Friday Fun: Something new for inspiration’s sake.

I have hated Jeremiah’s Italian Ice for many, many years, yet I’d never tried it before. Terrible, I know. And I hated that establishment for petty, stupid reasons that have nothing to with the place at all! So for this Fun Friday, as a way of letting go of the past and because it was really hot and sounded awesome, I took Jho there as a fun after-school surprise. And it was delicious. I loved it.

Years ago I opened Trio Gelato and Desserts with my best friend. We made the most delicious gelato (Italian Ice CREAM) in town. Around the same time Jeremiah’s Italian ICE opened. They are not the same product, but no one knows the difference and, for the next three years, all I did was explain to people that we do not make gelati (swirls of soft serve ice cream and  italian ice), we make gelato (artisan Italian ice cream). I also watched as people waited in long lines around the corner for Jeremiah’s Ice while our poor little under-funded shop sat quietly hidden down the hallway of a dead strip mall. I know they are in little way comparable. We were a wholesale, not retail business. Our products are completely different. But I just had this weird snobby competitiveness that kept me from enjoying gelati. Until now!

It was almost too refreshing. We faced the terrible brain freeze bravely and were rewarded with many delicious dripping bites of blueberry and mango creamy goodness. I had serious nostalgia remembering that my very favorite popsicle as a kid were the ones with the ice cream in the middle. Now I just wish the place weren’t so close to my son’s school because now I will want it every day.

The swirls and pretty colors also reminded me that I’ve been meaning to try out this awesome crocheting technique I just pinned on Pinterest!

Find the tutorial for this technique here.

It seems like the perfect way to crochet a zebra without annoying jogs in color between stripes when crocheting in the round. I will be trying it out soon! Doesn’t it look just like Jho’s blueberry Italian Ice? Goes to show, inspiration is everywhere if we just keep our eyes open! Are you feeling  a little low on inspiration lately? If so, check out this little free online inspiration class with my favorite blogger, Alisa Burke. While you’re at it, you could be like me and read her every blog post in one night.  I seriously want to be her when I “grow up.” I hope to take her online watercolor class at some point and if you’re into sewing, you must check out her sewing book! It looks like it would be so amazing and freeing! Here’s a link to her inspiration class.

This weekend in Central Florida looks to be beautiful and a bit hot….the perfect weather for a trip to Jeremiah’s Ice. Go have one! I recommend the mango, though I intend to try Citrus next time (also my favorite sorbet flavor when I used to be the one running the ice cream machine 🙂

I finished my Fun Friday outing early this week as the kick-off to a Southwest Florida weekend with my Mom. We just went to a wonderful place, the new Children’s Museum of Naples (C’MON for short! Cute, right?) Movies, splash pads, and a giant Easter Egg hunt are planned, as well. I’ve already found other inspirational things to share with you, but it will have to wait. Like Alisa Burke recommends…sometimes you just need to get out from behind your computer!

Happy inspiration-hunting this weekend!

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Fun in Florida Friday: New Smyrna Beach Balloon and Sky Fest

I’m going to implement a new Friday post tradition – Fun in Florida Friday. It will force me to find new fun things to do each weekend…even if it’s just something simple, like a restaurant review. This weekend I am headed to the New Smyrna Beach Balloon and Sky Fest. I went with my Mom and my then two-year-old son last year and he still remembers and talks about it. There’s something magical about seeing the balloons slowly expand, float, and glow in the night sky.

I really love New Smyrna Beach and really recommend it as my favorite local beach. I especially like stopping on the way to the beach at an amazing French pastry shop, Mon Delice. I highly recommend it! Their pastries are amazing and the sandwiches are delicious, too. We’ve taken pastries, sandwiches and coffee to go and eaten them on New Smyrna Beach several times. Makes for a great and delicious morning!

Speaking of great mornings and hot air balloons, my best Valentine’s Day memory was going on a hot air balloon ride with Ben! I just remember how crazily peaceful, quiet, and cold it was as we drifted and then how loud and hot, in contrast, that torch was as it pumped heat into our balloon. I also never thought I’d be nervous. I like heights and have jumped out of a plane before, but something was spooky about looking down and realizing that the only thing separating me from a big, big fall was a thin wicker basket. Our next hot air balloon ride needs to be in Hawaii or Africa or France…somewhere extra beautiful.

Maybe it’s because I’m an air sign, but I really feel attracted to the sky and flying things. Here are a few of my hot air balloon creations.

This painting might be my favorite one I’ve made. I’m especially proud of it because it’s one of the few times I’ve drawn the image from my mind rather than from a photograph, which I usually have to do.

I had a crazy obsession with papier mache hot air balloon making and, for whatever reason, (technique, humidity, impatience, materials) my papier mache results are always too sloppy and gloopy and sad in the end. I’ve seen people make papier mache hot air balloons, but they never quite look the way I want them to. I had this simple paper lantern pendant light (really cheap at IKEA!) that had been sitting on a shelf for two years. I wasn’t sure what to do with it and it felt too small to go anywhere in our house until I had a corner that needed something in Margot’s nursery.

I purchased the smallest basket I could find at  Michaels and had three lengths of sage green grosgrain ribbon. I took the end of one ribbon and pushed it through one basket corner, up and around the top of the basket and tied a tight knot. Then took the long end up and over the metal framework on the bottom of the lamp. Then I brought the ribbon over to the opposite corner, shoving the end through, up and over the side and tied another knot. Repeat with the other ribbon in the other corners. Then I took the third ribbon and tied a bow, gluing it to the basket for decoration. Suddenly that boring paper lantern was a whimsical, but useful addition to the baby’s room!

