Category Archives: family

Quilt #4 – A Baby Quilt for Caleb

Quilt #4 - A Baby Quilt for Caleb

Hi everyone!  I hope you’re all well and happy. Work has been keeping me very busy – both in the office and with traveling – but I’m still working on my creative projects and thought I’d pop in and share my my most recently completed quilt.

I actually finished this quilt about a month ago, but I haven’t posted it until now because I made it for my newest nephew, Caleb, and didn’t want to share the quilt until after he’d arrived and the gift had been given.  I’m so happy that my adorable little nephew arrived safe and sound!  He’s the 14th of my nieces and nephews (!), and I love him so.

Caleb’s parents are total Disney fans – Lilo & Stitch is one of their favorite movies. They went with a Finding Nemo-ish theme in the nursery and blue is a favored family color.  I decided on fabrics that are a nod to Finding Nemo and Lilo & Stitch without being super obvious/licensed prints.

Quilt #4 - A Baby Quilt for Caleb

My thoughts on the different fabrics – starting with the shark/fish print:
1. “Fish are friends – not food!”
2. This orange is a fishy color, really makes the blues pop!
3. This print looks subtly Hawaiian-esque to me, referencing Lilo & Stitch
4. This fabric looks like fish bubbles, and I believe these two colors are a close match for Stitch

I used my Sizzix Big Shot and a square die to cut out all the squares (I believe it was this die) quickly and easily.  Then I moved on to the piecing and quilting.  I kept the actual quilting simple – I sewed simple, horizontal wavy lines to look like ocean waves.

Quilt #4 - A Baby Quilt for Caleb

The back of the quilt is a dark blue version of the orange fabric (fine/small dots) , and I used it to bind the quilt as well – giving the front of the quilt a slightly darker frame.  I love how this baby quilt turned out.  It was made with so much love, and is the first quilt I’ve given as a gift.  :]  I hope little Caleb uses it and treasures it in the coming years.

Until next time…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Blessed Be the Bunnies…

If you follow my blog you probably know that hubby and I have two pet rabbits.  We adopted Cypress and Pinto from a shelter back in 2010, and have been enjoying their wascally wabbit antics since then.  They’re definitely a big part of our little family.  Happily, we had a unique (to me) opportunity to show our love for them in a new way this past weekend.  They were blessed in honor of the Feast of Saint Francis! :]

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Pinto, peeking out of the pet carrier to see what’s going on…

Apparently Catholic churches often invite people to have their pet blessed by the church in honor of Saint Francis on or around October 4th – his feast day.  Saint Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment, and it sounds like he was a wonderful man.  A non-Catholic, I learned a good amount about him during the little service they had before the blessing of the animals.  And though hubby was raised Catholic this whole idea of bringing your pets to church for a blessing was new to him.

Hubby

Hubby and the bunnies before the event started…

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but it was such a lovely experience.  The priest, Father Thomas, was very friendly, funny, kind and patient, and all the critters there were so cute!  As expected, there were many dogs.  We also saw some birds, turtles, fish (beta), a little lizard/dragon, and several turtles.  We didn’t see any cats, and we were the only ones who brought bunnies.

Cypress and Pinto were a big hit.  :] They received their holy water sprinkles without a fuss while secured in their pet carrier.  After the little service and history about St. Francis, who sounds like he was a very humble, loving and caring person, we had a little “parade” – which was a walk up to the front of the church for a group photo and then back.

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Hubby holding Cypress, Father Thomas, me holding Pinto

After the official part of the event was over we asked the priest to take a picture with the four of us.  We hadn’t taken the bunnies out of their carrier until then, because I was worried that they’d be too afraid or that there would be a mishap of some sort.  However, by that time many families had left and it seemed safe, so we took them out and held them. And yes, I brought along a few of my vintage doilies to lay on the open pet carrier in keeping with the church/altar look.  I’m cuckoo – I know.  :]

Melody

Getting ready to head back home with our precious cargo…

It was a funny, sweet, and fun event, and I’m very glad we went.  I love our bun buns, and want the best for them.  Blessings for the bunnies are always welcome…

Warm regards,
Melody
aka Mama Bunny

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Marcelino’s Garden

rose

In my mind the word “art” encompasses so much more than mediums like drawing and painting.  I think artful endeavors also include things like cooking, working with textiles, making music and so on.  Some of us have green thumbs and bring beauty to the word via plant life.  My father-in-law, Marcelino, is one of those people – gardening is his art.

I’ve been a fan of my father-in-law’s garden since I first started dating my husband nearly 18 years ago.  I’ve enjoyed countless visits to my husband’s childhood home over the years, where his parents still reside, and during each visit I take time to admire my father-in-law’s “living canvas”.  His garden is a bit different each time I visit, and I always enjoy the arrangement, the colors, the scents, and the textures.

