Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feel like a flapper!

The other day I made a FABULOUS new necklace just for me (and to share with mom) out of an ornate vintage cloisonne belt buckle that we've had stashed for a while.  I am so happy with the results- a true statement piece if I ever saw one.  It is a flapper-vamp-exotic beauty- it looks like something that Theda Bara would've worn to play Cleopatra.

And anyone who knows me knows that it's no surprize to find me playing dress-up (yeah, even at 30.)  I love fashion, clothes, vintage stores, jewelry and other accessories.  So today I came up with an outfit to go with the necklace.  It kinda makes me feel like a young starlet coming from dance practice:

Necklace: me
floral patterned tank: vintage (I was shocked at how perfectly it matched the pendant.)
navy merino cardigan: Banana Republic- thrifted from My Sister's Closet (that's the name of the store.  I don't have a sister.)
Grey shorts with bow: Zinc- from Loehmans in L.A.
Grey t-strap shoes with bow laces: Sam Edelman- from Nordstrom's Rack
Tan crochet stockings: Target

What do you think?


One last look at the necklace:

Friday, March 26, 2010

New items on Etsy!!

Hello wonderful blog followers-
The new Katsui Etsy items are up!!  Swing by our shop to check them out!

- Kat

The Time Piece: Vintage Repurposed Necklace

This is a necklace that Kat made for a fundraiser.
All vintage pieces- with a watch theme.
(We apologize for the blurriness of the photos.  Our old camera didn't work quite as well as the new one.)

The back of the pendant is a watch.

Hard to see, but the gold piece to the left says "Lil"

One of my favorite parts: the part with 3 chains is an old watch fob (I added the crystals.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

A great cause: Katy B's Triathalon for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society

Sometimes an opportunity comes up to support both individual growth and the common good.

Many of us can empathize with the unsettling feeling that we want more from our lives.  A year or so ago, my best friend, Katy, quit her job as a patent agent in a law firm and began to search for herself.  She started with an extended trip to Japan and New Zealand, got certified to be a physical trainer, and began working at the YMCA.

With personal growth in mind, she has begun to focus on things that challenge her and support things that she believes in.

With that in mind, my best friend (and chosen sister) is doing a triathalon!
She has joined Team in Training and is raising funds for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, which will send her to Hawaii to race the South Maui Triathlon.  It's an Olympic distance, which means a 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride, followed by a 6 mile run..  She has been training rigorously, exploring safety measures in physical care and diet needs as training impacts her body, 
You can read more about her experience on her blog the Adventures of SuperKaty.

Please consider donating to this great cause. The Leukemia and Lymphoma society works to fund research and care for patients with blood cancers. There have been enormous advances in care, but even so, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every four minutes, and there is no cure yet. The hope is that someday soon this type of cancer might be, if not cured, then controlled so that patients can lead a normal life.


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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sneak Peek: Etsy Goodies!

As a special treat to our followers we're giving a sneak preview of some new pieces soon to be posted on Etsy!

necklace of brass with teal glass drops and Murano bead.

brass and Swarovski crystal earrings

pearl and sterling silver earrings

vintage carved glass, brass, and creamy golden pearl earrings

sterling and Swarovski crystal dangle earrings
(Based on Kat's own design that was published in Beadwork Presents Earrings.)

"I love Paree!"
vintage components, such as Eifel Tower dangles, and hematite hardware

brass earrings with Our lady charms, mother of pearl beads, and red glass flowers

brass circle earrings with heart lock and red (siam) Swarovski crystal drops

brass and red bead dangle earrings
with vintage German flower-shaped beads

Edie Earrings
FABULOUS dangly gold and white bead earrings

Vintage Owl and wood dangles necklace

So excited to get these up!  I had a lot of fun photographing them, too!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Silver Bella, Silver Bella...

Yes, here it is. The announcement for the days for Silver Bella 2010. Some of us are anxiously awaiting more news. When is the mad rush to the telephone to sign up for classes and who are those outstanding teachers that Teresa has hinted about ? I spent half my year being excited over Silver Bella and spent the other half of the year getting over the excitement. Really this will only be the second time I have gone...but I ADORE Silver Bella. I love meeting the girly girls who drool over old lace like I do, I love the shopping...oh, how I love that! I will do more this year. Last year. I was too dazzled to buy! And the swaps, oh, the swaps...people doing their utmost work for each other. Such talent, I have never before seen such talent. The classes....incredible. I discovered that just because someone wrote a book doesn't mean they are unapproachable. Sue, e-mail me fast if you find out first! 

When I am at Silver Bella, I feel like I have finally found my tribe!


Petite Inspiration Box Swap, Nesting Edition...

