Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Short Story Bracelet

In honor of Oxford Bound Bakery, I've created one of my short story bracelets especially for Shelby (Alexandra) to inspire her during all the hard work she is about to embrace! I call it, "England was calling her home".

What's really fun about these handmade, grunge-style, mini art pieces is that they are collages made from dog food bags and other upcycled materials; including labels from bags of oranges, old unappreciated art pieces, bits of leftover beads and get the idea.

I have quite a few started for various members of my family.  Each is unique to the intended individual, as the short story must be something significant to their life in 4-6 words.  I made one for myself called, "I am my daddy's girl".  It is still in the flat stage which is what I refer to them before stitching, beading, padding, and embellishing.

Shelby has requested some general short story bracelets to sell at the market.  Although they shall be a bit less personal, read: less meaningful, they are cute and quirky and hopefully as interesting to potential shoppers as they are to me!

Bracelet blanks.  Here you can get a better idea of the recycled bits; from dogfood bags, calendar pages, dictionary pages, and slide transparencies to name a few.

Here are three blanks that I turned into collage bracelets.

Enough Lavender to Bale!

In the process of getting Shelby off to a good start with her farmer's market endeavors as the newly formed Oxford Bound Bakery, I've started harvesting items with a purpose that I use to do with a hit or miss attitude.  For example: my lavendar plants are pretty to look at, attract a lot of bees - to my delight- and occasionally are picked for a few sprigs in a bouquet of flowers or a bunch of heads to cook with.

Monday, however, one of the two medium shrubs received a buzz cut much like the shearing of a lamb!  Quantity produced:  21 bunches of drying purple fragrance bundles and a bowl full of leaves and heads also drying and ready to stuff into small sewn pillows for sachets!  I was amazed at how much one plant produced.

That is about all I had time for before heading to work.  I'm certain that the lavendar plant next to his newly butchered neighbor breathed a sigh of relief; certain he was spared the same misfortune.  It's been two days...just enough time for his guard to be down... (insert evil chuckle).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Introducing...Oxford Bound Bakery

Newly released from her first year at Spring Arbor University, my daughter Shelby a.k.a. Alexandra has been busy filling out over 80 applications since this early spring for summer work.  Confirming news reports that this year is the worst for high school and college kids to snag summer positions in almost every job description, Shelby has been unable to land a job...any job so far this summer.

However, she is determined to get to Oxford.  Using her love for baking and her passion for quality, she shall be operating a booth at our local farmer's market to sell her delightful desserts and home grown produce with a bit of handmade whimsey added.  Appropriately, she has named her enterprise "Oxford Bound Bakery" with the subheading, "Keep Calm and Bake on". 

I have been allowed the privilege of food critic, happily tasting my way through cranberry-ginger petit fours, dark chocolate marzipan stuffed apricots, Italian strawberry tarts, divine French macaroons, English strawberry scones, and S'mores cookies just to name a few!  It's a wonder I haven't gained any weight this week! 

Packaging and presentation are not forgotten in the scheme of things either.  Natural coffee filters cut in half and stitched into triangles make perfect packages of home dried lime basil tea.  Just toss the whole bundle into a teapot and steep away!

Shelby's plan is to continue selling at the farmer's market as long as it is viable or until she lands a regular job; either way, I'm proud of our creative and industrious daughter.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Blue Tractor's

 ...Or day 1 of our staycation...

Black, Blue & Bacon Burger
blackened with cajun spices, topped with blue cheese, crisp bacon and sweet onion jam...

My only regret as I post about our fun in Ann Arbor, is the fact that I didn't take a photo of my AMAZING meal.  I ordered the above "burger" in a grilled chicken form and it was fabulous!  Served with bright orange thick and tender sweet potato Fries, I can honestly say it was the best sandwich none!  We happened upon this lovely little grill as we walked downtown Ann Arbor enjoying the warm summer day and seeking out sustenance al fresco. 

 We had just finished viewing the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" in the equally charming and historic Michigan Theatre.  What a great movie!  I loved the British actors who have become my favorites over the years, thanks to my two quirky and well traveled daughters; who have exposed me to the most Period Piece and Bollywood movies that a person my age has ever experienced!