He moves some of his plants around, includes a variety of both ornamental and edible plants, and cultivates a playful feeling in his garden.  Chile plants and tomatoes help to nourish loved ones – beauties like roses, calla lilies and geraniums give our eyes something to feast on.  And while the contents of Marcelino’s garden are primarily plants accented with garden sculpture, you may also find a chandelier hanging from an avocado tree or see an old plastic toy lizard left over from my hubby’s childhood glowering menacingly at you from the crook of a tree.  Those whimsical touches are among my favorites.

The photos in this post were taken over Easter weekend.  I used a macro lens on my iPhone to capture these “up close and personal” images of some of the plants that my father-in-law nurtures and tends to.  I hope you enjoy them, and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Marcelino’s favorite way to make art…

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Tomato plant

amaryllis

Amaryllis

cactus

Cactus

tendril

Passion Flower tendril

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Rosebud

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Tiny orange chile

dandelion

Dandelion

seedling

Seedling

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Chile flower

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Calla lily leaf

I hope you’re all having a great week thus far…

Warm regards,
Melody

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A Little Time Away…

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I’ll be taking a little time away from my blog, dear readers.  My father passed away on Saturday, so I’ll be taking time to grieve, process, and heal.  I hope to return to blogging as we begin the new year.

In the meantime, I’m wishing each of you the Happiest of Holidays and a wonderful New Year.

Warm regards,
Melody

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Washi Tape & Cork Place Card Holders

cork_washi_placecards1

I was recently given a big bag of corks (Thanks, Megan!), and have started the fun process of coming up with things to create with them.  My first DIY with these corks is this set of place card holders.  These little beauties are fast and easy to make, and require few materials.  What’s not to love?

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Getting back to my bag ‘o corks, some of the corks are “natural” and some of them are made from foam and plastic.  Today’s project is made with the latter – the synthetic corks.  I found them to be more symmetrical, and therefore easier to wrap with the washi tape.  Washi tape is easy to work with, since it’s easy to peel up and straighten, and the color, pattern, and mix-n-match possibilities are endless!

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 Materials
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supplies

Synthetic corks
Washi tape
Xacto Blade
Cardstock
Pen

Directions
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  1. Wrap Washi tape around the cork.  The corks I used allowed for three “rows” of tape to be laid out next to each other, with a wee bit of overlap. You can use all one color, as I did on most of my corks, or mix and match, like I did on my black, white, and silver cork.
  2. Cut across the top middle of your cork with  your Xacto blade.  The cut should go all the way across the top, as shown, and should extend downward into the cork so the placecard can be slid down into the cork about 1/4 of an inch.
  3. Prepare the cards you’ll be displaying and carefully inset them into the cut foam slit. Make sure they’re centered so they don’t tip over.
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Not only are these super fast and easy holders perfect for place cards, they’re also great for labeling food and dessert platters.  You might also consider using them to hold cherished photos.
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Questions?  Comments?  I’d love to hear from you, dear readers.  Happy washi taping!
Warm regards,
Melody
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Holiday Favorites – My December “To Do” List!

s-claus

There are certain things that I enjoying doing each year when December rolls around.  They’re things that I must do or experience in order for the Christmas season to be its best – at least for me.  I know everyone celebrates different things and/or in different ways, and I really love that celebrating is unique to each individual or family.  Tradition, culture and personalities play such a big part, don’t you think?

Here are some of My Holiday Favorites – things that I love to partake in each year, if I can:

  • Watching the movie “Elf” starring Will Ferrell.  Buddy the Elf is so innocent, gleeful, and funny.  I love it!
  • Decorating for the holidays
  • Making – and eating – Magic Cookie Bars!  I could literally eat a whole pan myself, they’re SO good. :]
  • Listening to the Soundtrack from The Nutcracker
  • Eating Dryer’s Peppermint Ice Cream.  Yum!
  • Doing something to help those in need, like donating food to a food bank
  • Listening to the song “Feliz Navidad”, performed by José Feliciano.  I listen to it several times during the month – it fills me with joy!
  • Baking sugar cookies.  When I was little my family used to make the kind of sugar cookies that you have to roll out and cut with cookie cutters, which was fun, but these days I go with a sugar cookie recipe that’s easier to make and is simply scrumptious.

What’s on your holiday “Must Do” list?  Please comment and share…

Warm regards,
Melody

p.s. Yep, that little girl in the blue dress in the photo up top was me – over 35 year ago. It was my one and only picture with Santa as a child. :]

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Another Look: Holidays!