Heather of Speckled Egg hosts a wonderful swap in which four players decorate large match boxes and fill them with vintage goodies. The creativity that is shown in making the match boxes is amazing. Check out the Flickr site here for a real treat...

I am always excited to see different styles that people have in their art creations.`

I participated in her Valentine Edition swap and am now ready to get busy working on the Petite Inspiration Nesting Swap. I may show you a bit of that as I go along (though I don't want to ruin the surprises) but I will show you what I did for the Petite Inspiration Box Swap, Valentine Edition...

Boxes by Suz from Katsui

I decorated the covers of the boxes with a beautiful piece of red silk velvet (hint...Fabritac is a great glue). I have a small collection of vintage Valentine's cards and was told by an antique dealer that this one was from the twenties. I love the sweet scene! I put that on two thick sheets of cardboard so it would be raised, and put German silver glitter on the sides. I had purchased hearts with German silver glitter and I placed those on different places of the boxes. I used various kinds of vintage lace to further decorate the boxes. Some of the laces were tinged with a bit of colored paint on the tips.

Box by Suz from Katsui

The inside of the boxes were painted with silver paint. I then filled the boxes with all sorts of vintage treasure. I have a lot of vintage lace which I wrapped in circles like tiny bonbons. I put a little button or flower on top of each so it would look like they were decorated. Underneath the "bonbons," I put other bits and bobs...charms, vintage papers, a set of Valentine flash cards from Cari Craft, German scrap and all manner of doodads. Everyone got a plastic box of vintage beads, as I have quite a large collection. I tried to include at least two of each so my partners could make some earrings.

It was a lot of fun and I am finding myself doing three different boxes this time. My partners all seemed so different so that seemed appropriate.

So today is the day I really get busy on these. Onward and upward!


Monday, March 15, 2010

This is incredible...and extremely easy

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Rated : 
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Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 10 minutes Bake: at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes 
  • 1  package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3  cup hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
  • 1/2  cup sugar
  • 1  egg
  • 1/2  cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1  prepared chocolate cookie piecrust (such as Oreo)
  • 1  cup heavy cream
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  tablespoons mini chocolate chips


1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, hazelnut spread and 1/4 cup sugar. Beat on medium for 3 minutes or until well blended. Add egg and 1/4 cup hazelnuts and beat until blended. Pour into prepared piecrust.
3. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until center is just set. Remove pie from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
4. Once pie has cooled, beat heavy cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla on high speed until medium peaks form. Spread over pie and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips.

I got this from this month's Family Circle magazine and served it at our Mother-Daughter Book Club. Wow! I thought it was great. And it took me about ten minutes to make. I actually made two of them, worried that I wouldn't have enough. It was very rich and served the eight of us present with leftovers. I gave the pie to my friend, Barb, who has many hungry young men at her house. I'll find out their verdict on Wednesday night.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm Late!!! I'm Late!!!

For a very important date! Oh dear, Karla Nathan's Alice in Wonderland Tag Swap was due yesterday. I even got a call from my friend, Donna, asking for Karla's address and still didn't catch on. I was busy wrapping little gifts for Karla and her daughter, Sugarwings, and putting different colors of tissue on the package and different kinds of ribbon. Oh, you know the play that we do!!! When I realized that, right then, March 10, was the due date and I had one hour to get to the post office (and had not taken pictures!) I had a mini-breakdown. The biggest hurdle was the pictures. Kat was here and came to my rescue.

I had a lot of fun doing these tags and trying to be "just a little different." My goal since Silver Bella has to try to push myself a little bit farther and do my best work.

As luck had it, I found four wallpaper books at my new favorite store, Art Scraps, in St. Paul. I would guess they are from the seventies and but one had some nice "old fashioned" blue paper that just matched my Alice's...yes, there are two. I am slowly gaining some "real" vintage wallpaper but not enough to use. I am hoarding it!

Here is a picture of both sides of my card, 
with an old illustration of Alice and one 
from the new movie. 

This picture better shows some beautiful antique dishes I own. The one on the left was painted by my great-grandmother, Rose Daniels, about a hundred years ago. I simply love the shape. The china on the right is Limoge which I inherited from my Nana Carol.

This is a nice "melange" that Kat did. You can see the old lace at the bottom. I am becoming a lover of old lace and old embroidery. The lace on this piece is so very fine and beautiful!

Here is the front, which says.
"Mirror, Mirror on the wall.
Who's the fairest Alice of them all?"
I used a little literary license here...we get to be creative, right?
Then there is the lovely mylar mirror. I got a big sheet from Art Scraps for one dollar! This stuff is a bear to work with, though. It picks up any little fingerprint, dust scratches it, so on, so on. But it looks rather cool here!
And here is the "new Alice." It says (from the book)
"You are Absolutely Alice. I would know you anywhere"
I added the,"ME" So, I guess she is the fairest. At least this was my opinion at the moment, especially when I saw this phrase. 

