runway...what were you thinking?

I am so disappointed that they didn't choose Carol Hannah Whitfield as the winner of Project Runway. Her whole collection was amazing, and her focus and design aesthetic throughout the competition was impeccably executed. And fun! Everything she made I could see myself wearing. She will inspire generations of designers to come.

If I had 1/100th of her talent I would never have a day of self doubt. Carol Hannah, you are a fabulous designer and I wish only wonderful things to happen to you!

Mill Valley Craft Fair December 5th 10am to 5pm

Above are some scarves that will be featured at the Mill Valley Craft Fair on December 5th.
Here are some of the baby hats I've been working on. My nephew tried on the bright blue hat today...such a cutie pie.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Left Over Yarn Blanket


Have a ton of yarn you don't know what to do with? Have a lot of left over yarn from projects that have been completed that you can't make a hat or scarf out of because there isn't enough yarn left over?

Start your own left over yarn blanket! I've been slowly working on mine since 2005. As I have extra yarn that I can't seem to use for anything, I divide it into types (i.e., worsted, chunky, angora, etc.). Then I start either a ball of yarn with all the different yarns, or throw it in a bag until its big enough to start a full blanket.

The picture above is of my blanket....so far. You might think it's ugly, but I absolutely love it! Making this blanket is so fun because you don't waste any yarn and you also don't get bored because the yarn is constantly changing. Try it!

Also, if you've had a problem with keeping your yarn from getting tangled, put different projects that you're working on in different bags. I like using EnviroSax: http://www.envirosax.com/ They are light weight and easy to throw in your purse. If you keep all over yarn in bags ready to go, it's easy to grab one and always have a crafty project with you when you get stuck somewhere and have free time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My lexicon is perplexed...

With health care leading the fore of polite, impolite, and political debate, a troubling bit of diction has entered the lexicon: the living will.

The "living will" is a total misnomer. A will is a testamentary instrument. To say that it is "living" to me implies that the language involved is merely precatory and not testamentary, thereby rendering the instrument invalid. And every time I hear it discussed on the radio or TV I want to rip my eyes out...almost like the time my boyfriend said "irregardless."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Autumnal Wreath


I wanted a cute wreath for my door this season that wasn't expensive and that I could make most of myself. I bought the base which is brown twigs wrapped into a circle formation from Jo Ann Fabrics for about $3.

On a walk with Ralph, I collected a ton of different colored leaves. Some I let dry and some I pick "fresh" from the ground every day to add new color and patterns to the wreath.

I found a bouquet of rose hips (the reddish orange berry type things that look like tiny tomatoes) at Safeway. The whole arrangement was inexpensive, and I can add to it daily! It would be a fun project for a family, or if you're just bored walking the pooch. Also, you can reuse the wreath for Christmas by sticking in holiday festive trees and pine cones! No glue gun necessary...just stick the stems in through the woven branches in the original wreath form.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tis the Season to Craft!

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Halloween. The bf and I were sick with the flu for the last week so our Halloween was scary only because of the amount of tissues and Law and Orders we went through.

Now that winter is coming, it may be time to hunker down with some yarn or make a quilt. You know, an activity you can do while you're curled up in your Snuggie!

Have you checked out Martha Stewart Living lately? Her November issue has some amazing crafting ideas with glitter of all things! I absolutely HATE glitter but have spent the whole day imagining a 32 by 40 blown up photo of my beagle...glitterized. Oh Martha, thank you! Make sure you have a vacuum. Also, you might think of hitting up a party supply store for a cheap plastic tablecloth you can reuse and shake outside. It will get everywhere.

Have you picked up a crafting book lately? There are a ton out there now to give you different ideas for holiday gifts. Amy Sedaris has a great book out called I Like You, which is a combination of humor, crafts and recipes. It even comes with excuses and "etiquette" for situations you may encounter while entertaining. Seriously a good read and an even better present for the crafter in your life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Que lastima POOPito!!!!!!!!

So...I am the girl who usually packs three poo bags per walk in my pocket or tucks them into my Ipod arm band, etc. Ralph gets hours of walks every day, usually 5 to 6 different walks. The night before he had gotten sick, eaten grass for a half hour. Puked grass. The usual. I went out to the deck the next day and discovered that in his hiccuping sickness, he had mistaken my onion plants (tiny green onions growing from seed) for grass. I'm sure that didn't sit well with his puppy stomach.

The next day, there was a huge grass poo. Two hours later he is pawing at the door again. This is his fourth walk and it's only 11am. Seriously. I am whipped by the puppala! So I take him out while I'm talking on the phone with my mom, thinking he just needs to go pee. I have NEVER left the house without poo bags. I am the person who always picks up the dog poo. I hate the people who don't. There is poop everywhere people! Be responsible for your dog or buy your own ranch so they can crap everything they want to. I buy special poo bags...rainbow colored ones, bright green, black, and the ever cute white bags with black paw prints on them from Cost Plus. I even made a dog poo bag dispenser to place by the door with an old plastic can that used to house tennis balls, a glue gun, some fabric, and of course, stick on velcro. I put the poo bags in the dispenser in alternating colors...so we never have the same colors on walks. Gotta keep the shit picking up exciting!

So, he paws at the door and we go for a pee walk. Except that he is pulling in the direction of a longer walk. I can't imagine that he is going to poop again because he took such a huge grassy poo at 9am, just two short hours before, and there is no way in beagle hell that he will have to poop again. I am about a mile away from my house and any source for poo bags. His butt hole starts to pulsate as it does when he is about to #2. I shriek into the phone at my mom "This cannot be happening!!!!!! I need to call you back!"

