Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#duranduran (and a little Prince)

This is a late post but the past few weekends have been busy around here! Also, the Atlanta Spring weather has been perfect & I never want to be sitting in front of a computer when the sun is shining with no humidity...or mosquitoes. :-) 

But, it's still beautiful outside & here I sit in front of my computer to write all of this because I want to remember. 

Fun times are important to remember.

Good times!


A little while ago, Google Play offered a free download of Duran Duran's new album (are they called albums anymore?) Paper Gods - the title track is brilliant! I downloaded it & then kinda forgot about it - which was stupid because it also features Janelle Monae & Nile Rodgers (check out this song here).

I was driving to work, shuffling songs, when one came on I didn't recognize.  My first thought was I didn't download this, & then Simon LeBon's voice kicked in & happiness kicked in & I smiled all the way to work. And this song got stuck in my head - no complaints!

A bit later, my Cousin posted on FB that she got to go to their Tampa concert & met Nile Rodgers!  D2 is touring with Chic (!!!!!) & Nile is a cancer survivor. How cool is it that she got to meet him? He was super kind to her too; I will forever be a fan.

So...

 About a week later, (April 11th to be exact - 'cause I know you want to know the date too ;-) I heard a woman win Duran Duran tickets on the radio.  I didn't realize they would be in Atlanta that same week.  She was also going to the rescheduled Prince show the day before the Duran Duran concert & was super-happy. 

I was super-jealous! :-)

Prince rescheduled his original Atlanta date because he was sick the week prior, which led to Prince on a Thursday night & Duran Duran on a Friday night - the same week?!?  The 80's-gods aligned. So, yes, she was a lucky lady indeed!

I knew there wasn't a chance I could score Prince tickets, but I figured I could for D2 - all the signs seemed to be leading to going to Duran Duran.  So I did! One of my co-workers even helped me pick out seats (& parking) as he almost lives at Philips Arena & knows the deal - they were great seats!


I've seen Duran Duran in concert more times than I can remember; I first saw them at age 12 (ya'll, I am 44 now). Here is my profound thought from back when I saw them in 2000 (holds true today):



I guess I felt the need to circle it too - I was SO excited to get into the AJC Vent - anybody remember The Vent?

I could write for days on how much they mean to me & how much they influenced my taste in music.  I will spare you all my Duranie-ness except to say they were a massive bright spot.  When I listened to their music & watched their videos, I felt so much happiness (so much fun!) & like I could breathe - as if I had been breathing the wrong way my entire life & was finally learning.

Ever had that feeling? Dramatic?  Maybe, but also true.

With great thanks, many things have also made me feel this way: loved ones, books (so many books!), conversations, paintings, movies, beautiful weather, photographs, even some TV shows, & lots of songs/music - lots of things.  

Look for these things, this Breath (call it anything/any name); it's there & it's freedom. 

Yeah, I really loved them & still do...doesn't hurt they are super cute too.

I digress!

I bought two tickets & then needed a partner in crime...my Mom delivered!  She'd never seen them live so it was perfect. To say we had fun would be a ridiculous understatement; I will say my face hurt the next day from smiling & singing so much.  If I ever start forgetting things, I am going to use my D2 albums as therapy because I sang the lyrics to Planet Earth like it was still 1981!

And speaking of Planet Earth, they merged it into a great David Bowie tribute with Space Oddity.  Loved!  Chic - they were also AMAZING - did a cover of Bowie's Let's Dance. So freaking cool!

My Mom's shot of the Chic - I know it's hard to see, but it was a true dance party on that stage:

 

And one of her shots of D2:





Their show was as much about the music as it was visual art.  The set had lots of very cool video & still images than ran throughout the show.  True to form for Duran Duran.


My favorite thing of all? They mixed New Moon on Monday into the song (Reach Up for the) Sunrise.  I swooned!  Swooned! New Moon on Monday has always been my absolute favorite & they don't always include it on their playlists. Happiness!

As a part of their encore, they dedicated Save A Prayer to Prince.  They knew he had just been in Atlanta & explained he fell ill while flying back home.  They asked everyone to turn on their phones & shine lots of light to Prince.  It was beautiful.

Pretend my phone takes great low-light shots - I do love how the purple comes through:


And then, less than a week later - heartbreak. 

To Prince, thank you for so many wonderful songs. These two songs I love, love, love. I know you are at peace & happily resting in the real Paisley Park.

And, if Chic & D2 are touring anywhere near you...go! :-) 

Have fun,

ps:  In most cities, they will also send you a free copy of the new CD as part of your ticket :-) - mine arrived in the mail today:





Woot!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Home Fri: Vol 6

Cushions!

I was so inspired by this post from Oh Joy! (so cute!!!), that I decided to try & make some chair cushions too.

