Saturday, January 12, 2013

Let's Ketchup

This post doesn't actually contain any ketchup. Just so you know.

What it does contain is just a few photos from the past few weeks, to prove that I didn't totally give up on making things while I was finally starting to pull away from the puke train. I actually have several new embroideries and illustrations to show  you as well, but pregnancy brain has kept me from getting back into the swing of photographing things as I complete them.

And don't even try to act like pregnancy brain isn't a real "thing". Come hang out with me. I'm living proof. A couple of days ago, I sat in my parents driveway for FIVE MINUTES trying to remember how to turn the lights off on my Jeep. It's true. Not even lying.

So here are just a few of the things we've made, seen, found and experienced over the past few weeks, in no specific order. Because I'm too tired to try and arrange them in chronological order. Or, my brain doesn't work correctly, right now. Or, all I can think about is a double cheeseburger with a side of bison burger and elk snacky sticks.Yeah, it's probably that one. Can you tell I am having unreasonable meat cravings?

First up, it's The Cupcake Kid's first gingerbread house! She was so excited to put it together. All through the month she kept telling me how much she "love dat gingerbwead house!"

This was the first year that The Cupcake Kid really understood and "got into" Christmas. She was so excited that we even put our Christmas tree up a day or two before Thanksgiving. For reals. It's a tiny tree, decorated mostly by vintage and handmade ornaments. I forgot to take pictures(of course), but this year we made painted cinnamon salt dough and markered cardboard cut out ornies. If you look closely, you'll also notice lovely crayon markings on my antique table...

I didn't have a lot of time to make Christmas presents this year, but I did manage to fit in an acrylic cowboy painting for my brother in law(I watered the paints down so the grain of the wood would show through. The wood is a scrap from Mr. Cupcakes' man cave).

I also made this painting, in similar fashion, for one of my brothers. The image is inspired by a well known photograph of the doe eyed singer Lana del Ray. Though I was simply translating someone else's work into a new medium, I spent a lot of anxiety on this little painting. It's hard for me to create fan art when I am not actually a fan of the person I'm drawing or painting. I suppose I could have made the job easier on myself had I simply downloaded the photo and traced it to my board, but I'm a pregnant dummy and decided to do it free hand. Thankfully, my brother was pleased with it. And, just to clarify, I don't consider myself a fan simply because I don't know anything about the girl, other than that she's pretty. I have nothing against her, I just don't know anything about her. I've not really checked out her music yet. It's on my "to do" list though...

I finally began to overcome the constant puking just in time to make a return to light cooking and baking for Christmas. This no bake chocolate peanut butter banana pie was one of my favorite new recipes that I tried.

What you cannot see, is the layer of sliced bananas slathered in melted chocolate that makes up the bottom layer of the pie. Super super yummy!

 For the grandmas Christmas presents, I made custom beaded bracelets, and embroideries based on drawings  made by The Cupcake Kid. The embroideries were undoubtedly my favorites of the gifts I made this year. I think the grandmas are going to treasure them forever. The Kid thought it was pretty cool to see her drawings turned into embroideries, but I think she'll find them most special when she's grown up.

I was lucky enough to receive a gigantic stash of homemade jams, jellies and pickled squash from my grandma this year, and in the spirit of the season, I decided(ok, FORCED myself) to share a few of the jars with The Husband's father. But how to present them? I came up with the idea of a rugged little crate, which The Husband cut and assembled from some tree trunk bits he has hanging out in his man cave. I'm thinking next year, we'll make some jams, jellies and sauces ourselves(or maybe even baked goods) and make more of these crates to make personalized gifts for some of the people in our lives that we know and love.

The best thing about glass canning jars? They double as drinking glasses when you've eaten all of their yummy contents. Well, they do at our house anyway...

 The paper "filling" in the box is comprised of simple brown paper lunch bags, torn into shreds.

 Recently, I've begun cleaning and sorting some of the many jars of buttons I've accumulated over the past few months. With a new baby coming, it's become imperative that I get my thousands of choking hazards all sorted and securely stored before the potential choker arrives. You cannot tell from this photo, as it only displays the contents of one jar, but I'm pretty sure I've got a bazillion and one buttons. Thank goodness I have a few months to get them squared away. Although, I'm starting to feel like I might need a few years...Let's just admit it. I may have an obsession...

