Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Bookworm

Greetings Y'all! I hope you had a joyful Christmas!

Ours was a relaxed, low-key affair, Sean, Ana and myself (and the dogs, of course) went up to the mountains to my brother & sister-in-luv's house. It's become our Christmas tradition, and I don't think any of us would have it any other way. It's just so nice to be with people you not only love, but really like and want to be with. To let your hair down and just hang out. Since we're spread a good ways apart, the daily grind doesn't allow us to visit as often as we want to, so I really appreciate when we have a couple of days together. Even Especially if all we do is sit around Apryl's kitchen table and eat, drink and be merry. 

I got a few really great books for Christmas that I thought I'd like to share with you guys, I'm excited by these, they're so inspirational and really get the wheels turning!

Fa La La La Felt by Amanda Carestio. This book is wonderful! I'd never seen it before, but just a couple of pages in, and I'm in love. I think a lot of next years Christmas presents will come from this book. Such great ideas!

Lola & Butch are SO not impressed. They're annoyed. Sean is at a hockey game tonight and I've banished them from the couch. Look at Butchie... he's not giving me the cold shoulder, oh no, he's giving me the cold tookis. Sheesh...

Doodle Stitching - The Motif Collection by Amiee Ray  - I LOVE this book, it's great! There are so many cute doodles contained in here. This book is going to get a ton of use for many years. The best part is that it comes with a CD containing the entire collection. This makes transferring patterns as easy as, click, print, trace. I've already printed & traced several with my new light box. In fact I'm planning on a little stitching from this book as soon as I finish this post. Yay!!

Here's the little bit of stitching I did last night. So stinking cute!
 Have I mentioned that I love Doodle Stitching?!?
Who doesn't love a mushroom cottage??
Love for Textiles from Ikea. Great photography, meant to inspire.
It does.

A very special gift from Ana (thanks baby!!) The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook!!
I'm so excited about this, and looking forward to trying a bunch of the recipes. Many of them are mentioned so often in the books that I feel like I should already know them...

Pumpkin Juice, yay!!!

Ana really hit a home run, look what else she surprised me with!
Slytherin House Blend Tea by Adiago. It's delish! I love it, even though the Sorting Hat said I was a Gryffindor. There was a witness, I'm sure she'll vouch for me.

This goodie was a prezzie I bought for myself. That's totally ok, right? 
Oh, you can't possibly imagine how much I love these guys.
Moody, romantic, power-folk! I love me some Mumfords.
Doesn't hurt that Marcus Mumford makes me weak in the knees either. Swoon.
I'd already bought this album from iTunes months ago, and I think it's so swell that I dropped another $25 on the deluxe CD set. Worth. Every. Penny.

I'm so thankful for all of the awesomeness I received, I love books. There is such great information online, and so many wonderful resources, but boy, I still love books. I think I always will.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention what I'm most thankful for on Christmas and everyday.
This guy right here.
My friend, my partner, my husband. Ten years ago on a cold Christmas morning in a tiny, little house, he asked me to be his wife. He's the gift that keeps on giving, I love you Sean ♥ ♥ ♥

 I hope you're all having a lovely holiday season, I'm extra lucky this year as I've taken a weeks vacation between Christmas & New Years. I've never done this before, and it's wonderful. I think I'll have to do it again next year.

If I don't have a chance to post again, I'd like to wish you all a 
Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Seasons Greetings Lovelies,
From my house to yours, I'm wishing you a peaceful and plentiful
very merry, little Christmas!

I have enjoyed getting to know so many of you better this year, you bloggy buddies are the best. 
 Thank you for letting me share my bits of this and that with you,
Your advice, support and friendship have been invaluable.
You are wonderful!
I am so thankful to know so many amazing, creative, talented, funny women.

I love you, muchly!

(so does my sweet Butchie boy)

Have a marvelous day, my dears!  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Cozy Christmas Cuppa


Ya know what I love about this time of year? It's cold! I don't swelter when I drink as much hot tea as I do... which is a lot. Recently I found myself poking around eBay for a new tea cozy, I have one already, but it's a wrap style and while it's super pretty, it's also very bulky and I'm always afraid it's going to tip over, taking 6 cups of scorching hot tea with it. I wanted a simple one that just rested over the teapot and didn't have to be wrapped & tied around the handle and spout like my other one. About this same time, bloggy friend and fellow tea enthusiast, Donna from My Cup Of Tea posted on facebook that she was now selling tea cozies on eBay, score! Well, I love supporting friends, especially when they're crafting things that I love and are totally functional. This was excellent!

