Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pine-guins, Red Birds, and Elf-cones. . . oh my!

Last holiday season Martha Stewart inspired me to construct Pinecone Elves, Pinecone Penguins, and Pincone Cardinals.  My favorite to construct are the Penguins - the final product was as cute as the Martha pictures.

Tip:  Don't buy pinecones, find a free natural source.  I had to buy pincones from Michaels, since Los Angeles lacks pine trees, which aren't the correct shape or smaller size.  Now I keep my eyes out for pine trees and stuff my pockets full whenever I find some.  (weird...I know...)  I even had my Mom sending my acorn heads from Northern California.

Get to it!
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Santa I want this...

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Saturday, December 4, 2010


Re-purposed wood frame mirror...

Supplies:  paint samples, modpodge, old mirror

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Craft_Gobble Gobble Pinecones

Gobble gobble...ccenterpieces, place cards, gift toppers....
Supplies: feathers, acorn heads, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, construction paper, felt, pine cones

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Craft_Spooky Yo-Yo Halloween Greeting Cards

I'm slightly obsessed with sewing yo-yos - a small circular piece of fabric sewn at the edges and gathered.  A popular style of quilting from 1920 to 1940, quilters liked because they are a portable project that doesn't require much time and utilizes scraps of fabric (very "green").  I attempted to sew yo-yos on my own, until my Mom bought me a yo-yo template like this from JoAnne's.  The yo-yo template is fabulous!  It's so fast and easy to sew one after the other.

BUT now I have hundreds of yo-yos I don't know what to do with (well maybe not hundreds).  I'm now always in search of yo-yo embellishment ideas.  For Halloween I crafted these themed greeting cards:

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

House Tour_MAK Architecture Tour_10.10.10

One of my favorite things to do is go on a house tour - more specifically historic house tours.  On what would have been Julius Shulman's 100th birthday,  the MAK Center hosted a tour of six private homes that were documented by Shulman at various points during his career.  Throughout Julius Shulman's 72 year career, he documented nearly 8,000 modern houses designed by Schindler, Neutra, Sorian, Koening, and lesser known architects.  The renewed interest in modern architecture is partially tied to the popularity in Shulman's iconic images.

Here are some of my favorite photographs from the day:

Lovell 'Health' House (Richard Neutra, 1928-29)
4616 Dundee Drive, Los Angeles
Photographed by Shulman 1950, 1967

Lovell 'Health' House (Richard Neutra, 1928-29)

Lovell 'Health' House (Richard Neutra, 1928-29)

Lovell 'Health' House (Richard Neutra, 1928-29)

Gantert House (Pierre Koening, 1981), 6431 La Punta Drive, Los Angeles
Photographed by Shulman 1986

Gantert House (Pierre Koening, 1981)

Gantert House (Pierre Koening, 1981)

Hillside House (Carl Louis Maston, 1962), 8707 St. Ives Drive, Los Angeles
Photographed by Shulman 1962

Shulman House (Raphael Soriano, 1947-50)
7875 Woodrow Wilson Drive, Los Angeles
Photographed by Shulman 1950

Shulman House (Raphael Soriano, 1947-50)
Shulman House (Raphael Soriano, 1947-50)

Gold House (R.M. Schindler, 1945)
3758 Reklaw Drive, Studio City
Photographed by Shulman 1947
Gold House (R.M. Schindler, 1945)

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The National Trust’s 16 to See

The November/December 2010 Issue of Preservation: The Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation profiled 16 National Trust Historic Sites.  I’ve only been to 2 out of the 16!

1.       1.  Acoma Sky City, Acoma, N.M. (1150 A.D.)
2.       2.  Drayton Hall, Charleston, S.C.  (1742)
3.       3.  African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School, Boston, Ma (1806, 1834)
4.       4.  Oatlands, Leesburg, Va.  (c. 1809)
5.       5.  Shadows-on-the-Teche , New Iberia, La. (1834)
6.       6.  Lower East Side Tenement Museum, New York City, N.Y. (1863)
7.       7.  Villa Fnale, San Antonio, Tx. (1876)
8.       8.  Brucemore, Cedar Rapids, Ia. (1886)
9.       9.  Hotel de Paris, Georgetown, Co. (c. 1890)
10.    10.  Chesterwood, Stockbridge, Ma. (1900)
11.    11.  Frederick C. Robie House, Chicago, Il. (1910)
12.    12.  Kykuit, Tarrytown, N.Y. (1913)
13.    13.  Woodrow Wilson House, Washington, D.C. (1915)
14.    14.  Filoli, Woodside, Ca. (1917)
15.    15.  Philip Johnson Glass House, New Canaan, Conn. (1949)
16.    16.  Farnsworth House, Plano, Ill. (1951)
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Cut and Sew Apron