There are lots of amazing crafting ideas available online adapting IKEA basics into treasures. In fact, here’s another idea for covering an IKEA lantern with coffee filters! http://decorate.tipjunkie.com/how-to-make-a-coffee-filter-pendant-ikea-hack/

Finally, here are a few of my favorite hot air balloon creations I’ve found on Etsy!

From Butterfly Bessie

From Gosh and Golly

From Bumble and Boogs

Come on out and enjoy the hot air balloons with me this weekend! The balloon glow begins at 7:15pm on Saturday night with an air show following at 8:15pm. I can’t wait!

I’ll leave you with the balloonist prayer. It is customary for all balloon pilots and crews to recite it in unison after a successful flight. I love it.

The winds have welcomed you with softness,
The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.
You have flown so high and so free
That God has joined you in laughter
And set you gently again
Into the loving arms of mother earth.

Then you must toast with champagne….one of the best parts of ballooning. Have a happy weekend full of soft wind and warm sunshine!

 

Variations on a Theme: Size Does Matter

Last week was spent making one of my best-sellers extra big and another of my favorites very small, marking the biggest and smallest critters I’ve made so far!

If you aren’t already familiar with Banelings, they are exploding, burrowing bug-like weapons used in a popular computer game called StarCraft. If you’d like to nerd out, here’s a musical Baneling lesson:


A friend requested one and, ever since, I’ve been making lots of them.

I have made them small, as keychains, and en masse.

Here’s what a pile of Baneling bits look like:

Then this past week I received a custom order to make a large, “huggable” Baneling at least twice the size of my normal one.

Here’s the result!

And here’s it’s gigantic exploding rear end. He’s enjoying the spring blooms.

Then I went from one extreme to another…funny because Banelings are usually teeny tiny on a computer screen and elephants are so big. I wish I had a picture of both of them together for size comparison. Here’s the tiny keychain elephant now available in the shop!

This past week taught me that working both large or small can be rewarding.

A giant Baneling, a tiny elephant and then…a flying pig! Sometimes a critter just needs wings.

Happy flying, piggie. May your wings take you far.

 

Announcements!

I promised an announcement, and here it is! My amigurumi cuties are now for sale at a brand new boutique in Sanford! My first shop! Park Avenue Massage & Boutique opened March 1st. They specialize in relaxing & rehabilitative massages…..Swedish, Deep Tissue, Cranial Sacral, Reflexology, Sports and Hydrotherapy, but also opened an adjacent beautiful boutique full of handmade creations from local artists and crafters. You have to check it out. It’s really like a local mini Etsy. When I dropped off my stuff in late February, she had already filled up the shop with jewelry, photography, paintings, bags, soaps, my pigs, bees, and giraffes along with my new greeting cards and more! See pictures of the boutique and “like” their page on Facebook. I’m serious when I tell you that this place is really great and should be your first stop when looking for a special gift for someone.

I really wish this new business success, especially because Joye, the owner, is so kind and generous and is so excited and passionate about supporting and promoting the work of local artists and artisans. Park Avenue Massage & Boutique is also right next to an adorable tea shop, Hart Sisters Tea Room. Make a nice afternoon of it and visit both! Go on a Friday  afternoon and then get a drink downtown on First Street and you’ll be amazed how many people are out and about listening to live music and enjoying good food at some wonderful non-chain restaurants. Go, go, go!

I am really excited to have my little creatures sitting on a store shelf smiling at customers, and I’m really, really excited about my new greeting cards. I’ve always been kind of crazy for stationary and greeting cards. I love sending and receiving cards and always fill my cards with LOTS of words. These greeting cards combine my amigurumi creatures, my photographs of them, and my love of paper products and they make me so happy! Here they are!

I’m thinking about doing notecards, too. We’ll see how these 5″ x 7″ greeting cards do. Are there any particular pictures you’ve seen of mine that you think would make a good card? If so, would you leave me a comment? I’m so curious what people like best!

That’s my big news! If you go see Joye at Park Avenue Massage, let her know I sent you! Happy shopping!

Knightrokon!

This weekend, I participated in my first show/anime convention and had the best time! Thank you to Laina (of http://www.etsy.com/shop/mdhatters) and Jackie for letting me tag along. It was a big success and I learned a lot about what to bring next time.  I was surprised to find that I needn’t have worried so much about making anime-friendly items. Turns out, just plain old adorable works for just about every audience! I should have known.

Here’s a picture of what I brought. Next time I want to bring three times as much!

This was our row. The event had a pretty good turnout for being the first anime convention at UCF. We met really nice people who were really enthusiastic about all the things we had made. In this picture and the next you can see the felt hats and plushies that Jackie and Laina brought.

People picked up that Master Ball SO many times, yet it was one of the only things that didn’t sell…that and one slime and this little owlie. Not too shabby!

Here was our own little plushie…the star of the show hanging out on her blanket stuffing toys in her mouth, rolling around, and charming potential customers with her smiles. It was her first “con,” too!

I look forward to my next craft show coming up in May. More info on that to come!

For now, Lumpy Space Princess would like you to have a happy week ahead. I will miss her. She has gone off to her new home with someone who will love and appreciate all her lumps and her grumps. I wish that for all of us.