I really wanted to start a Christmas tradition this(past) year, since our little family didn't really have one yet. I settled on an Advent calendar, because getting a little gift all through December sounded like a lot of fun. I had all these creative plans for a neat, heirloom calendar that could be used year after year by The Kid and the new baby...And then I got sick. And totally forgot. But remembered, suddenly, a few days before it was to begin. My poor kid ended up with brown paper lunch sacks tied to the railing of our staircase with vintage, red lacy seam binding.

You know what though? She totally didn't care. The exciting part was the stuff inside the sacks-little toys and colorful knee socks and Christmas candies. She could have cared less how they were packaged. I vow to do better next year though. Which, you know, is a goal that won't be difficult to achieve. How hard could it be to trump brown paper lunch bags?!

I had a birthday, somewhere back there, a few months ago. My mama made me marranitos and pumpkin empanadas, because she knows that I love them and was craving them. I only ate one of each, since I was still in puke mode, but The Kid had NO PROBLEM whatsoever consuming my share as well as hers.

One of our favorite pastimes is to walk along the river searching for treasures and listening for trains as they come barreling down the tracks towards the bridge over the river. On one of the few trips we were able to make to the river(I'm not a fan of puking in public, even if the puking occurs in a naturey type setting), we encountered several neat little treasures to take home and add to our collection.

These dried water lily seed pods would look so neat wound up in a wreath with pine cones and sisal, or placed inside a big glass vase of homemade potpourri.We also debated spray painting them silver or gold for use in holiday decor, but I'm not really big on spray paint or holiday decor either one at this point, so I'll find a use for them that better suits my taste. If you'd like to see a photo of what the pods look like before they dry out and fall to the water, click here. I don't know what it is, exactly, about these pods that I find so appealing, but I just cannot get enough of them. They remind me of spaceships and honeycombs and evil plants that speak and eat people, all wrapped into one uniquely beautiful and somewhat creepy little package.

We also happened upon a plastic duck decoy, bobbing along the shore. I plan on giving him quite the makeover. After a nice, light sanding, he'll be receiving a bright, bold and flamboyant new paint job. Then he'll find a new home in our rainbow colored front porch, amongst all the other "found" and made odds and ends that make us happy.

Finally, we found this interesting piece of driftwood and this natural sponge tucked into the rocky, shell littered shore line and decided we needed them as well. One of the fun things about our foragings is that they often lead to many questions which we can only acquire answers to through research when we get home. I had no idea that there were any types of sponges growing along the Mississippi river where we live. I thought that all sponges were sea sponges. Truthfully, we still cannot be sure that this one was growing anywhere near where we found it, but if it wasn't, where did it come from? Did it fall off a barge? Did it float down the river from somewhere else? We may never know. What we do know is that we enjoy the little guy perched alongside other found treasures and plant specimens in our little terrarium.

 One day last fall, The Husband and Kid were outside doing fall yard cleanup, when they unearthed a bunch of slugs(or are they snails? internet research has been confusing, with some pages saying that slugs are snails without shells and some saying that they are two separate things...Oh who knows. All I know is that they are icky) under a leaf pile. The Husband planned on sending them to the compost pile, but The Kid determined that her kitty "needed them". So she moved them, one by one, to her kitty sprinkler. I am glad that I was not there to witness it. I was already puking enough as it was!

 And finally, I leave you with this short story.

As I mentioned above, we like to head down to the river and do a little train watching from time to time. The Husband likes to take The Kid right on up near the tracks where she waves to the conductors(are they still even called that anymore?) and sometimes the conductors blow their horns for her. It's super exciting for a three year old when the train "talks" to her!

One day, the two were able to approach a train that had actually stopped on the tracks(it had to wait on some river traffic) and peer through the chain link fence at the train while waving at the conductor(as per usual). Only, this time, the conductor actually exited the train and walked over to the fence to say hello. He asked her if she had been a good girl and she very shyly replied "yes". As a reward, he gave her this little pin, which might as well have been made of a gold princess crown, a rainbow colored unicorn and  fifty-one flavor ice cream party all rolled into one, as excited about it as she was.

She's still very proud of her pin and likes to tell people about how the "man on the twain gived" it to her.

Whew. Finally caught up. Well, sort of. I've got about ten embroideries and four or five new illustrations to post too, but that'll just have to wait. This expecting mama is expecting to pee on herself in about five seconds if she doesn't quit pecking on the keyboard.

I just gotta say though, it's so nice to be back. I can hardly wait to show you what I'm working on for The Kid's Valentines, Easter and birthday gifts this year. Oh and the new lines of embroideries that I have planned. And all the funky things I've found while thrifting!

But seriously. I've got to get outta here. Peeing on self commencing in 3...2...

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