Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Winter :)

It's snowing! Finally!!! We live in an area of the country that is pretty dependent on the snow for it's fiscal well-being, so I'm sure that I'm not the only one around here that's happy to see the stuff. There's just something about those big fluffy flakes that makes me smile. I love pulling out the winter boots and hats and scarfs and mittens. And dressing Sydney like she's a snowman. Gotta keep warm up here! Snow makes it all worth it. Cold for a reason :)

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzah! The holiday craziness is now past and it's time to regroup and play in the snow! It's been nice taking off a few days to pick up around the house, put away some of the holiday gifts and simply enjoy some family time. I've got a ton of stuff to post and I'll do my best to keep it short.

Oh! I forgot to thank you all for your concern re: my finger! I have reached the point of being able to take off the bandaid, but now I have a hole in the middle of my fingernail that will probably just have to grow off. The healing capabilities of the body are simply amazing... Speaking of bodies, if you ever have the chance to see
Gunther von Hagen's BODY WORLDS 2, you've got to go! We went to the show in Boston on X-mas eve morning and loved it - it's an exceptional exhibit that words can't describe!

Looking back at this past week, I have to say it was a fun one. A childhood friend, Sara, came up to visit and we did lots of baking, shopping, and catching up. She's Jewish, so I'm not sure that she's actually been exposed to the pre-Christmas craziness in the average household... Here's some samplings of the yummies:

Peanut Butter Blossoms (a tried-and-true holiday favorite):

Scandinavian Almond Cookies (sinfully delicious! Thanks for the recipe link Mom!)

With help from some house-hold props, I was able to take pictures of most of the hand-made goodies for my husband's side of the family (we celebrated with my side in NJ earlier in the month).

Apron for Stacy (From Amy Butler's IN STITCHES book) - the apron that I was working on when my machine attacked!

Zippered pouch for Auntie Lou (the picture was taken when she was 16!)

Scarf for Auntie Re (Thanks for posing Higgy!)

Frank's mom was the recipient of the patchwork purse in my last post, and his sis received some belts in handmade pouches. I loved making all of this stuff, but next year I'm going to start earlier. Yeah, right?!

Santa was good to us too - Syd received lots of educational toys and cute clothes to grow into, Frank got some warm outdoors clothes and gift cards, and I got some warm clothes as well and some lovely home-made treats from Frank's sis, Linda. Frank and I usually don't exchange gifts, but this year has been a special one, so we decided to buck tradition and get something for eachother. I had a quilt made for him from his old weight-lifting t-shirts and it is AMAZING!! I highly recommend Jill (click on her name for the EBAY link)- her communication was great and her turn-around time was really impressive. I'll take a picture of the quilt the next time I head down-stairs. As for me, Frank *really* treated me well - I've been itching for a pair of diamond stud earrings for a while, but not any more! I feel so spoiled :) (and love it!)

For Christmas day, we celebrated with some friends (Frank was on call, so we stayed local) and had a fantastic time! I've been wanting to make another brined turkey and stuffing, so I was happy to bring those along. *AND* I finally got to have my turkey leftover sandwich (I made sure to buy a HUGE bird so we'd have plenty of leftovers). Ahhh... pure bliss :) Frank thinks I'm nuts, but this is seriously one of my favorite treats of the year.

As for what's next on the agenda, I'm back to making more gifts (baby gifts seem to make up most of my TO DO list - Nappy bags, bibs, wet bags, nursing covers...) and hopefully some scrub hats for Frank. It's been a while, so I'm sure he'll appreciate some new ones.

One last thing! I'm trying my hand at forcing some paperwhite bulbs and so far, so good! I bought a kit at TARGET last month and it was super easy. It'll be nice to have some springtime in winter :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

I have a new found respect for...

