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Monday, February 28, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!...

As Mark and I were checking out from the Davenport Hotel in Spokane a week or so ago, I found myself peering up at the amazing chandeliers in the lobby of the Davenport Tower. I'm really into chandeliers right now, maybe because we have low ceilings in our new 1970's home, maybe because it's winter, maybe because I just really love them. We had just seen "The King's Speech" the night before, much to my joy. I just soaked up the movie, the story, the setting, the movie sets, Colin was all good. Needless to say, I'm quite happy with the Oscar for my favorite movie of the year. I don't get out much to the movies, so it may be one of the few I see in a real theatre.
I didn't watch any of the other movies, well, expect for Toy Story 3 with my boys. I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle the intense drama of Black Swan, but when I was a little girl I was fascinated by ballerinas. I apparently was too shy to really take ballet (my middle sister participated on the sidelines goes the story) but I had a ballerina jewelry box (she turned and danced), a ballerina felt set, and a ballerina book that I loved (which I just discovered in one of my many boxes). So it was much to my delight that when I met my friend Christy for coffee at my not-so-local Starbucks(hey, my sister works there and I was craving a salted carmel mocha and chocolate old-fashioned donut), she gifted me with a Valentines goody bag in which were two vintage ballerina figures! Love them!!
Our Valentine's Day itself was so good, my little "Bachelor"-shirted Finn accompanied me to Starbucks, where he lounged on his favorite settee. I got to surprise Haden at his school Valentine party because my husband surprised me with a half day of work-he showed up at Liam's preschool party (what a gift for all of us, since I was running late!). And Mark and I dined at home, looking forward to our weekend at The Davenport. When we went to the vintage Davenport I took my great-grandma's vintage Samsonite; I felt so elegant. It's good to pack light every once in a while.
When we picked up our little guys at my parents home, my mom, sister Heidi and I went out to Reardan to the Rejuvinations closing sale. An awesome, stylish store in the small farming town my mom grew up in was closing, much to our dismay, but we wanted to get in on any deals that might have been left. This is where I picked up the perfect white chandelier for our dining area. I had been going to spray paint our existing gold one, but I wanted one with more lights, more space to add more crystals, so it was love at first light. My mom got it for my early mother's day present and I will enjoy it every single day, before, during and after. Thank you, mom!
I had to leave a glass lamp, but later found out it hadn't sold, so yea for my office! Target had a great set of three lamps for a super price, so I bought the set and we now have two of the black, white and glass lamps lighting up our fireplace room. Right when I was checking out at Rejuvinations, I spied the hanging paper, rectangular lamps and snapped them up. I knew exactly where they would go; one by our huge, stone fireplace and one in my office. It's so good when everything comes together. We are people in need of light. And I am so thankful for all the ways my February was lit up; with people, with gifts of love and friendship, with family, with time away, with movies and stories, and, with lights.
"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The cure for the common old

The past half of a week, we have been fighting the common cold, which turned into the common cough, which turned into an awful and painful cough for me and my littlest little guy, and a bonus ear infection for him. In the midst of the yucky days and sleep deprived nights, I have begun to attack the pile of brown boxes sitting in my office filled with decorations, both vintage and otherwise. My goal was to go through them one by one to clean out: keep what I truly will love to put up in my new home; to sell that which I love anyway, but won't fit with my new home. The impending date of my annual spring garage sale is next week and our Funky Junk spring show (our 5th!!) is April 9 & 10. So much needs to happen between now and then, and I know how much I love delivering postcards and posters and won't have much time at home, so these sick days and now snow days are my chance to search for treasures!

While looking in bins and bins of scrapbook supplies, I found these funky hippie letters to spell out Funky Junk...but as you can see I'm one U short. So a caption will follow when I post on Facebook: "Funky Junk" isn't Funky Junk without all of "U"!" I also found Ziplocs full of pens and office supplies, many cute ones to keep and some that I didn't clean out until now, including my vintage inspired Smart Women set of notepad, "Smart Women make a list and Check it twice"; pencil, "Smart Women Stay Sharp" and eraser, "Smart Women Make Changes". I have a bookmark too somewhere. While going through our too many toys, I discovered one of the little people little guys who must have traveled from my mom's house to ours, and put him by my pink clock, to remind me of my three little loves. (Thanks to Green Cricket for her constant inspiration!! Check out her blog!!)

