11–20 of 23 entries from the month of: February 2009

Kitchen Love

February 13th

PB heart cookie

PB Heart Cookies

Heart cookie

Peanut butter cookie hearts

Stack of PB heart cookies

Some peanut butter cookie love for Rex. He’s my sweet Valentine this year. Thankfully his wife doesn’t mind. He always brings me something sweet for the holiday — each of which is even more wonderful since he beat cancer. This year? A giraffe Beanie Baby with red hearts on it. He was so happy to give it to me today at the gym. Little guy watched over me as I treadmilled it.

Scenes from a Valentine's kitchen

Heart cupcakes for delivery

Ready for a sprinkle

And while the oven was on, might as well feed the coworkers, bagel boys and bowling team too.

Happy Valentine’s weekend, friends!


Posted in
Celebrate!, Domestic Art, Journal, Kitchen Talk
Comments (9)

Que Milagro!

February 12th

Tin milagros

Remember when Finny and I took our trip to Santa Fe and fell head over feet for the artist galleries? One of my favorite was filled with Mexican curios — including several walls of milagros. How I wish I’d pulled out my credit card and purchased a handful of these! These “miracles” are made of a variety of types of metal and are placed with candles at offerings for specific prayers. For example, having hip pain? Lost your cow? Include a leg or cattle milagro with your prayer candle.  I saw a few of these when I lived in Mexico, but more so when visiting Guadalajara with Alma where we visited a huge cathedral. Milagros intrigue me.

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On one hand, my faith says don’t worship false idols; I’m not putting my beliefs in the actual object. On the other, I think it is a fascinating form of folk art. When I found a lot of them for sale on Etsy via Supply Pusher, I jumped. Initially I was going to make small zippered pouches with a stamped prayer and a milagro. Alas, the sewing time and machinery this week haven’t worked in my favor. Instead, I pulled out some card stock and whipped up some written prayers of my own to be included in a handful of cards.

Milagro Valentines

I think Frida would approve.


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Posted in
Celebrate!, Domestic Art, handmade, June Cleaver
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Talk is Cheap

February 11th

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I haven’t watched much TV this week, but the little I’ve caught has been littered with horrific commercials trying to convince the men of America that all women want is a tacky diamond heart necklace. If there is one thing I can stand by this Valentine’s Day it is that I do not want diamonds. (Not that this is really an issue; just making a point.) Roses and chocolate don’t do it for me either.

Local wildflowers, not shipped in from Ecuador where children work in flower factories removing thorns — are always sweet.

As for jewelry, I love it and wear it daily.  I even wear earrings and a bracelet to the gym most days. Bling makes me feel girly and pretty; I don’t like taking it off to go to bed, but I do so grudgingly.  Yet my idea of bling typically doesn’t sparkle and certainly doesn’t come from Jared.  I have given away my silver Tiffany jewelry for just that reason.  Tastes change with time,  and these days what I wear most comes with a story. My favorite necklace came from Cameroon. My favorite earrings I bought at a Balinese nonprofit event benefiting female aritisans. My favorite bracelets came from Namibia and from my grandmother. My grannie’s bracelet is sterling silver with chunks of turquoise, handmade by a Native American craftsman my grandfather has been purchasing jewelry from for 40 years. This piece they bought on Route 66 on their way to Arizona. See? Tell me that isn’t an awesome story.

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Don’t get me wrong; I’m not immune to the “wants.” There are a pair of earrings at Tiffany right now that I have my eye on, in part because they aren’t something I imagine I’d see regularly on others.  Yeah. I’m fickle. I know.

As for the chocolate, I’d rather have a container of medjool dates and a chunk of sharp cheese. My mother? She’d love the chocolate. And the roses. And the diamonds. Women vary but being thoughtful is universally charming.

So, while I am sending Valentine’s cards as a way to remind my friends and family how much I love them, I’m not buying into the rest of the holiday hype. There is nothing more fantastically frugal than love. Local, sustainable, handmade — they make me a happy hippie.

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Posted in
Celebrate!, Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, Journal
Comments (15)

Film Rouge

February 10th

Movie night is something special at my house because I don’t venture into the rental world very often. Dim the lights, make a big batch of healthy kettle corn (popcorn*+ Splenda + cinnamon + dash of cayenne), grab some sodas and a pack of Red Vines to use as straws and cuddle up for a great flick. Valentine’s day is a great excuse to make the extra effort, especially considering this movie night might set you back $5 but certainly shows thought. (Which as you  know, goes much farther than bling to earn bonus points in my book.)

Great Valentine’s Movies:

Love Actually

The African Queen

Roman Holiday


Like Water for Chocolate

Pretty Woman

(You can find the top 100 romantic movies of all time here.)

And to add the obvious pun: Lights! Camera! Action!


* I don’t mind popcorn in a movie setting — my greatest pet peeve–  when my own crunching cancels out the annoying crunching of others.