I popped right over and found one that I liked, sew cute! A few days later, my tea was being kept hotter, longer. And much cuter, thanks Donna!!
Goes great with my new Mary Engelbreit cup! This was also a new score from eBay this season. I collect these tea cups and I've been after this particular one for years.

But wait, thats not all!! Donna also sent me a couple of really neat doodads!
Can you guess what they are?

Drip catchers!! These are sew clever. I've seen drip catchers before but they're usually cheapy disposable things. These ones are cotton and can be washed and used again and again. Much better, no?

I'm happy now, I can sit and stitch and keep my tea really hot for a long, long time.
Thanks Donna, I love it!

Pop on over and visit Donna and check out the really awesome tea parties she does, she's the nicest lady, you'll be glad you did.

Ok, I'm off - back to my cluttered little sewing desk to finish up my presents. I'm WAY behind. Yikes!

A Thing of Beauty

Hey Y'all~
I got the coolest early Christmas present yesterday and I'm so excited, I have to tell you about it straight away. It's a thing of beauty! Check it out... A few weeks ago, I asked my friend Arlen (He's an awesome crafty dude that made me this last year for Christmas) if he thought he could make me a light box for tracing embroidery patterns. They're wicked expensive, and I didn't want to fork over $100 for a nice big one. He said he thought he could, and for a lot less. I was thinking just in general terms, like you know, "someday".

Usually, I trace my patterns using the sunshine-thru-the-window method, but this time of year, when it gets dark before I even get off work, transferring patterns gets a little iffy.

Yesterday, when I went into work Arlen had surprised me - there it was, sitting on my desk! It's so much more than I expected, it's really big, it's bright, it's sturdy, it even has a toggle switch - it's awesome! Arlen rocks!

See how it glows!
My delima of tracing patterns after sundown is a thing of the past. I traced my first pattern using the light box tonight, worked like a charm!

Since I recently got the laptop, this space on my computer desk was freed up, it's a perfect spot for my beautiful new light box.

As a little Christmas treat to myself (teeheehee) I bought a pattern that I've wanted for a long, long time. The Cuckoo Clock from Wild Olive. This pattern was featured on Feeling Stitchy last week, did you guys see it over there?

OoOoh, I have plans for this pattern! It involves this fabric, squeeee!

Only two more days till Christmas, are y'all ready?
I'm not. I'm not sure if I'm going to make it this year, I'm struggling with ALL of my projects, argh!

Ok, time for nighty-night, I've got to get up early tomorrow morning and make a special batch of cookies to take to work for Arlen, he's worth a million cookies, don't you think?


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Christmas Bed

Who loves a big, comfy, cozy bed? I do, I do!

I've always wanted a Christmas bed, or rather to have my bed decked out in red & white for Christmas time. Inevitably, each year comes & goes and I get too busy or wrapped up in the hustle and bustle that comes with the holidays to make it happen... not this year!

A few weeks ago, while out shopping with Jill at Ikea, I found a this very pretty duvet set that totally fit the bill. And you won't believe the price... $14.99! Is that unheard of or what?? I thought the fabric would be of a rubbish quality for this price, but much to my delight, it's a thick cotton weight and after it was washed, it's very soft and feels terrific.

I also ran across a plain, red velvet pillow case  at Ikea for just $8. But I had a plan for it...
The very night I bought it, I popped it into a hoop and embroidered our last name initial on it. This picture really doesn't do it justice. The embroidery stands up so nicely off of the velvet. It's very pretty if I do say so myself, much prettier than this picture. Looks expensive too!

(so yeah... I can't seem to get the hoop marks out of the fabric... any pointers?)

Another great little find I came across by accident was this great, quilty yo-yo garland.
I picked this up at Kmart, for just around $4!! I think it's adorable! I could have made it myself, I suppose, but it would have taken me forever, and there's no way I could have done it for $4. Handmade is awesome, but sometimes store bought is awesome-r!