Whew! It is off in the mail. I am only wishing I saved one for myself...I never seem to do that. I sent a book to Karla and her grandaughter, Sugarwings. Not before I used the book for Karla to copy that 
"new Alice." 

Thanks, Karla!
(And thanks, Kat, for the photography help. You are a gem!)


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Weekend at the Abbey

Jud, Kat and I spent the weekend at Collegeville, MN and got in on two wonderful treats. First of all, Jud and his co-facilitator, Laura Kinkead, did a very thought-provoking retreat called "Are You Living The Life That Wants To Live In You?" Jud and Laura both studied under Parker Palmer, a Quaker writer and teacher, and learned his techniques of "deep listening" and the technique he calls a Clearness Committee. In this process, the focus person picks a problem and their committee members (three or four people) must only ask problems which are "open and honest"...basicially, you can only ask any question in which you are not sure of the answer and it can not be a "leading question." You meet for several hours over this issue. I was really deeply touched by the way in which the focus person is able to figure out their own answers with this kind of support. It was also the first time I have seen Kat in this kind of professional situation since she started her social work program and she did me proud! Always interesting to see them become adults. Jud also did a great job. It was interesting how many people came simply because he was leading it.

We then got in on a second treat. The monks at this Abbey are the first group in five hundred years to do the Bible in calligraphy and illumination and we got a special viewing.  Here is a site that will tell you more about it. It does a better job than I would!


We came in a little late and the attitude was one of reverence. Here is a picture of me looking at one the the pages. Kat, of course, took all the pictures. 

The room was darkened, which really made all of the illuminated pages stand out. This was one of my favorite pages, "And The Word Became Flesh." It doesn't begin to capture the beauty of the work but you can get the idea.

This was another which is an abstract picture of the loaves and fishes. This picture, like many in this Bible, has "spider-web"shaped forms at the edges, which were influenced by pictures of nebulae. 

I was surprised how modern the pictures were, but they used ancient methods of grinding minerals, including lapus lazuli, to make the pigments and used various methodolofy to gild the pictures in real gold. 

Nice weekend. A wonderful group. Beautiful surroundings. A room on the lake. Great homemade food. Very hard beds. In that way, I would not make a happy monk. All else was terrific!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Annual Woman's Retreat

This is my dear friend, Donna, and I. We have just finished doing the "Chicken Dance." Why, you ask? The answer is simple...it was part of the frivolity of our annual woman's retreat, of course! Just a bit of nonsense that we add to an annual retreat that combines spirituality, arts and crafts, great food, walking in the beautiful outdoors and is held at a wonderful center in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.

Last year, our theme was "Nesting." We like to love to decorate to match our theme (us being Silver Bellas and all ;-)) and even have all the accoutrements match (the file folder, the name tag, the journal, the pencils, etc. etc. etc).  This lovely banner was made by Hope Mallott, my swap partner in the banner swap hosted by Kari Ramstrom, Artsy Mama. It was part of her wonderful "A Year Of Color."

Our "serious time" included journaling, discussions, music and poetry around the life cycle of the bird (metaphorically, us as women).We ended with discussions about leaving this world, including the great tunes, "Why Walk When You Can Fly" and" I'll Fly Away." This is me being serious...

In the evening, us Mama Birds, had a Mamma Mia dance contest, followed by the movie. That's where the chicken dance came in (we didn't win but we thought we were pretty cute). 

This is our tenth year of doing the retreat and it will be held in (gulp) five weeks. We are busy getting ready. Donna flew in (like a bird-haha) last week to help plan for "Walk In Beauty." We spent five days busily planning, making assignments for leading sessions, discussing and making lists for "fitting crafts" and tearing our hair out when it didn't seem it fit together. In the end (as is typical) all turned out well. Donna left on Monday (I was so sad as were the furbabies who were treated to daily walks). We both have a lot of work to do but I trust it will all fit together. I will fly to Rapid City several days before the retreat. This year (for the second time), Kat is going to assist us. We are so pleased. She is so creative, fun and a great help. 

I promise I will have pictures...you can trust that some will be really funny!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Score! Our weekend finds!

We hit quite a few estate sales and our favorite antique mall, the Mall of St.Paul, this weekend.
These are a few of our jewelry related finds (hopefully paper ephemera will come in a later post!)
(This feels a little like an "I spy" picture... maybe I'll make a game of it.)

And close-ups!


This is what makes a house a home...