I hang up the phone as Ralphers takes a dump in the middle of a lawn. Not to the side, not by a bush, but on the middle of the grass. He then starts to walk into the street and tries to poop out the fourth shard of grass poo which isn't coming out. Normally, I bring all the poo bags in case I need to use one to PULL OUT THE POO FROM HIS BUTT. This only happens when he's gotten sick and eaten grass. So I'm looking around for a leaf. They are all dried and crackling in my hands. I finally find a leaf that is big enough and pliable enough to use to pull the grass poo out. I am feeling SO guilty that I don't have a bag. I place the poo leaf in a place where no person would step in it. I am thoroughly grossed out.

I look at my right hand. There is dog poo on my thumb. FUCK! I am the girl who is OCD about the hand sanitizer. I started to hyperventilate. It took me only about two hours, a ton of anti-bacterial hand soap, and two showers to calm down.

And later in the night.....I walked the dog the same route and picked up all the poops I had left behind. So people with dogs....pick up your shit. And remember to always bring poo bags.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lady at the market...you need to calm the F down!

Normally I bag my own groceries. I know how monotonous it must be to be a checker and then have no support-bagging-staff so I like to chat and bag my own stuff. Tonight, my boyfriend and I went to the market....the cart was filled but not in an obscenely "we are obese" way. We have a bagger for one bag...then she disappears....so I hop in and start bagging. Eight bags later...the bagger reappears and kicks me out of my place. Then she starts yelling at my boyfriend to go get another shopping cart. I'm confused. I've had a few glasses of wine at this point in the evening and am wondering what is going on. I tell her "we don't need an extra cart." She yells "BUT YOU"RE GOING TO SQUISH YOUR GROCERIES!!!!!!" I say "really, it's okay, just put everything on top of the stuff that's already in there." She says "No. You need another cart."

I know, right???! So I start putting the bags in my ONE cart myself saying "It's really fine. Just put them in the cart. It's really okay, I promise." She refuses to put the groceries in and keeps repeating "It's all going to get squished!"

This woman is SHAKING her head at me and rolling her eyes and I think she is a crazy mf-ing person. Why isn't she listening to me? By the time I get to the car I realize that I am the bitch and that this woman probably has a ton of OCD issues just like me. Thank God and psychiatrists for Zoloft!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gin + Tonic + Blood Orange Soda = Fabulousness

I had never had a gin and tonic before last weekend when my boyfriend's dad introduced me to the wonderfulness that is Tanqueray. Get some diet tonic water and some blood orange soda from Cost Plus. AMAZING............

Ralph (the beagle) had a seizure today. Normally he has them when it's hot or he is stressed out. Today he had an uncharacteristically bad one. It was about 95 degrees. He came running out from the bedroom into the living room where I was sitting. He put his right paw up and then his whole body dropped to the ground and he convulsed. He peed on the floor which he has only done once before. I held him and told him what a good boy he was. I put an ice pack on his beagle back but it didn't seem to help. He came out of it about a half hour later. The actual seizure was much shorter but normally he will respond to food and water within a shorter amount of time. Not today. I placed water bowls all over the apartment to make sure he could get to at least one if he needed to rehydrate. He had drooled at least a cup of saliva onto my leg and the carpet after the seizure. I was afraid I'd have to get a saline drip into him. My poor boofer...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Etsy Account

I just signed up for Etsy which is a website that helps you sell your handcrafted items. Visit my page at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/craftytaxattorney

I should have some items posted soon!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Woo Mill Valley Craft Fair!

I was accepted to be in the Mill Valley Craft Fair on December 5th, 2009! Wooooooo!!! Come out to see my scarves, scarves with mitten pockets (smittens!) and baby hats, baby blankets, and smocked dresses!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Welcome!


This blog is for the people who can answer YES to any of the following questions (or love/live with the people who can):

1. Have you ever thought you were addicted to your glue gun?
2. Have you ever spent your month's food budget on fabric you really didn't need but was too beautiful to pass up (and it was on sale!)?
3. Have you ever wandered the aisles of a craft store imagining the amazing wall hangings, jewelry, dresses, or scarves you could make, only to find that hours have passed?
4. Have you ever wondered if you chose your career because you didn't know what else to do and so you fumbled through graduate school to only discover that you gain very little life fulfillment from sitting behind your computer all day trying to deal with other people's problems?
5. Do you treat your pets like children?
6. Is your mind cluttered by self-loathing thoughts and feelings of inadequacy?
7. Do you tend to check that your door is locked/the coffee pot is off/your emergency brake is set in a frequency that alarms "normal people"?
8. Do you struggle with feelings of what people expect of you versus what makes you happy?
9. Do you love the crap out of your friends and family and wonder why your significant other hasn't left "the crazy" that you are yet?
10. Do you find solace in books by Anne Lamott, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Safron Foer, Janet Fitch, Jeffrey Eugenides, David Sedaris, or Wally Lamb?

I hope you enjoy my musings and breakdowns about sewing, death, relationships, career, my beautiful beagle Ralph!, wanting to be a mom (tick tick tick), OCD, vodka, nightmares, my garden, dealing with family, depression, friends, surfing, tv shows, crochetting, anxiety and getting out of bed in the morning to pass as a functioning human being.