All the rest, I already had,  my favorite cotton, flannel sheets - and I just have to ask - aren't flannel sheets the best in winter?? I'd avoided them for years and finally bought a couple of sets last winter, heaven! Also added to the foot of the bed are two of my favorite throw blankets. These are both down throws, which I love because they're so puffy and warm. I don't remember where I got the red one on top (Target maybe?) it's been a few years, but it was a cheapy - definitely wasn't more than $10. The one on the bottom is from the Martha Stewart collection from Macy's. Several years ago, I bought myself and my friend each one for Christmas. It's a brushed cotton that almost feels like silk, and it is hands down the best blankie in the world! It's bigger than most throw blankets, which I love because I'm tall and short blankies make for cold feetsies! Do you have a favorite go-to blankie?

Lastly two small toss pillows, one rustic and stitchy, and the other quite sparkly and beaded, totally contrasting. I like things best when they aren't to matchy-matchy.

I've been so happy the last few weeks with my "Christmas" bed, so happy, that I've actually been making the bed every morning just to see it made up when I get home, so silly... ♥ ♥

Do you do a "Christmas" bed? I'd love to hear all about it.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Hello there my friends! Jingle, jingle, jingle! Only a little less than a week until Christmas! How are you all holding up, have you finished all of your projects & gifts? I have not. Oh dear... it's going to be a race to the finish line again this year. Didn't I swear last year that I was going to start early? Ah well, it's a part of the hustle and bustle I guess. At least I'm not out there with all the crazy shoppers :o)

Sew guess what?? I finally finished quilt my first quilt! You know, the one I started back in... hehe... July? Oh boy! I didn't think it was going to take that long. Actually, each of the steps making the quilt went pretty quickly, it was the span in between each of those steps where I stalled out.

I've wanted to show you guys the finished quilt for a while, but we've had such dreary weather the last few weekends, I haven't been able to snap any decent pictures. It's totally dark by the time I get home from work every night, so the weekends are about the only time I can try for good pictures. This weekend was very cold & stormy, but for a few brief moments on Saturday, the hard rain softened into a misty drizzle and although the light wasn't great, I made a break for it.

A simple quilt. 4 inch blocks, quilted every other row (the plain rows), diagonally.

I love the colors of this quilt. Soft and pretty...

Here's my label, quilted right in to the design. I thought I'd made a mistake here, but the ladies at the quilt shop disagreed and insisted they should be incorporated this way, that way they can't come off and get lost in the years to come. I hadn't thought about it that way, so I guess I'm glad about this particular mistake.

The last step, as I'm sure you quilters know, is the binding. Gah! The binding!!

I don't know if I mentioned it here, but I took a class at a local quilting shop to learn binding application. I wanted/needed to learn to do it myself, and although there are a lot of terrific resources on the web, for me, there are just some things that have to be learned in person.

Taking the class was definitely worth the $25 tuition, but I have to admit, I wasn't exactly thrilled when I'd left the class. I really wanted to learn how to apply the binding entirely by machine. My instructor however, felt differently and would not show me the machine method. She said that the proper way to do the binding is to sew it first by machine to the front, then sew it by hand to the back. She wouldn't say why, just that that's the way its done. Hmph! I understand that machine application might not be the most professional way to finish a quilt... but I'm not a professional. I just want to make and enjoy these things, not enter them in shows. I was so put off by this, that after the class, my nearly finished quilt sat, untouched for probably a month. I'm such a brat.

Well anyway, one day a few weeks ago I decided to heck with it! I know how to sew by hand (you sort of get the hang of that when you're learning decorative embroidery...) but I don't have the patience to sit and sew a straight line (the whole goal of which is to never be seen), for hours and hours by hand. If I'm going to spend hours sewing by hand, it's going to be something pretty, like embroidery, not the fracking blind hem stitch, yuck! Oh jeez, I really do sound like a brat.

But it's truuuuueww... Ok, now I just sound whiney.

So one day I grabbed that quilt, pinned down the binding and stuck that sucker under my machine! Thirty minutes later, viola, I'm done! It's not perfect, but it's done. And in this case, I'll take completion over perfection.