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share some goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is holidays!  Just click on a photo to link over to the original post…
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Seven Suggestions for a Happier Holiday Season
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DIY: Aluminum Star Ornaments – Frugal & Festive!

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Magic Cookie Bar Recipe

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My Festive Cubicle!
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Fudge Recipe
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My Visit with Santa Claus
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Sugar Cookie Recipe
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My Christmas-y Cubicle
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Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

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Vintage Snapshot Ornaments
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I hope you have the happiest of holiday seasons!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Another Look: Odds & Ends

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is Odds & Ends!  Just click on the name of the post to link over…

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A Flower for Neva Lenora
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Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Roller Skating
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Mad for Movies!
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gypsyden3

Santa Ana Artists Village
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skyflyer

Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: The County Fair
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melodydimsum

Dim Sum – Yum!
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What are some of your favorite “Inner Child” activities? Please comment and share.

Warm regards,
Melody

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B is for Bailey – and Broccoli

broccoli_bouquet

My niece, Bailey, was born a year ago.  I was thrilled to welcome her to the world and to the family, and rushed to the hospital up in L.A. as soon as I got the call from my cousin/”brother” that she’d arrived. What a precious bit of baby goodness!

Naturally I took some treats to the baby and her parents, including the bouquet above, and I’m oddly proud to say that my gift received some rather strange looks from people as I walked through the halls of Cedar Sinai Hospital.  I guess it’s not every day that folks see a baby bouquet made from broccoli.  Yes, broccoli!

Bailey’s parents decided they’d give their baby a B first name and a D middle name, so though I knew the baby girl’s initials, I didn’t learn her full name until she was born.  How and why they started calling her Broccoli while she was in utero is a long story, but suffice to say that Bailey was known as Broccoli until she made her grand entrance into the world last June.

Given the unusual nickname for this baby girl, and that I had time to brainstorm before her birth, I decided to make a broccoli bouquet.  It came together beautifully, and as I said before, it was attention-getting!  I love the fact that though the broccoli isn’t particularly delicate the bouquet still looks girly, and the green and pink worked well together.

Here are the steps involved in assembling this bouquet:

I purchased a large bunch of broccoli with long stems, and decided on a square vase we had up in the cupboard as the base.  I just happened to have white acetate ribbon that was the same “height” as the vase, and wrapped it all the way around, sealing the two ends together at the back.  Next I selected a vibrant pink ribbon (narrower than the white ribbon) to add a pop of girly pink.

I incorporated Bailey’s initials into the bouquet by stamping BDL onto an oval cut from watercolor paper, and affixed small pink flower stickers in between the initials.  I accented the edge of the initialed oval with black metallic rub-ons, and attached the paper oval to the band of pink ribbon.

Next, I rubber banded the broccoli stems together in the shape I wanted and tucked the broccoli into the vase – with a bit of white tulle peeking out of the top on either side to soften the look a bit.

And finally, as the piece de resistance, I wired fresh water pearls I had on hand (that were pre-drilled with holes) to wooden toothpicks and inserted them into the broccoli tops.  This added another touch of femininity, and also broke up some of the solid darker green of the vegetable.  I used a very thin wire to attach the pearls to the tops of the wooden toothpicks.

What do you think?  Is it lovely, or am I a lunatic?  Or both?!  Personally, I think this is a great example of how you can use a personal detail like a nickname in a bouquet or gift, even if one of the materials is way out of the norm.  This bouquet was a lot of fun to create and I look forward to the coming years, when Bailey is old enough to hear this story and see the bouquet her creative/crazy Aunt Melody made for her!

Questions?  Comments?  I’d love to hear from you…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: For the Dearly Departed

marigold

Flowers, candles, food – 
Day of the Dead approaches.
Loving remembrance…


I recently snapped this photo of a marigold, and wanted to share it with you now because marigolds make me think of  Day of the Dead – Dia de los Muertos.  Celebrated on November 1st (children) and November 2nd (adults), Day of the Dead is a time to honor loved ones who have passed on.  It’s a way to celebrate them, and is an attempt to lure their spirits back to earth by offering them some of their earthly favorites.  Shrines are constructed, and the shrines often include candles, marigolds, the deceased’s favorite food, photographs, and other personal items.  I think it’s a lovely way to remember and honor those who have left us.

I created a shrine for my husband’s grandmother some years back, and wrote an accompanying article that was published in Somerset Memories magazine (then known as Legacy).  (Here’s a link to a scan of the article, in case you’re interested in reading it.)  Since the piece was published I’ve lost my beloved Aunt Bobby, my Grandma Neva, and my stepmother Dottie.  And though I’m not creating shrines for them this year, I am definitely honoring them and remembering them during this year’s Day of the Dead celebrations – as I do every day of the year…

Warm regards,
Melody

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