Friday, December 31, 2010

thoughts on the new year

Here's what I am not interested in - fooling myself. The wisdom that all 37 of my years has given me tells me that making a big intimidating resolution as you start the new year is almost always a recipe for disappointment. I for one don't want that kind of pressure right out of the gate. (there's always room for and need for personal improvement of course - but on January 1st??). I believe in resolutions, don't get me wrong, I just think they should be FUN. Why not start the new year in a positive and exciting way rather than with a big sigh and a "well, here goes nothin'".
So, this year I am resolving to wear more lipstick. If I wear lipstick 4 times in 2011 it will already be more times than I wore it in 2010 so I think I am setting myself up for success here, folks. I might as well just admit to everyone right here and now that I tend to lean toward the mousy/frumpy side and my years as a stay-at-home mom have not helped me in this department. I'll never be a glamour girl or anything like that but I think a touch of color might do me good. And Vince is on board with this resolution 100% - imagine that. I am excited about this and many other possibilities that 2011 will bring. I hope it will be especially good to all of you as well!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

cover your ears

working on some updates for my blog today. some swearing has occurred. bear with me folks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

ghost of christmas past - part 2

My sister, way over on the right there, just posted all kinds of adorable photos on Facebook from our childhood Christmases. I figured I'd just let her do all the work (finding, scanning and posting) and I would just copy and paste - hey, that's what sisters are for, right? Thanks Katy! I hate to brag but can you believe how cute we were? I just can't help but smile when I see these pictures. That's me way on left in my Holly Hobbie jammies - loved those.
Christmas is so much fun with little ones around. I used to feel a little sorry for grown ups at Christmastime - boring gifts and fewer of them, so much work while we had all the fun. Little did I know that it actually gets more fun when you get to watch those tiny creatures that you love so much light up on Christmas morning. That is the real magic of Christmas.

Wishing you all a magical day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

progress in the workshop

The elves are working their tiny tushes off over here trying to get last minute gifts finished up before the big day. How about this little monster in the making? Not too shabby, eh? In my quest for an easy project for Peter to make for Adam I did have some luck. We found some pretty straightforward softie projects here and here that we used as guides. We changed a few things along the way like not turning him inside out after he was stitched and not making it symetrical.
Embellishments and finishing touches will have to wait until Adam's sleeping schedule allows so it could be tomorrow or it could be late Christmas Eve when this little guy is done - we just never know around here. I loved that this project was so open to your own design and imagination. There was no particular way it was supposed to look when it was done. When working with a very particular and sometimes fussy 7 year old with some perfectionist tendencies, this quality is essential. And me, I'm working my way through some pajama sets for the boys. Plaid cotton for the pants and then some freezer paper stenciled t-shirts for the tops. I am still sewing up the pants and have just started thinking about the tops. I suppose I had better start sketching up some ideas seeing as the clock is ticking and all.
There are also cookies to bake and maybe one more present to buy so I think we just might pull it off this year. How are your holiday preparations coming along?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

old school handmade christmas

I'm taking a trip down memory lane today and sharing some of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments. These are both so special to me because I still remember how much I enjoyed making them. The mouse up there is, let's see...almost 20 years old. That means that while my other high school friends were sneaking peppermint schnapps and doing cookies in the school parking lot to celebrate the season I was happily stitching cute little mice. Yep, that was me.
And now I'll turn back the clock even more (another ten years or so) to when I was a brownie (it's a girl scout thing). My troop made these one afternoon and mine is still going strong. I wonder if any of my other troop members still have and hang theirs each year. And I wonder if our troop leader had any idea how many years this little guy would be around bringing back the memory of that December afternoon. And finally, I wonder what kind of amazing glue we used because I don't think those tiny felt pieces are going anywhere anytime soon.
Which handmade ornaments are your favorites?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

memory making

Zip zip zoom - there goes the Holiday Season. It always amazes me how quickly it goes by. I suppose always having my nose buried in an embroidery project doesn't help matters. These are a few of the the ornaments I made this year. Well, little thumbnails at least. I always feel weird about posting photos of ornaments that have names on them. I feel like I'm invading someone's privacy or something. That's probably silly but I can't help it. So, these are cropped versions - enough to give you a little glimpse I guess. I had fun with each and every one of these and all the rest that I made in the last couple of months. I am always so honored when someone picks me to make something so sentimental for them!