On my cleaning journey I found a box full of framed pictures, many needed changed out and freshened with new pics or new frames, so distracted me did some updating. Among the stacks I found what has been missing from our new home: my family. A vintage picture of my grandma holding me and one of me shopping with my great-grandma, grandma and mom when I was a little girl are now sitting in my office next to a pattern flower created by Jennifer of Unexpected Necessities. (I had to take a picture of my cute Finn with a garage sale sticker on his head-he found the box with garage sale toys and suddenly fell in love with them.)

I used pretty frames to house new pictures from our family photo shoot with Cary Burnett of Burnett Photography this summer and re-discovered some of my favorite old pamphlets on using the telephone and building with plywood, as well as a prized pink paper Steno pad (a mother's day gift from my sister Heidi one year). Another vintage enlarged picture from Heidi is of me and my mom and dad in a gorgeous frame reminds me of how loved I was and am. (Adorable vintage pink clock from my mom this past December birthday too!). I finally filled a cute Miss Clickety Clack yellow frame with a picture of me with my two sisters and our dolls, sitting on our grandma's patio. And one of my prized pictures of me peeling peaches with my great Grandma Kuchenbuch in the old farmhouse sits on my office shelf with the gorgeous H crown fashioned by the crafty Junebug ladies Celia and Gladys (another amazing birthday gift this year!)

So,the cure for the common cold, or common same old junk? Beauty, crafting, creating, re purposing, decorating and reconnecting in new ways with old finds. I realized this morning that the vintage-y looking picture I took late last night of my Funky Junk letters was actually upside down and spelled Junk Funky. Well, that will work too.=)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hey there Cupcake~& V-day Giveaway!

Keep Calm and Eat A Cupcake. Can I tell you how happy I was went this phrase appeared in the line of "Keep Calm" products? Super happy. I love cupcakes. Last year at our Funky Junk spring show I dreamed of having a cupcake booth; by the fall show we had Shanwna Leonard of Sweet B Cupcakes from Coeur d' Alene there with us, transforming my life with her maple/bacon cupcakes (among many others!). For Valentines Day I was determined to bake not only cookies, but cupcakes as well. Thank goodness I had a gluten-free mix on hand, and a frosting mix to boot. I like the Cravings Place allergy mixes and I really like the Betty Crocker line of gluten free mixes, it's just so nice to have cupcakes and cakes that don't fall or turn concave when they cool and are three steps to the oven.

Baking was the easy part, my frosting mix was frustrating. The mix I had to make things easier was toffee frosting, so the color ended up carmely, not very Valentines Day much to my dismay. All I had for Valentine-y food coloring late last night were neon colors; pink and purple, so I mixed and mixed but all I came up with was a very tired arm and a salmon/mauve color rather than the gorgeous, bright pink I dreamed of. No matter, everyone ate them happily, and I found some white frosting in the back of my fridge to redeem the last four cupcakes. My favorite tool for frosting cupcakes is a Cupcake Decorating tool from NordicWare that I picked up a couple of springs ago at the Coeur d' Alene Target. It has four tips, so I let my boys choose the design they want on their birthday cupcakes; for Valentines Day I used the large circle to make dots and curves. A few sprinkles and cupcake magic was complete!

I packaged up some of my extra cupcakes for friends and stuck a heart lolli in one of them to up the sugary sweetness. While doing that, I saw my collection of tin jello molds and decided they would be perfect for holding some of my Valentine treats. Now it's time to celebrate and deliver my messages and gifts of love, and it's time for a Funky Junk Hollie Valentine giveaway! I have three vintage valentines from my extensive collection: A 1910 "My Heart to Yours" valentine book of verses; a honeycomb stand up valentine "from Mother, 1929"; and an American Greeting Card in a cut out, stand up dolly shape from maybe the 50's. All you have to do is leave a comment, let me know you are a Funky Junk fan on Facebook and to get a double entry, follow my business partner's blog: !!
Happy Valentines Day to all of my blog friends!
Love, love, love,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweets for my Sweets

Cookies, cookie dough, chocolate; I'm good. My three little guys love cookies as much as I do, and I would bake them every day just to see their eyes light up as they traipse into the kitchen, following the smell of baking cookies and get a bit of dough or a fresh baked morsel. But real life means I don't have time to bake fresh cookies all of the time, so when I do it's a special treat. Haden, my oldest cookie lover has a shopping list of food allergies, most of them severe, so baking has always been a challenge. So when I come across a recipe that looks like it will easily adapt to gluten/wheat free, egg free, dairy free, nut free I'm game.