So... question? Why aren't you supposed to sew the binding on by machine? Is it really so bad? I haven't received a good answer on that, but I don't know any quilters in real life. How do you guys do it? I know a lot of you are experienced quilters, so please, please tell me. Was I wrong? Do I just need to work on my patience and sew these bindings by hand? 
Overall, I really enjoyed the quilting process, and want to do more of this sort of thing (in fact I've already started two more quilts) but I don't want to get hung up on that last step which literally ties the entire thing together, and feeling like I'm doing it wrong.

Give it to me girls, I can take it.


Monday, December 13, 2010

And The Winners Are...

Hello Good People of Bloglandia!

Thank you for being so patient in waiting for this announcement (you have been on the edge of your seats, right?) I ended the Fabulous Mystery Giveaway last Sunday, and I didn't have a chance to pick a winner until this weekend. I enlisted Sean's help. I was afraid that subconsciously, I would somehow reach into the Jadeite bowl and magically draw out the names of my friends, so I made Sean do it for me. I love my husband.

I think he was pretty happy to help, wouldn't you say?
Reason number #301 why I love Sean: He's as big a goofball as me.

Here's Sean making sure to mix well.

Getting a little crazy with the cheese whiz...

Alright Sean, enough mixing already, pick a winner!

Ladies & germs, drum roll please...
Winner #1

Winner #2

Winner #3
Disclaimer: Yay, Sean managed to grab the name of one of my very best friends after all! I can vouch, this was totally legit, there was much mixing (and giggling, he cracks me up with his silly faces) in between each grab. Melissa, coincidentally just started her very own blog, pop over and welcome her to Blogland when you have a sec. She's rad and she's on a journey.

So yeah, there we are!!

Ooook, confession time. I haven't quite finished the fabulous giveaway prizes yet... yipes!
Can I use the excuse that it's December and I'm making all my Christmas gifts again this year and time seems to be disappearing faster than usual?

           Aww man, I suck. Actually, I don't have much left to do, but they're not 100% yet. Pictures to follow soon, pinkie swear! (and drat this grey, gloomy weather, it's horrid for picture taking!)

Winners, I'll be emailing you for your snail mail directions, 'cept for you, Mel. I already know where you live seeing as how we're BFF's and all :o)~

To the rest of you THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART for playing along.
You are the best, really you are.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

All Good Things Must Come To An End

(My friendly, front yard tree, going out in a blaze of glory.)

So it goes with our favorite season, so it goes with my Fabulous Mystery Giveaway.

Tomorrow after dinner, I'll be pulling the names of the winners, d'oh!
Did you see what I did there?
That's right,  I said winners, there'll be more than one! So, if you haven't already thrown your name in my big, virtual, Jadeite bowl, pop on over and leave me a comment here.

 As I'm sitting here, hurriedly making this post to you (because I'm really supposed to be showered and out of the house already) my front yard is being swarmed by do-gooders!!

No less than 20 teenage girls, are ascending down my block, giggling and armed with rakes and smiles! In a matter of about one minute, they raked my entire front yard which was blanketed, two inches deep, in golden, fallen leaves.
I had to act quick, this girls are fast! Here they are making their way back up the street.

Those girls just made my day.

Random. Acts. Of. Kindness.
Pass it on.

Love to you all.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Oh yes, the time is drawing near for the Fabulous Mystery Giveaway! I've been making very cute things for the lucky winner! Would you like a little sneaky~peaky??

Hardy, har, har! I know, I'm a regular comedian. This was my attempt at blending paint to make a color I don't have. I was going for a light aqua... mmm, yeah. Not so much. I know, I know. Color fail.

Here's a real sneaky~peaky.

Oooh, what could it be?

I have other tricks up my sleeves too (rubbing hands conspiratorially).
There's still plenty of time to enter, pop over and leave me a comment here.

This is so exciting, I love all the comments y'all have been giving me. Giveaways are fun! I'm going to have to think up some other reasons for having them, I feel like Santa!

And speaking of Santa... did you guys notice that the calendar flipped the other day? By crikey, it's December already!! Eeek, I'm no where near finished making all my Christmas gifts. I need to get busier. Has anybody figured out how to pause time yet? If so, please, do tell.