I do have a few ideas for gifts I would like to make for my own family this year for Christmas and I still think I can get them done. I just need to get myself to a fabric store - fast! Today is snow day number two so I think I'll skip it for now. Taking a three year old and a seven year old to a fabric store requires a bit more patience and zen-nature than I have today.

Hope all your handmade holiday gifts are coming along smoothly. If you haven't started one yet - go for it - you still have time and you will be glad you did!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Okay, be really quiet everyone because the boys are still sleeping and what they don't know yet is that school has been cancelled! If we don't make a sound maybe they will sleep in until, like 7 or something and I can maybe get some things done!
Sorry, I don't have a photo to share from this past weekend so I went with this cute pic of Adam from the previous week's snowstorm. You would only see Adam from the waist up in a photo from this week's storm.

I have to admit I was very surprised when I heard school would be cancelled. Yes, we did have a blizzard (17 inches of snow) but, hey, that was on Saturday, right? I am not complaining at all. It's also below zero out there so I'm sure that is factoring in as well. Yes, I'm happy as a clam to be stuck inside today. We have library books, movies, everything we need to make rice crispy treats, and plenty of coffee/hot chocolate. Yep, we're going to be just fine.

I am hoping to somehow finally finish a number of orders that are about 95% done. Why is it that the last 5% of a project seems to take the longest? I feel like I have been moving in slow motion the last few days and I'm not sure why.

Also on my "to-do" list today is to find a project for Peter. He usually opts to make rather than buy* a Christmas present for Adam and I need to track down a few options for him. The challenge to me is to find something that he can do almost entirely on his own. I tend to suggest projects that appeal to me but require an adult for a good portion of it. That sort of defeats the purpose. He made a book last year and this year I am thinking maybe some kind of stuffed toy. A really really easy stuffed toy.
On that note, off I go to sip my coffee in silence and scan the web for tutorials - what a great way to start the week!

* At this point I think this is more about not wanting to part with allowance money than it is about wanting to show his love for his brother through the act of creating something but...I'm working on him.

Monday, December 6, 2010

field trips

So, the move has been somewhat of a ... challenge and we will obviously be so glad when every part of it is done but in the meantime we are taking in all of the wonderful things the Twin Cities have to offer. One of them is the thriving, bustling, amazing handmade community. First we caught this fine event and dipped our toes into the sublime pool that is HandmadeMN. I did a little bit of shopping at Roundbottom Baby (an absolute delight!) and did some more drooling as well before it was time go.

Then we cranked it up a notch and went here this past weekend:
Holy wow! So many crafters, so much activity, so many reasons to open your wallet *wink*. We all had loads of fun and left wanting to go home and MAKE STUFF. Obviously we were inspired. I also had a little celebrity spotting when I met Alyssa of Penguin and Fish fame. Yep, you guessed it, she was very nice. I'm hoping our paths will cross again because I'm sure I could learn a lot from her.
I honestly don't know how all these artists have time to put these amazing displays filled with beautiful products together right smack dab in the middle of the busiest time of the year. I am a bit in awe of that seeing as I can't even seem to get the dishes done AND make a 3 inch Christmas ornament in the same day. Maybe I need something stronger than coffee. kidding of course.
Thanks Twin City crafters for the inspiration and wonder!

Friday, December 3, 2010

pondering life's big questions

First and foremost let me introduce our very own toilet paper roll Santa. He is adored at our house and was lovingly made by Vince's grandmother. Every year he can be found in odd places in strange poses all over the house, all season long. What can I say, we are easily amused over here.
Anyway, I thought he would make a good model for my blog post.

I'm seeking a little holiday advice today. Last year Peter (then age 6) would cautiously explain to me that he just was not sure if there really was a Santa Claus. He would end his statement with a questioning look and not usually stick around for a response. Fine by me. This year, however, the questioning look is long gone and there is more of a "gotcha!" tone to his announcement that he no longer believes in Santa Claus.

We all knew this day would come, right? I'm okay with it BUT we also have a family member who is PRIME Santa age (3!) so the last thing I want is for his big brother to squash all his Christmas dreams, right? So my question is, what do I say to Peter so that everyone can have a happy holiday?

I'm leaning toward A) "That's fine, but how about we all pretend he's real anyway, okay?"

considering B) "Are you SURE you want to go down that path?"

would rather not, but would say if I had to C) "If you ruin Christmas for your brother I swear you will get nothing, that's right, nothing." Okay, I promise I won't say that, really!

or I could just stick with my usual response D) "Really? Hmmm, interesting." But seriously, how much longer is that going to fly?