my sewing machine... but not for the reasons that you might think. Sure, it's seen me through many-a-belt and bag, and, unlike my last machine, hasn't croaked on me unexpectedly (yet).. and sure, I know it's a pretty strong and sturdy machine... but I never thought that it could actually stitch STRAIGHT THROUGH MY FINGER. I have *no* idea how I did it. I was happily sewing along my merry way (making a last-minute Christmas gift of course) when I suddenly found my finger stuck under the presser foot, with the needle completely through the middle of my nail bed. My initial reaction was to stare in disbelief. Then I tried to pull out my finger. Duh. Finally figured out that I needed to raise the presser foot and needle to get my finger out. Sometime during all of this I called for my husband, who was peacefully drifting off to sleep. He met me in the bathroom and we (he) administered some quick first aide. I sat huddled on the bathroom floor, still shocked that I was actually stupid enough to do this! Frank of course said "I guess you're done sewing for the night". What?! No way my dear hubby! They really don't *get* this whole Christmas gift making thing. After we found out that my tetanus shot is still good for another year, I headed back to the craft room :) I was shocked to see that not a drop of blood got on the fabric! Maybe someone *is* looking out for me up there... Sure, it hurts like *#&! right now, but at least I got one more Christmas gift done (an adorable apron from Amy Butler's new book IN STITCHES). And I'm convinced that it would have hurt more had I stopped everything and read for the rest of the night.

I have one more Christmas gift to make, and then I think I'm done with the hand-made goodies. I've tried to get organized and bought a board to hang over the sewing table on which I am writing the various projects in my TO DO pile. Visual reminders work wonders for me for some reason. I also like to cross things off of lists - whatever the reason, it works!

Let's see... things that I've finished up this week:

* A toddler tote for Nick, an adorable 4 yr. old boy who loves Spidey and Batman. The tote has fabrics of both characters on the outside and inside pockets.

* Some belts with drawstring bags for Nick's Mom, Michelle, to give as gifts for some of her family. I used the large recipe card bag pattern that it is in IN STITCHES and it was the perfect size!

* I was able to make another of my new favorite patchwork purse (for a x-mas gift). This time I added a zipper to the top (I'm trying to get over my irrational fear of zippers).

* Some knit scarves: pictures to come. I'm bummed now b/c I was going to start working on a fun purple scarf for my niece, Jordan, but I think my finger may be out of commission for a while. Urgh. I hate stupidity.

Hope everyone's not going too nutty with the last of Christmas preparations! We finally cut down a tree today and it's in the house. It hasn't a strand of lights on it yet... we don't want to rush things!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Plan B...and C... and D...

Has it been 2 weeks since my last post?! YIKES! I know I've been busy, but that seems a tad long... Christmas prep is in full swing (although my house lacks any sign of this.... hopefully we'll get our tree tomorrow!) - presents to be made, shopping to be done... every day I wonder where the day has gone. It frustrates me at times, but I'm getting used to it - just can't get everything done that I'd like to. I was joking with my sister-in-law last week that I'm very grateful for "Plan B" and "Plan C" and " Plan D".... "Plan A" just doesn't seem to be in the cards lately. It's definitely a survival strategy - without it, parents couldn't get through the day :)

So what I have I been up to? Well, Syd managed to eat thru all the food that I had prepped for her, so I spent a good chuck of one day refilling the freezer. Check out this link for easy to make baby food - I make ~ 90% of her food and absolutely love doing it. It's easy and cheap, and I don't worry about Red Dye #10 being in her peaches.

Last week I finished up a project that I think is my favorite to date. I've been wanting to try out this pattern for a few weeks now and finally tackled it! I've made tons of bags in the past, but this one... wow.... easy, FUN, creative... a definite must try for all you purse makers out there! It's from a Japanese Bag making book called MACHINE MADE PATCHWORKS and Autum was quite kind to post her directions from the book. Here's some of my pics:

Outside Front / Back:

Inside Pocket:

Other Inside Pocket & Cell Phone Pocket:

Matching Key Fob:

The Finished Product! (I love the beaded handle - super easy!)

Mom loved the bag (we had an early x-mas celebration with my family in NJ due to my hubby's work schedule), so the project was well worth it! I'm hoping to make another one soon and take some better pics - these don't do Amy Butler's fabrics justice!

Also made up some baby gifts for a friend up here, Ann - I'm sad to say that this is the last of my favorite ladybug fabric, but I'm happy to know that it has all gone to loving homes :)

Love these bibs and burp cloths!

Friday, December 01, 2006


That's been my mantra for a few days now as I've been working on finishing up my tremendously warm and cozy BLIZZARD ALPACA Keyhole scarf. It's far from perfect, but I love every inch of it! Learned a lot along the way... how to join yarn, how to unravel stitches and get my needle back on correctly, how to figure out if I was on a K or a P row, and how to bind off with K2 P2 repeats. Probably shouldn't have tried to learn all of these new things on a *real* project, but what's the worst thing that could have happened? You can always unravel! Thanks for the pattern link Tara! I'd post a link to it, but the site has removed it :(