Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And the winner is....

Susan Cahill! Congratulations Susan, you are the very first winner of the very first alberta alberta giveaway! Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and for all the kind words about my car, I really appreciate it :) I had such fun with this giveaway...gathering and organizing and waiting. I'll definitely be having more giveaways in the future...


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fall Giveaway...or, how to put a spin on car theft

so my car was stolen just over a week and a half ago. from in front of my house, from a neighborhood that for the past 2 years has always felt very quiet and safe. the good news is i did get the car back, in basically the same condition i left it...the inside was pretty trashed and a few items were taken but otherwise it's almost like it didn't happen (except for the $500 we had to pay to get it out of impound :( what a way to add insult to injury!) 
however, to celebrate the return of my wheels i am having a stashbuster giveaway here at alberta alberta! fabric, buttons, trim, and beads in fall colors - great for a fall quilt or adding to an existing project. 
if you'd like to enter the giveaway please send me an email at and use the subject line "fall giveaway". i will draw names on december 10th and announce winners that day. 
this holiday i am so grateful for so many things; my family, my friends, a good job, a car with some street cred, and the opportunity to have this blog :)


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



we woke up to a little more foot traffic than usual today - our polling spot is right across the street from our house. lots of excited voices and shuffling of sample ballots :) my hands were shaky when i was filling in those little ovals, so anxious! i kept my t-shirt zipped tight inside my sweater until i walked out the doors of the polling station but i've been proudly displaying my vote since, along with my "i voted" sticker.
looking forward to chewing off my fingernails tonight watching those returns come in.

hope, change, and a new president...


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No glass slippers, just glass pumpkins...

I haven't gotten an actual pumpkin yet this Fall, over the weekend I was really wishing I had one. I came up with these cute little guys instead.

Very shoddy tutorial follows...

1. Gather your fabric and clean jars in various sizes (mine once held beans, spices, and artichoke hearts). I simply wrapped the fabric around the jar and cut to size.

2. Make a little face...
3. Cut out little face (I started with an exacto knife and then trimmed with scissors).

4. Wrap fabric around jar and glue at seams (I used epoxy which is still holding up, hot glue or fabric glue would probably be fine too).

5. Add a votive, light, and enjoy the glow :)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's Birthday Season (Part 2)

My godson, Val, had his 3rd birthday party this past Sunday. I was pressed for time and low on funds so I dug deep into my stash and came up with a crayon roll. I don't think he quite knew what to make of it but he did have fun pulling the crayons out and putting them back in their homes...and his mom liked it a lot so that works for me!

All wrapped up, I love that green ribbon.

The front with his name.

My first time with machine applique...don't look too closely!

The inside: I only had that one strip of the alphabet fabric, so glad to have found a home for it. 


It's Birthday Season (Part 1)

Beginning in July I start to feel overwhelmed with birthdays; both sisters and my brother have birthdays within a few weeks of each other, then my dad, 3 of my close girl friends, then James, and my godson. It doesn't let up until Christmas and then, well, then that's a whole new slew of gifts. 

I've been challenged to use only what I have on hand lately and I'm really happy with what I've been able to come up with...and also a little alarmed at the amount of crap I have stockpiled. 

My friend Jill received the below gifts recently, they seemed to be a big hit and I was quite pleased with myself ;)
Vintage-y compact, rub-on letters, rhinestones...
Background of lettering is a piece from an old watercolor.

How did I have a "J" for Jill button just laying around? It was serendipitous! All are vintage buttons except for the fuschia one. The cork was from a tile that would not stay on the wall.

4 teeny pillows filled with lavender from a long ago project. Finding 4 pieces of fabric in my stash that coordinated this well made me so happy. The leather cord is a belt from a skirt circa 1999...

The whole shebang; the basket once held garlic from Trader Joe's :)


Lots of crafting, not so much with the blogging...

I have been neglectful of this little blog here, but for good reason...I've been crafting up a storm! Most of my crafts end up as gifts in other houses but I was really needing something for my own space. I reworked an yard sale lampshade using the tutorial in Celine Dupuy's beautiful book, "Simple Sewing with a French Twist" (a gift from my sister Kellie). It was a vast improvement from the previous shade which was covered in some scary barky stuff. I pulled this off and just recovered it with some scrap fabric from my stash, hurray for no cost home improvements!
I also made a pillow for the living room using fabric from a vintage apron pattern.  The pattern instructions were printed directly on the fabric. I liked the idea of working the lettering into the actual design and I'm so happy with how it turned out, I only wish I had more of it! The pillow now lives on a chair below our ACL Festival poster, and the colors couldn't be a more perfect match...also fitting is the print looks like little mandolins :) :) :)


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Last Supper (of the summer)

We've had a nice little heat wave this last week and it put me in the mood for something summery for dinner. I used what I had on hand, it was fast, and we have plenty of leftovers...that's the best kind of meal!
Polenta with Sausage, Greens, and Tomatoes
Enough polenta for 2 people (I use the loose grain style) cook and set aside.
1/2 chopped onion, cook in olive oil until translucent.
Enough greens (I used the Trader Joe's 'grab bag') to fill up the pan, toss with onions until wilted.
1/2 can of whole tomatoes, and a few spoonfuls of the juice, toss in with greens and onions. Toss continuously.
Remove veggies and juice from the pan and set aside. Toss in 2 sliced sausages (I used pre-cooked chicken sausage, spicy italian flavor), brown each side.
Dump veggies and juice back into the pan on top of the sausage, cook until everything is heated.
Serve on top of the polenta.
Eat up...and let me know if you try it!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ooooh Fall!

