Monthly Archives: November 2013

10 Things

Presley nappingHere are ten things I’m thinking about this morning before I get to work:

1. I need to be a better weekly housekeeper.

2. I should have finished cleaning out the spare room last week.

3. I can’t believe I got all of the grocery shopping done in one shot (okay, two shots if you count the fact that I had Naoto go to Jewel to grab some things on sale and our favorite ciabatta for the stuffing.) It will be a miracle if we really have everything we need for tomorrow’s dinner.

4. I’m more than excited to make this again this year. I’ve been craving it since September!

5. We got another new rug this week and I’m anxious to see how it fits…buying stuff for our home always feels so risky!

6. I’m meeting one of my pen pals in person on Friday. We’re going to Pieritz together.

7. We are making roasted cauliflower instead of green bean casserole tomorrow, but now I’m worried our meal might be too monochromatic.

8. Every weekend in December is already booked. I’m not used to being this social.

9. I’m excited to do my Christmas cards this year. Now that I’ve given up on making them myself, I can focus on writing in them and mail art.

10. I need to come up with a creative placecard idea for tomorrow…even though there are only four of us…it’s all about tradition.

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Show of Hands Chicago

show of hands purchasesOn Saturday, Karen and I braved the cold, cold wind and headed to Ravenswood for Show of Hands Chicago. Karen has never been to Renegade and we had plans to go this summer, except my trip to Japan got in the way. When I heard about Show of Hands, I knew it would be a good alternative.

First the space, the Ravenswood Event Center is spacious, interesting and amazing. The architecture and elements are gorgeous and the space holds old cars and crazy-awesome old neon signs. I feel like Naoto would have been entertained by the cars and signs if he had joined us. The Event Center is right off of the brown line, but we drove and parking was plentiful (for the city)…we only had to walk about two blocks from the car.

Second, Show of Hands was well-organized. There was a coat check and a lovely printed program. Everything was marked clearly as if the signs were ushering us into the event center and into the event room. The sellers were close enough to keep the flow going but there was room to breathe, to roam around and space to browse in each booth. (There is nothing worse than getting shoved out of a booth because people are crushing in to see.)

Best of all, it was a well-curated show. The crafters/designers/makers/sellers were all amazing. I could have bought something at every booth. And today I’m kind of kicking myself for not buying a few things (a woven clutch and some tangerine lavender lotion to name two…) It was the perfect size, too. Usually by the end of Renegade, I am DONE looking at things, chatting with sellers and pretending to be interested in the five hundredth ironic t-shirt. At Show of Hands, I never felt this way. It was the perfect variety of things and the perfect amount of shopping.

I can’t show you all of my purchases because I managed to pick up a few gifts. But the gifts for myself are pictured above.

The “Thank You For Being A Friend” postcards are from Zerobird. There are five in the set with the words to the Golden Girls theme song. They also had Three’s Company and Laverne & Shirley sets…obviously, Zerobird has great taste in television.

The vintage stamps and “I must decline for secret reasons” calling cards are from 16 Sparrows/Letter Writers Alliance. There are four versions of those calling cards…perfect for those of us who are a little bit introverted.

The typewriter postcards and the K stationery are from A Favorite Design. I couldn’t resist another monogrammed card and those typewriter cards are going above my desk.

Sidenote: I wish I had taken pictures of our day in action. I feel like I always say this, but I’m not a “blogger”, I’m a person with a blog, so I find myself getting caught up in the moment and enjoying seeing things in person sometimes rather than from behind the camera or my phone. There are some things I go into planning to write about it, and other things I don’t. But Show of Hands was just too good. I hope it’s an annual thing.

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Japanese Gummy Cheeseburger

Japanese gummy hamburger packageWhen Hisae sent me this package of Japanese candy, I had no idea that it was so involved. I gathered from the packaging that it was a candy hamburger, so I was expecting something like this. Japanese gummy hamburger componentsI did not, however, expect the make-your-own cheeseburger that I found inside. There was a plastic tray of buns, a package of gummy burger patties, lettuce and cheese and a little silver package of ketchup (actually strawberry flavored gel). Ooooh, fun! (Clearly I’m a child.)Japanese gummy hamburgerJapanese gummy hamburger with ketchupJapanese complete gummy hamburgerSo I cracked apart the bun and added a burger, lettuce and cheese and squeezed on a little bit of ketchup. Japanese gummy hamburgerI was expecting the little burger to be all whimsey and no taste, but it was delicious! The burger, cheese and lettuce all had different flavors (cola, pineapple and green apple, respectively) and the strawberry gel added some extra sweetness. The bun was flavorless and wafer-like, but the crunch was a nice touch. Japanese gummy hamburger

Here’s a little video someone made of putting it all together. (Please ignore the fact that the cheese should go on the burger, not on the lettuce…details.)