I love aprons.  When I bake I think slipping on an apron adds an extra special ingredient to any recipe.  I made this John Deere apron for a cupcake themed birthday present.  The entire apron pattern purchased at JoAnne's, pre-printed, and only rquired cutting and sewing for assembly.  I added a little extra dazzle with rhinestones randomly bedezzaled and a piece of lace sewn at the bottom.  And why did I choose a John Deere apron?  Well in college we both took a tractor driving class together at UC Davis and yes we actually drove a tractor and learned how to change a tractor driver.  A significant skill to know in the wilds of Los Angeles. 
The apron started with this...
No pattern needed!  Just cut and sew!  And yes, it was that easy!
. . . .and ended as this!
 I completed the birthday gift with the addition of fun cupcake liners, sprinkles, and a cupcake recipe book.  I highly recommend Karen Tack and Alan Richardson's whimsical cupcake recipe books, Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make and What's New, Cupcake?: Ingeniously Simple Designs for Every OccasionThe photographs are wonderful and the ideas so creative.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


In honor of Julius Shulman's 100th birthday on 10/10/10, I attended the "Image.Architecture.Now" Symposium hosted by the Julius Shulman Institute (School of Architecture, Woodbury University) over the weekend.  Two panels of architects and photographers discussed their work and musings on photography and architecture.  The photographers on the panel - Livia Corona, Sze Tsung Leong, and Iwan Baan - are exceptional.  Instead of static, boring photographs of buildings, the photographers focus on the implications architecture has on society both the beautiful and the ugly. Here is a taste of their talent:

From "Two Million Homes for Mexico," Livia Corona

From "Two Million Homes for Mexico," Livia Corona
 "When driving through these neighborhoods, one sees endless rows of 100 to 200 square foot homes where constructions have reduced what is actual community building to the mere construction of housing. This type of urbanization prototype, now prevalent in Mexico, marks a profound change in the shaping of our experience as citizens of a broader world. In my photographs I am particularly interested in the effects of these neighborhoods as cultural backdrop, and their role in forming the perspective of the younger generations who live in these neighborhoods through key formative years. ” - Livia Corona
Daochuan Long, Nan Shi, Huangpu District, Shanghai, 2004 C-Print © Sze Tsung Leong,
Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery
China Central Television Headquarters by Ole Scheeren and Rem Koolhaas, Iwan Baan

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Sunday, October 10, 2010


I'm loving these Abigail Ahern lamps.  The pelican, bulldog, greyhound, and poodle lamps are a modern, whimsical twist on vintage lighting.  The lamps are made in England and the lamp shades are made in Paris.  It's possible to customize the lamp - pick a lamp base and then the desired shade.  Wish I could snap up one now!
Atelier Abigail Ahern
Abigail Ahern Lamps
Find it here:
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Thursday, October 7, 2010


I am a self confessed master piddler (the word my Mom always called me growing up). I can fill may day doing a little a bit of everything, but at the days end there will only be half-finished projects scattered about. My favorite things include crafts, baking, flipping through magazines, roaming flea markets and garage sales, traveling, and anything with a patina. Usually I try to make do with what I have and re-purpose it to make something beautiful.

So, I've decided to change the name and content of my blog to share how I piddle about. The content of my blog will cover things I love, things I glean inspiration from, and things I make. While reading French Women for all Seasons by Mireille Guiliano, I stumbled upon the French word Bricolage in the vocabulary index. Immediately after reading her beautiful definition I had an "ah ha" moment. Bricolage defined me. Mireille explains, "French women (and men) have made an art of making do with what's at hand, whether with one's clothes or what's in season at the market, or available in a storeroom or closet...I love this word, bricolage, which comes from the verb bricoler, to tinker about, mostly around the house...It has a special cultural meaning in that it celebrates a person, un bricoleur (masculine) or une bricoleuse (feminine), who is creative and imaginative and who puts things together in fresh and original ways." (pp. 337-338)  And that's just me...I love tinkering around the house making use of whatever I have laying about.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Frosting Win!

There's always an excuse to make cupcakes! For the final Lakers/Celtics basketball game I baked themed cupcakes. Vanilla cupcakes with a small chocolate chip cookie and vanilla frosting. I used a boxed cake mix, BUT always make homemade icing! Using homemade frosting definitely adds an extra special touch (canned grocery store frosting is never good)!



