Fifteen Years & Counting

I cannot believe I started this blog 15 years ago today.

Bean & Noodle started as a Typepad blog in 2005 and is now a blog + online shop for my letterpress cards and silverware.

There are many reasons people blog. Some people blog in hopes of landing a fat book deal. Others blog about specific subjects and somehow become regarded as experts in the field. Some may actually have the expertise to back it, some just have experiences to share and a voice that makes people listen. Artists, designers and stylists blog because it’s a super user friendly way to show their work instead of a website.

Why did I start blogging? 

Mine is a more personal reason. I started blogging to share my life with the women in my family… most importantly, at that time, my mother who I met in 2004. My sister and I were reunited with our mother who had given us up for adoption in the 1970s. We had spent the three years prior to adoption with an amazing foster family, with whom we have always remained in contact. We had not seen my mother since I was almost 5, and my sister was almost 2. When my sister found her, we traveled to New Jersey to visit her for a week. We knew she’d been a musician and artist (my parents were folk musicians in the 1960s… I was born in ’65, my sister in ’67). We discovered that she had been a weaver.

This struck a chord with me as I had always been drawn to textiles and had no idea why. My sister shares our mother’s love and talent for photography. I taught myself to knit when I returned home and have been knitting almost daily since. I feel I am tapping into some genetic memory every time I pick up my needles and yarn to knit.

I won’t go into much more detail, because this story belongs to my sister as much as it belongs to me. I mention it only to shed a little light on why it was so important for me to embark on, what seemed to me the ultimate narcissistic endeavour. I mean who really gives a shit if I finally finished my alpaca shawl and that after a long, crappy day only the comfort of a simple roast chicken and mashed potatoes would feel like a hug?

I can count on one hand the number of people who do.

Facebook and Instagram lured me away from here for a while, but this past year I have found I like sharing here more than ever. I’m no writer, but I like to write and share things that I find funny, beautiful, or helpful. It’s also fun to look back at older posts. If you follow the link at the end of this post to my first ever blog posts…. you’ll find I still blog about knitting, cooking, and digging in the dirt.

Today I realize the real reason I started blogging was to show Toni that I have a good life. I am happy, have a wonderful husband, dogs and cats, that I am creating stuff all the time. That her decision did not destroy our lives.

And I pray every day that it did not destroy hers.

P.S. Check out my first ever post here

Five Things to do This Week to Make Thanksgiving Easier

Photo by Pixabay

There is a lot of menu planning, food shopping, and prep to do for Thanksgiving, even if you’re hosting a small group.

Now’s a good time to confess I hate dislike the term “Friendsgiving”. I feel it makes it seem less than, like a conciliatory celebration. We’ve been hosting friends, their friends, and their aunts since 1996, and it is no less a Thanksgiving than one spent with a family of origin. End of rant.

The real reason I am here today is as a public service announcement for the often forgotten tasks to do this week that will make your holiday less hectic.

  1. Restock bulk herbs and spices. Beat the crowds in the bulk aisle by shopping during one of your lunch breaks this week.
  2. Take those knives to get sharpened. You may have a ceramic sharpening doohickey at home, but nothing beats a professional sharpening.
  3. Iron any table linens if you plan to use them.
  4. Schedule grooming appointments for your dogs. Your guests will thank you. Just keep your fingers crossed they don’t get skunked between now and next Thursday.
  5. We like to send our guests home with some leftovers, so order to-go containers like these now.

PS. Make some no-cut fabric napkins this week, if you’re feeling crafty.

Are Paper Moon Photos the Original Selfie?

Long before Instagram people have been documenting their travels and activities with souvenir photo portraits. Photo studios were hugely popular attractions at state fairs and carnivals. The photos were printed on penny postcards and mailed across the country to family and friends… the original selfie.

One of the most popular backdrops, and one I’ve been obsessed with for years, was the “paper moon” which was often a cut-out crescent moon set in front of a painted backdrop with stars. Lovers, friends, pets, and families were often perched on the curve of the moon for the photo.

I am particularly fond of the ones with pets… but you knew that. You can see more Paper Moon photos on my Pinterest board.