Using fabric samples, here are the four I made - starting with my favorite:

and the flip side:
Party in the front, business in the back!

I would have loved to have four of the above, but I had to shake it up as I didn't have enough of one sample. Plus, it's fun to shake it up!

Fronts

Backs

I really need to give that deck table some love...

All piled up & ready to go!


Instructions are included in the link above, but they are almost completely no-sew thanks to Liquid Stitch - this stuff is awesome!  Besides that, you will need:
fabric
scissors
foam cushion
needle & thread
chalk (optional) but it helped me outline the fabric before cutting

Overall, these weren't too difficult to make.  I don't think they are perfect by any means, but I love them just the same!  

I used two different fabric materials on the first one & they were a little resistant to staying glued together (I had to re-glue some sections).  The other three have different colors but are of the same material & therefore were a lot easier to glue together. Also, some fabrics fray more than others, the "bamboo" fabric (top of the pile above) shown in mine have a little fraying on the back edges, so it might be a good thing to test if this will be an issue/drive you crazy.  

Another great thing?  Get tired of the fabric or it gets worn out?  Change them up!

I hope this also inspires you to make some fun chair cushions!

Cheers,
S

ps:  Affiliate links above to Amazon - I often get my crafting supplies from them as I can find everything I need/want - and because I get lazy/love I'll have it all at my door asap! :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring!


Before Spring melts into Summer - it comes & goes too fast - here are some of the colors and beauties I'd like to remember:

Dogwoods blooming




A pretty bunch of Clementines we devoured



Azaleas



more Azaleas




Some pretties I picked up at Trader Joe's:



I love buying flowers at TJ's!  They are always a bargain & this bunch lasted almost two weeks!

Strawberries!






Pretty ground cover in our front yard (which we cannot take credit for but are super thankful to the previous owners)



Parsley that somehow survived the Winter



Watching Lilies come back



and Irises too



Taking a trip to Home Depot to plant

Basil



Mint



And oregano



A couple more shots of the Azaleas :-)





Happy Spring!

Cheers,
S

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Easter 2016: Bunny Cake!

This past Easter I got a bee in my bonnet to make a bunny cake. 

I've never made one, but as a kid my godmother used to make us one every Easter & we loved it to say the least.  What kid would not love a bunny shaped cake?  Maybe a kid afraid of bunnies, but not with this crowd!

I only had one condition/knew one thing:

It had to be covered in coconut "fur" as this was how my godmother made her bunny cakes.  Plus, I really love coconut.

From there, I hit up Pinterest & found a bazillion recipes that fit the bill. Thank you, Pinterest!

I scored a deal on cake mix at Publix - buy one, get one free - & found a Pink Velvet mix (who knew?).  I also bought a ton of candies to decorate the Fuzzy One & for the frosting, I made a classic cream cheese.  I love pretty much anything that's made with cream cheese!

What's great about this cake is that it only takes one box of cake mix & any flavor will do (or you can mix up a scratch batch).  There is also no wasted cake (a sin!!!) as both rounds will be entirely used.

Follow the box's instructions for making two round cakes. Use your favorite frosting - anything goes! You can also use almost anything you like to decorate the cake.

I baked the cake layers, let them cool, & then cut out the ears & bow tie from one of the rounds.  Again, no waste, the two ears & bow tie use an entire round.

Naked pink bunny here - avert your eyes if needed:

He looks very Playboy, no?

I very roughly measured out the width of each ear & lightly traced the cuts out before committing to a final cut.  This is a very forgiving cake design; the ears don't have to be perfectly measured out & if the bow tie isn't to your liking, you can cut it down as needed. Also, it will get a fat dose of frosting & shredded coconut, so any imperfections will be covered up.

Here he is all "fuzzed" out with the cream cheese frosting & coconut:


Applying the coconut is a bit messy, but you can pile it on & it sticks well to the frosting. I didn't have a flat tray big enough to accommodate the whole cake so I used a cutting board & wrapped it tin foil - this worked very well.

Now comes the fun part! How do you want your bunny to look? 
Pastels, primary colors, both?  
Minimalist or all-out-candy-everywhere? 
Again, Pinterest provides lots of inspiration! 

I didn't want to keep this all to myself, so I asked my sister if my niece & nephew would want to help decorate the Dude.  I was afraid they might think it was too immature for them (teen/pre-teen), but happily, they were game to help. My nephew led the decorating charge:


Ta-da!

His ears, eyes, & mouth (including a tongue sticking out) are malted eggs.  A black licorice jelly bean makes up his nose along with the sour gummy worms as his whiskers.  Sour jelly beans were used to fill in his bow tie.

The cake was a hit & I want to make another next year.  It was cute & tasted great too.  Overall, it's pretty easy to bake up & so much fun to decorate.

Cheers & Happy belated Easter,
S