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Posted in
Celebrate!, Journal, Media
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Baked Love

February 9th

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Take one red velvet cake (For Arizona folk, mixes are on sale for $.88 at Fry’s this week.)

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Add a recycled-tin foil heart stencil

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Dust generously with powdered sugar

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And voila! Valentine’s cake that says I love you in a fabulously frugal way.

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This is the first installment of a Valentine’s series this week — fabulously frugal ways to celebrate the holiday in style and with love, without worrying about balancing your checkbook in the process. I am pretty sure with the eggs, oil and sour cream I added to the mix (for moisture), and the electricity it took to bake, plus the powdered sugar, this baby cost about $3. Giddyup.

How cute would these be as cupcakes? With red cupcake liners! I think I know what’s next.


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Posted in
Celebrate!, Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk
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Don’t Cry for Me, Arizona!

February 8th

So, I made lemonade out of lemons and managed to accomplish a ridiculous amount of tasks without my sewing machine to keep me company. Also, after several generous offers for loaned machines (thanks, friends!), I’m picking up a loaner tonight. In the meantime…

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

Remember this little plot I cleared and bordered last weekend?

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted 2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

I stopped by Starbucks to pick up some warm grounds,

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

Pulled out my basic tools,

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

Swung through the local nursery,

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

And voila! Five tomato plants, three pepper plants and a dash of marigolds to keep away the bugs.

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

Can you see the cute little copper signs in front of the plants? They were a birthday gift from my friend Elaina. With a bit of grease pencil calligraphy, they are currently labeling this sweet little plot.

It rained this morning as though Mother Nature was welcoming these new babies with open arms. If they are smart, they’ll soak up as much of the moisture and pleasant weather as they can. This plot is such a small accomplishment, and yet I’ve been talking, wishing and hoping for a vegetable garden for so long. I am certainly happy I finally got off my booty and made it happen.

Grow little plants, grow!


Posted in
Earth Mama, Goals, Happy Hippie, Journal
Comments (21)

Mother @($(#(@!!

February 7th

My sewing machine broke this morning. It will cost a minimum of $60 to fix and take two weeks to be returned.

My Valentine’s project? Scrapped. I am not feeling the love.


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February 6th

Taxi tote for MOI!

So happy with my new bag

This beauty is all for me.  Another taxi tote, with near-perfect bias tape. I found this fabric at JoAnn’s a couple weeks ago and splurged on 2 yards. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but this worked like magic.  Of course I matched my outfit to it today and am loving carrying my own bag!

Newspaper taxi tote for Jen

Newspaper Taxi

Also whipped up this last one — last one for a while, promise! — for a girlfriend who requested a red/white/and black tote. I love how the red pops.

I started another sewing project last night to realize I was 1.5 yards short of fabric. Darn it! That silly math trips me up from time to time. Mrs. Theile, my high school math teacher, was right. I should have paid more attention.

Twist my arm, I guess I have to go back to the craft store…

Happy Friday!


Posted in
Domestic Art, handmade, Happy Hippie, Journal
Comments (17)

Frida Hearts Diego

February 5th

February Cookin' and Crafts

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and while many of you may roll your eyes at yet another meaningless Halmark holiday, I’m in the other camp — Camp Love. Valentine’s Day provides yet another chance to make and send great cards, let those you love read/hear/feel it, etc.  Not surprisingly, I have been known to go a wee bit love-y crazy for my friends and family.

This year, I’m thinking homemade, handmade and fantastically frugal. I’ve ordered a couple of used books online, have a stack of red sweets for my mama, recently practiced a new red velvet recipe, and have plans of sewing up some corazon-inspired cards this weekend. My Valentine’s day is going Mexican this year, with an emphasis on Frida, bold colors y mucho carino.

What are you working on for your sweetheart?

Leave a comment, or better yet a link with your project, and I’ll randomly select someone for one of my que Viva Amor! Valentine’s sewing projects.


Posted in
Celebrate!, Domestic Art, Journal
Comments (19)

The Construction of a Meal

February 5th

To be: Green Chile Meatloaf

To be: green chili meatloaf — with cilantro from the garden

To be: Sweet Potato Fries

To be: spicy sweet potato fries

To be: Roast Broccoli

To be: roast broccoli

To Be: Red Velvet Cupcakes

To be: red velvet cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes Red Velvet Red Velvet Cupcakes To be: Cream Cheese Frosting

To be: cream cheese frosting

Dinner: 2-2-09

This post also could be titled: Why I’ve been enjoying meatloaf leftovers for the week. If you are looking for a kick-ass, tried and true meatloaf recipe, my mom’s spicy Mexican Meatloaf is really, really good. Have you ever noticed meatloaf is like gumbo — it tastes incredibly better as leftovers?


Posted in
Domestic Art, Journal, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk
Comments (9)