Link here

Out of the Kitchen

Slowly but surely the living room studio is taking shape. I need to think a little on how to best sort and store the million little bits that I use, but I have already been able to jump in and get to work without having to haul everything out of a closet or make room for dinner prep. I love it. I highly recommend carving out your own space to make things if you can. Also, it still is cozy, if not cozier. It is now my favorite room to read, drink coffee, and write my blog posts in the morning before I scoot off to work.

The natural light in this room is perfect all day, bright and golden in the morning and softer as the day rolls on. It’s the perfect place for Olive and I to watch the parade of dogs on walks, neighbors driving their riding mowers to the gas station, and the man on the yellow bike who argues with himself all the time.

I think Bee likes it here, me too.

Hatched

I stumbled across this Kelsey Excelsior Mercury 3 x 5 at an antique hop in Carmine, Texas.

I discovered Hatch Show Prints on a 1999 DC to LA road trip with my sister Jessica. We’d spent the prior night in Asheville, NC and were headed to Memphis, along the way we stopped at the Country Music Hall of Fame. While the Nudie Suits were the initial draw for me, it’s the posters that had my full attention. I saw a sign that said the posters had been printed locally, and told Jess we needed to head there ASAP. Jim Sherraden was our tour guide. I was hooked. I could not get the presses, the wood type, and the smell of the ink out of my mind for the rest of the road trip. That road trip and accidental visit to Hatch is what inspired me to learn to print and get a publishing job. True story.

I’ll be firing up Bee this week to print some letterpress cards. Look for a shop update soon.

To learn more about Hatch Show Prints click here

I am O-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with Bunting

Cathe Holden, Inspired Barn

I am hell bunt on draping bunting, garland, or pennants from every shelf and window frame I can get my grubby hands on. Wow, I am inspired by these lovely collage pennants. The wheels are spinning. Steve will be thrilled! He already complains there are tote bags hanging from every door knob. Let’s call them door bunting… but functional.

Look how cool this photo garland is.

Are bunting, and garland the same thing?

bunting [buhn-ting]

noun

  1. a coarse, open fabric of worsted or cotton for flags, signals, etc.
  2. patriotic and festive decorations made from such cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag.
  3. flags, especially a vessel’s flags, collectively.

garland[gahr-luh nd]

noun

  1. a wreath or festoon of flowers, leaves, or other material, worn for ornament or as an honor or hungon something as a decoration:A garland of laurel was placed on the winner’s head.
  2. a representation of such a wreath or festoon.
  3. a collection of short literary pieces, as poems and ballads; literary miscellany.
  4. Nautical . a band, collar, or grommet, as of rope.

Collage pennant and photo garland ideas found here http://inspiredbarn.com/2019/03/studio-pennant-bunting/

This watermelon bunting I crocheted is a favorite.

These two images show off bunting on the bookcases in my living room studio

Print & Tuck Valentines

Just a little something to make it a wee bit easier to let your family and friends know you care.

Print, fold, and tuck these cheeky valentines into lunches, pockets, and laptop bags. Print on copy paper or on card stock and slip into a 4 Bar size envelope. Be sure to print in landscape mode and at the best quality your home printer can output.

Download printable PDF here.

It’s only been a couple days since we turned off the air conditioning and already I’m consumed with thoughts of apple desserts, printing christmas cards and planning for Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe for Apple Fritter Cake, think about that for a minute…apple. fritter.cake. I’m curious about this recipe, I mean everyone knows the best part of an apple fritter is the crunchy fried peaks and glaze filled valleys. I wonder if being baked rather than fried will make me sad. Only one way to find out, and lord knows I have more than a few potlucks in the near future.

Speaking of potlucks…I have quite a few pieces of Potluck Tableware available at The Owl thru the Holiday Season. For those of you not planning a visit to Elgin in the near future… I will have some available by this weekend when I update my Etsy shop. As always, special orders are welcome.

I’ve recently added a handful of recipes to this blog. They are mostly recipes for potlucks and special occasions that I felt paired nicely with my Potluck Tableware… everything from smoky pimento cheese to my absolute favorite cornbread dressing. I’ll be adding more recipes as the seasons go round and round.

I have plans for a pile of vintage (and not so vintage) tablecloths, but not until I am finished with printing holiday cards. I’ve been printing, folding and packaging and will be selling those shortly.