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Japan Does It Better 3: Pocket Tissue Advertising

pocket tissue holderOkay, it isn’t necessarily that the pocket tissues are better…actually they are pretty scratchy. But if you go to any train station in Tokyo, someone is there ready to hand you a little pack of pocket tissues. Now, they aren’t handing you tissues out of the goodness of their hearts. The tissues are a form of advertising for local businesses. (The tissues above are from a drug store chain and a gym.)

Normally, I’m not a fan of walk-by advertising. Sometimes in Chicago, restaurants hand out menus on the street. Menus are not useful (unless I’m sitting in the restaurant ready to order), but tissues are. We accepted the tissues each time and used them to wipe the sweat off our brows (It was so hot during our stay!) or to blow our noses or to dry our hands (some washrooms didn’t have air dryers or paper towels).

A few years ago, Naoto went to Japan without me and came home with the Hello Kitty tissue holder pictured above. The Japanese tissues fit perfectly inside, so I have a little collection of refills to use this winter. Nothing makes me feel grown up like being able to find a nice clean tissue in my purse when I need one (even if it’s coming out of a Hello Kitty tissue holder!)

Something as simple as useful advertising…Japan Does It Better! (For more JDIB posts, click here!)

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Vintage Ephemera Thanksgiving Invitations

DSC_0008I am happy to report that my Thanksgiving invitations are done and in the mail! Seriously, where is this month going? At one point I felt crazy for starting to think about these invites so early, then they barely made it into the mail in time.vintage ephemera thanksgiving invitationThey aren’t super complicated, but I had a lot of fun putting the mini collages together. Everything on the invite is vintage except the little strip of washi. I needed another metallic element to complement the gold seal. Once I saw the old BINGO cards in my stash, I knew I wanted them to be the base. I love the yellowed paper and the graphic numbers as a background. And of course I had to use my typewriter since tags don’t feed into my (non-existent) printer. I typed out my message and played around with the placement of the vintage postage stamps and gold seals (from a Saturday Morning Vintage Thanksgiving paper pack and fall ephemera bundle) . I pasted everything on with my favorite glue stick because, as I learned at the Halloween Mail Art Workshop, glue sticks work best with delicate vintage papers. The invitation above is the one I sent my parents. The maroon stamp on the bottom (with the gold star) is in honor of railroad workers. My maternal grandpa worked on the railroads, so I think my mom will appreciate that little detail. vintage ephemera thanksgiving invitationsI had the fig-colored envelopes in A2, which was 1/8 inch too small…so I had to go out and buy some roomy A6 fig envelopes. I made another collage on the front of the envelope with papers from from my ephemera packs (the leaf is a playing card!), some MT washi tape, an old gold border label and a new sticker (Paper Source). vintage ephemera thanksgiving invitationI lined my envelopes with marbled paper from Blick. I love this paper. It had a gorgeous mix of maroons, greens, golds and silvers…so dreamy. (And it was in my paper stash ready to be spent out!)

So there they are…done for another year. Now it’s time to work on ideas for the table and…clean!! vintage ephemera thanksgiving invitationsFor more Thanksgiving shenanigans, go here.

Have a good weekend! I’ll be busy today and tonight cramming for book group! The Sea-Wolf here I come!

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Easy Thanksgiving Invitations

easy thanksgiving invitationsI’m still finishing the real Thanksgiving invitations. I had to go out and buy a bigger envelope size (defeating the purpose of using up my stash, but I’m really excited about how the invitations turned out so I needed the just right envelope color!)

When I was playing around with ideas for Thanksgiving invitations (before rediscovering my stash of vintage ephemera) I came up with these as an option. We don’t have a home printer. (Ours broke over a year ago, and I after sifting through thousands of online reviews, I couldn’t make a decision. At this point, I question whether we really need one.) So I decided that my typewriter would be my printing method. I found these leftover paper leaves in my fall decorations bin. The leaves come in a variety of colors, but the ones I chose are shimmery gold. It’s not a perfect paper for the typewriter, especially since my new ribbon is pretty inky, but they worked out okay as long as I didn’t smear the ink with my fingers. The oval-shaped leaf was easy to work with but the “oak” leaf gave me problems because all of its little bumpy edges kept getting stuck as I typed each line…it’s fine though…the little tears just look like texture.