I came across this yummy recipe when I finally asked my friend Amy (who has baked these cookies for years) for a copy. She gave me the recipe and I was double excited to see that it was our friend Anne's grandma's recipe, and "the best cookie of 1930-35" to boot. I love old recipes, and find especially in the case of allergies that they are the most easily adapted, probably because they are usually simple, and have natural, easily accessible ingredient lists. I submitted this recipe in it's original state to my friends e-zine and blog, Mermaids of the Lake. I also said I'd share the revision if it turned out good. Yes it did! My first batch I taste tested on my friend Amy, my friend Funky Junk Jennifer, and my extended family. They met to rave reviews, so I thought they would make great Valentine cookies. I'll include my allergy notes to let you know how it can be modified...enjoy!

Molasses Crinkles
Temp. 350 degrees; Time 10-12 mins. (varies on thickness of cookies

1 Cup brown Sugar-packed
3/4 Cup Shortening (I've been able to use both Crisco and a natural brand shortening for Haden's particular allergies.)
1 Egg (I use Ener-G brand Egg Replacer; we call it fake eggs at our home.)
4 Tblsp. Molasses (I mix full and mild flavored.)
2 1/4 Cup Flour (We use brown rice flour that I order online-see below- but you can use the flour(s) that work for your allergy and that you like best for baking.)
1/4 tsp. salt (I just never add salt=).)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. baking soda
*Chocolate chips; broken chocolate bars to taste. (This is my own addition. Why, you ask? Because the incomparable baker at Cake in Spokane, WA makes these amazing molasses ginger cookies with chunks of chocolate and now I have to have one every time I get out to Chaps/Cake. If they aren't there, I cry.)

Mix first 4 ingredients together thoroughly. Measure and blend dry ingredients together and add to first mixture; stir well. (Note: So, I'm sure this was doable without stand mixers back in the day, but my mixture gets very thick due to the ingredient substitutions, so I'm grateful for my Kitchenaid. However, it would have been good to lock it in place so that the stick of molasses coated shortening wouldn't fly out and land on my white sweater today.)

Chill. (I drew a smiley face by this on my recipe to remind me to chill out, too. I wait about an hour for the dough, or when I can get to baking.)

Roll dough in 1&1/4 inch balls; roll in sugar. (Oh, man, I just realized I forgot to roll my whole batch in sugar this time. I also used a vintage scalloped heart cookie cutter as well as a smaller heart cookie cutter pressed into flatted the balls to make a few heart cookies to surprise my boys.)

Place balls 3 inches apart on baking sheet. (I put down a layer of parchment paper ala Martha Stewart to make it easier to remove these gluten free cookies.)

Bake until set but not hard. (Now this is not always easy to gauge with this recipe, but the past two times I've found that about 10-14 minutes was about right. Just make sure if you alter the recipe to leave them on the baking tray to cool before you transfer to cooling rack or you will likely have some broken hearts. Brown rice flower and fake eggs make the cookies more prone to crumbling.)

I also chose to double the recipe this time to yield more yumminess.

Enjoy. And I cannot wait until tomorrow when my boys eyes light up as they see the cooling rack full of heart shaped cookies just for them. Sweet.


Sources: - This is my source for brown rice flour that has not been cross-contaminated by other flours (for example nut flours). I also order one of the two types of chocolate chips Haden can have-Barry Calledut chocolate chips from here, usually in 5 lb. bags.
Rosauers, Huckelberry's & Fred Meyer (Spokane stores)-I buy Enjoy Life brand rice milk chocolate bars (the one kind Haden can have) and Enjoy Life chocolate chips baby ones) at these stores. Our biggest challenges are finding packaged items that are not made in plants with Haden's allergens, but these are our constants.