Easy-Peasy Vanilla Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 to 8 cups confectioners sugar
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ta Da!

For Christmas my Mom gave me a sewing calendar. I haven't made any of the patterns yet...bad I know...since it's almost July! So I decided I needed to catch up and busy my hands! The first project I took on was the "Tea Towel Apron."

The directions seemed pretty simple for my first project. All I needed was a tea towel and some ribbon. I bought this tea towel at the Dollar Store - I thought it held a lot of potential with the upcoming 4th of July Holiday coming up!

Ta da! The finished product! Not too shabby! I feel like it looks like a square...maybe it needs more embellishment....more pizazz...more glitter! Not too bad for my first sewing calendar project...

On a side note, I started volunteering today at the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum. To break up the monotony of my job searching days, I decided to give up some of my time to non-profit organizations. The Santa Monica Historical Society is preparing to move from their current location, a quaint bungalow on Euclid Street, to the modern Santa Monica Library at 6th Street and Santa Monica. It's such an exciting move for the Historical Society, since they will have new updated exhibits, more space, an environmentally sound environment, and a greater public presence. What did I do my first day? I helped catalogue their collection and saw some amazing pieces of Santa Monica history. I can't wait to go back again!
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Feels like Summer!

Finally it feels like summer! And what better way to celebrate summer than go to the Hollywood Bowl. It's seriously my favorite place in L.A. My three friends and I went to the 32nd Annual Playboy Jazz Festival on Saturday afternoon and night. I bought us discount tickets at Goldstar - a website dedicated to discount event tickets. I've purchased a lot of tickets to different events - plays, sporting events, movies, concerts - and am always happy with the seats and performances!

We had a glorious potluck picnic inside the Bowl including an assortment of veggies and chips with dip, seasoned pepitas, sandwiches with grilled veggies and turkey, and oatmeal date nut cookies. Oh, and of course I forgot the wine and specialty cocktail! ;o)

Oatmeal Date Nut Cookies


1/2 pound (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups old fashioned oats uncooked
1-1/2 cup chopped dates (the more dates the merrier!)
1 cup chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 350°F.

In large bowl, beat together margarine and sugars with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add to margarine mixture; mix well. Stir in oats, dates, and walnuts; mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

These Oatmeal Date Nut Cookies are my favorite and always a crowd pleaser!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where were you in '62?

Wednesday night I saw American Graffiti (1973) at the Orpheum Theater in Downtown Los Angeles as part of the Los Angeles Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats film series held in historic theaters! The movie and the venue was amazing! I wish I lived during the 60s - love the music and the clothes! And what made it more amazing was the venue - the Orpheum Theater (826 S. Broadway) - the French themed theater opened in 1926 and was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh. Fortunately the theater underwent a rehabilitation in 2001 - thank you to the owner Steve Needleman for saving this theater!

Circa 1926, Courtesy of LAPL

Current, Courtesy of

First, we kicked off the night with Happy Hour at Yxta, a hidden downtown gem. The margaritas and the tacos de pollo got a huge thumbs up! The margaritas were very fresh and not too sweet. The tacos de pollo had a yummy chicken filling nicely marinated with onions and homemade corn tortillas. I would definitely go back again!

The sponsor of the night Hugh Hefner who was even in the audience with his entourage! Providing additional entertainment. Before the movie started two of the main actresses from the film, Cindy Williams (aka Laverne) and Candy Clark, introduced the film.

There are still tickets available for the two last movies: Wild Flower and Peter Pan. AND if you're already not a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy yet than join here!

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ridiculously Delicious Rhubarb Blueberry Crisp

I recently became obsessed with rhubarb! I just love the way the word sounds - rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. Never in my thirty years have I ever tried this odd fruit, so I became obsessed finding where to buy it and finding the perfect recipe. I had no idea what to expect! So, I bought some rhubarb at my local farmer's market and adapted a recipe I found on

How to choose rhubarb: Look for brightly hued (reddish) stalks that are firm and crisp. Often rhubarb is sold with its leaves, but only the stalks are edible. Just think about it like choosing some good fresh celery, except it's red.

Rhubarb Blueberry Crisp Recipe


Crumb Mixture
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 1 small container blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon

Sugar Mixture

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
In mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, butter and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. Press half of the crumb mixture into a buttered 9-inch baking dish. Top with sliced rhubarb and blueberries; squeeze lemon over fresh fruit.

In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Cook together until clear, then pour over rhubarb and blueberries. Top with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.

Serve warm over vanilla ice cream and get ready to enjoy a ridiculously delicious crisp! Bon Appetit!

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