Once I was done typing, I pasted the leaves onto some shimmery antique gold cards and topped them off with a little piece of washi tape. I’m going to put them in some leftover fig envelopes (from Thanksgivings past) and send them to my brother and sister and their families. They don’t join us for Thanksgiving, but it’s always nice to be invited, right?

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A Cocktail for 11/12/13

apple old fashionedsHappy 11/12/13 (though, if you’re living outside the US, you probably don’t write it that way)!

In honor of this once in a century occasion, I will be mixing up one of Kathy’s Apple Old Fashioneds. Naoto and I tested these out last week (though we used a 1:1 ratio of apple whiskey and rye because we had an early morning the next day!) and I highly recommend this twist on my favorite cocktail. The Leopold Bros Apple Whiskey is a nice fall treat if your home bar is looking for something different. I think Kathy’s recipe balances out any extra sweetness in the apple whiskey, but if you like your drinks on the sweeter side, you could go straight apple whiskey and omit the rye.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate 11/12/13?


Veterans Day

Honor Flight Chicago Oct 2, 2013Happy Veterans Day!

A special thanks to John & Chester (pictured above) and all of the veterans in my family–dad, grandpa, uncle, cousins–who have served.

Photo from the Honor Flight Chicago website from our October 2, 2013 flight.

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Vintage Paper Hoarder

vintage Thanksgiving papers from Saturday Morning VintageI am working on my Thanksgiving invitations today. I have a plan and it involves using up some of my vintage paper collection. I have a giant bin of ephemera that I’ve collected over time. Many things were purchased from Saturday Morning Vintage (Xenia’s shop is so good and most of what is shown above is from a Thanksgiving paper pack that I bought this year.) and from flea markets and thrift shops. Few things in life make me happier than discovering an old box of labels or flashcards at the thrift store.

As I was sifting through my ephemera stash, I was thinking about my 2013 goal to spend out. While I’ve done a very good job wearing out my clothes, using up my stationery and scrapbook supplies, eating my Japanese snacks and hanging up my artwork, I’ve been hesitant to use up the vintage stuff…the stuff that I can’t replace quite as easily… But it’s better to let these papers live on in another form (as mail art or an invitation) than to languish in a bin, right? So I spent part of my afternoon sorting through things and pulling out pieces for certain projects (Thanksgiving and Christmas related right now) and sorting the rest by color or style. I am now prepared to use up and spend out some of my collection. I’m moving a little bit of it onto my desk so it’s handy for mail art and leaving the rest in the bin ready for the next project.

Hopefully, I can finish up the invitations this weekend and show them to you next week, once they’ve arrived at their destinations. In the meantime, have a good weekend!

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Blush & Gold Gift

birthday gift packagingMy mom’s birthday was in October. We got her a gift card (booooring!) and I picked up a pretty handkerchief for her in Japan. Such a tiny gift deserved a pretty package, so I whipped up a little decorated paper bag for her present. I love packaging things for my mom because she takes time to notice the little details. It’s a fun way to celebrate the special mom that she is. packaging supplies, Rifle labels, MT washi tapeI started with a little flat kraft bag and layered on anything blush and gold from my craft cupboard (aka the hardware cabinet TV stand–those drawers are awfully handy!). I always have a variety of supplies on hand for mail art, scrapbooking and other projects, so once I collected everything I needed, putting the gift bag together only took about five minutes. It was a happy accident that the pink label fit perfectly on the doily…once that happened, I cruised along layering each piece. I cheered when I discovered that my favorite glue pen was strong enough to hold the tiny gold sequins. (I see more sequins in my future.) I finished off the gift with a little piece of washi tape on the back. Quick and simple. Now if only I could get my act together to fancy up the pile of Christmas gifts…

Supplies used: kraft bags, doilies, peach & gold washi tape, vintage sequins, Rifle labels (these are my favorites!), kraft flags, Quickie glue pen, Souffle pen (not shown), flair button (not shown in supply picture, but shown on package picture). 

P.S. Thanks, Mary, for inviting me to the Celebration Link-Up!

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