This is my favorite time of year, despite the fact that my allergies are the most hateful Sept-Nov. No matter though, because I love the colors this time of year, the smells, the food, and pumpkin everything. I had my first grande soy pumpkin latte (2 pumps only please) of the season last week and it was so good it made my knees a little weak. I went to Target the same day and lusted after the wool coats and the dark wash jeans and the stripey cardigans. Grownups get to shop for back- to-school clothes too, right? I restrained myself from buying anything in the clothing section but I did treat myself to a shiny new bottle of 'fall' nail polish in a color called "brick wall". Hurray for small pleasures.


I'm back!

It's been awhile but I'm back and I have a lot to blog about! I had a lovely vacation; I got to see my brother and sisters and it really made me wish we all lived closer. I also got to see my niece and meet my new nephew, which made me remember how much I love being an aunt. I went not only to Iowa, where most of my family resides, but to New York City where my youngest sister lives. I basically shopped and ate the entire trip. Thrift shopping in the midwest reminded me that things are still fairly priced outside the Bay Area ($4 aprons...sigh).
Hitting the Hell's Kitchen and Brooklyn flea markets reminded me how much I love living outside a city like San Francisco :) I came away with some really amazing treasures from both places.
It was great to get away from everything and exactly what I needed to feel inspired again.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm so tired...but I'm finally finished!

I'm leaving very early in the morning for a flight to see my family - I'm so excited for my first vacation of the year and I've been scrambling to get all my handmade gifts finished. (Please forgive the poor photo quality - the lighting in my house at this hour leaves much to be desired!) My brother just moved into a new apartment, the first one he's never shared with anyone. I offered to help with his decor and his only requests were, "only black, white, and red...and no flowers or polka dots". I hope he approves of the prints I picked! I also made him a multi-media collage using my favorite photo of us from way back in the day. I enlarged it and converted it to black and white and used the same fabrics I used for the pillows. He may only hang it in his bedroom but I think he'll appreciate it :) Since my nephew is just a baby I know he's stocked up on clothing and toys so I made a canvas set for his wall. I had just a little of the vintage nautical-themed fabric and I amped up the muted (and extremely dated) colors by layering primary colors and prints on top. My niece is only 3 1/2 but she loves books so I made a quickie book bag for her from fabric in my stash. I also included a copy of 'Olivia' by Ian Falconer, one of my favorite children's books. I'm so pleased to be finished with all my I can pack and shower and possibly take a nap before we have to leave at 3:30 am (ohmygod!)
Signing off until September 2nd...hurray for vacations!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

New multi-media collage, "Sisters"

My family and friends are often my guinea pigs when it comes to new projects. My sisters in particular seem to love my handcrafted presents, which of course makes it totally worth it to make things for them! I wanted to somehow use an old photo I found for my sister Kellie's birthday present. I had some copies made of the photo and I played around with some ideas for a few days until I came up with this. I was happy to find colors and prints in my fabric stash similar to what we're wearing in the photo. I hand embroidered 'sisters' onto muslin and then machine stitched the photo to the rest of the material (I totally didn't think that was going to work, how great that you can sew through just about anything!)
I'm really pleased with how it turned out and Kellie left me the loveliest message after she opened her package, she didn't remember the photo so it was an even better surprise than I expected! I definitely want to try this again and think I'll be offering this type of collage as an option on my etsy page soon.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Project Runway Challenge #1

I believe I mentioned I'm a little obsessed with Project imagine my excitement when I found out there were online challenges - you can literally play along with the show! Challenge #1 was to use non-traditional materials to create your design. So I took my slightly smaller supply allowance (they gave each designer $75, I gave myself $25) and went to Long's drugstore instead of Gristede's. I'm pretty pleased with what I was able to craft out of shelf liner, an ironing board cover, some stretchy hair bands and a bbq tent (what? what is a bbq tent?!?) I'm going to do my best to stay on top of the challenges and continue to post what I come up with on here. 


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Project Runway is back!

If I could only watch one t.v. show, it would most definitely be 'Project Runway'. As soon as they started advertising for Season 5 I got a little flutter...and the wait was so worth it! Even though the judges complained about the lack of innovation from the majority of the contestants I thought the designs that came from all those disposable tablecloths were pretty amazing. How did Korto do that amazing pleating with her paper dress? And Daniel's plastic cup creation was so outside of anything I would have considered. Kelli was clearly the winner with her marbled 'fabric' vacuum cleaner bags, the studded belt-piece from thumbtacks, and that hook and eye closure from a freaking spiral notebook...
Check out the gallery from the show last night:
My favorites so far are Kenley, Emily, and that sassy Kelli - hope these gals can stay on top!
Over and Out,


Monday, July 14, 2008

Square One!

"If you want something done, ask a busy person." Lucille Ball said that and I think it's a great quote. I am a busy person and while I sometimes get overwhelmed and procrastinate, I do get things done. Getting this blog going was somewhere near the middle of a very long to-do list for alberta alberta. It seemed like more than I could tackle a few months ago, but I think now is a great time to try it and see how I do. Once I make my goals public I feel a little more accountable, and I think having feedback will help keep me focused and inspired. So hooray for alberta alberta the blog!
Thanks for checking out my little space...