I've been eyeing a project I found in the February edition of Country Living for about a month now, so when my husband was heading to Home Depot this week I had him gather some paint chips in red, pink and white so that I could begin. The creator of the idea is Jodi Kahn, author of "Simply Sublime Gifts" and I loved the picture in Country Living; the stamps that were used and the three piece color strips, but I would have to settle for larger rectangle paint chips and the stamps I had on hand.

Stamping away, I experimented with pink and black and white stamp pads and found my groove when I smudged a bit of ink and decided to read the directions. In which I read that in order to help the ink adhere to the slick paint chips, spray with aerosol hair spray before applying stamp. Lesson learned, because, yes, they do smudge later on, I tested it. If I'm careful, they will be fun Valentines, especially because of the names of the colors: Picket Fence White for my neighbors, Marshmallow White for my dad, Bubblegum Pink and Candy Apple for my sisters, Sugared Pansy Pink for my mom and Sexy Pink for my husband.

I also wanted to use the leftover folded paper glitter circles I'd made at Elaine Tolson's Glitter Tea last weekend. So I went to work and play and added some embellishments like the cute vintage looking Valentine cards from Daisy D that I had purchased from Christy Dunham, Ballyhoo Girl at the last Funky Junk show. Adding the glitter was so fun, I used some vintage red "Sparkle Glitter" for one and the tiny cute bottled samples of pink and blue Meyer Imports glitter from our Glitter Tea Gifts Bag, as well as some extra silver I had on hand for the other two. Adhering the embellishments was not easy, and since I didn't have time, cash or energy to go and purchase the right stuff, (for which Christy recommends Koyoko, or Tombow) and I couldn't even begin to find the box my glue gun is packed in, I just used every possible glue I could find until they stuck. I found some fun vintage pink ribbon and two other Valentine inspired ribbons to staple on so that my recipients can hang their presents.

It was a good day for creating, and even when my projects didn't go exactly as I hoped, I love what I created and I loved every minute of the time spent on my hand created gifts for the ones I love.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Projects

Love was in the air, or something like that today at my house. While looking for a card holder to lift my Vintage valentine collection off of the piano, I stumbled (literally) across inspiration. I saw a few flower frogs from my large collection and started thinking about things I could display in them for Valentine's Day. I've always loved the glass flower frogs for holding pens, but today I found a cute new way to hold up candy conversation hearts! I had fun reading them, I even picked up a few new texting The paper heart and honeycomb heart straws were from Target last year, and I thought that before my little guys use and throw them away, I'd use them for height and delight in my vignettes.

This summer at Celia Hanning-Therans wedding, there was a huge bowl full of Lemon Heads and ever since that day I have been using candy as decoration. How sweet! I bought my three sweeties the huge purple lollipops for Valentine's Day (they don't know it yet, and have yet to spy them) and added it to a pink one I picked up one day just because I liked it. One of my favorite and most unique flower frogs now holds up the sugary eye candy. I took a cue from a creative girl, Melanie Ziegweid and filled my vintage ice cream Sunday glass with conversation hearts and more of my beloved straws.

Putting together Valentine gifts-my family gives gifts for everything-I filled a retro pink metal ice cream bowl with pink & white kisses to sweeten someones day. My mom and dad have always given and sent their three girls, and growing family, Valentine's, so real mail and written word mean alot in my world. The past couple of years I've included Valentine pictures-we take pictures of everything-of my three boys and affixed them on to doily hearts. This year I had amazing shots from Cary Burnett/Burnett Photography to send, so I ended up adding stamped LOVE tags onto my doilies, too.

Valentine's seems to bring about the best in me. Except the years it hasn't, but this year is a pretty good one. I mean, really, a holiday all about love, in all it's forms and expressions really is something worth celebrating. I'm blessed to have little guys (and one trained big one) who throw themselves into the heart holiday. The note on the fridge is from my middle little one. Now to dream of tomorrow's projects: finishing Valentines, baking cookies and cupcakes, and dreaming up a Valentine blog giveaway!

Lots of love,