Thursday, December 30, 2010

at present

This is how I feel.

{via the angry knitter, with whom I totally sympathize}

I have the needles (size 15).  I have the yarn (super soft boucle). I have the pattern.  But I can't do a purl stitch to save my life.  I've watched two videos and read five sets of instructions and really just need someone to show me how (Oma, want to make a trip to my little town?  I know you know how to knit like no other!  Kat, you can come, too) to actually do these stitches.

Or someone can come and tell me that I'm crazy to attempt an intermediate level project when I a) don't know a purl stitch and b) can't even knit a full scarf without randomly dropping stitches.  I suppose I'm hoping that if I take on a project to make something I'd actually like to make (a wrap), then I'll actually finish it, something else I am notorious for not being able to do.  Oh, yes, I can be an angry knitter.

I do believe this is why my mother told me never to start a new type of craft after nine at night.

the world is so small

I popped onto Etsy this morning and spotted the featured seller...

Featured Seller: box64studios :: Etsy Blog

and get this, her husband works at the university where I started college.  I've met them, and never knew that she was such an artist.  That's the neat thing about this online world--you can find out that someone you are just acquainted with is interested (and a million steps ahead) in the same things you find enjoyable and delightful.

Yeah, it's a small world after all.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a wintery how to: Annekata's Garbo hat

I always find the best tutorials on Kathrin's blog.  I think she would be an entirely interesting person to meet and sew with for an afternoon.  I feel like I could learn so much!

annekata: Greta Garbo and How to Make a New Hat


I have some scraps of upholstery fabric that would be great for this project, bought from a remnants table that was sold $3 a pound some time ago.  Wouldn't it be fun to make it from a patchwork and pair it with a scarf made from the same scraps?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

a little bit of miniature flowers

My in-laws gave me this neat set: Mini Origami Flowers by Joost Langeveld...

...and I made a little cluster of roses.

It was surprisingly easy (my past efforts at origami have been less than impressive), and looks really sweet.  I liked that the paper was provided--this meant I could get going on a set right away, rather than waiting to go buy some origami paper.  Now I have flowers that will not set a chain reaction of sniffles, itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and empty boxes of tissues and hand sanitizer and a shortage of cough drops.

(Yeah, that's why we had silk flowers in our wedding.  They were also gorgeous, thanks to the sweet (and affordable!) creative florist at A Touch of Elegance.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas

It is Christmas again.  All the gifts are wrapped (almost), the food is made, and we have the treat of snow on the ground (first time in years here).  It's cold and it's bright for a day of joy.

I approached today thinking of all the fun of watching everyone open my gifts, and eating piles of delicious food, and, well, opening a few presents myself (motivated somewhat by curiosity, I do have to say).  I am now thinking how lucky I am for this last year.  My family has grown by the addition of my in-laws, my husband has a great job to start as soon as he graduates, I've graduated and have a job, and my life is full of love and loved ones.  Today, perhaps more than on Thanksgiving, I am grateful, because for some, this holiday is full of sorrow.  I ask that you keep an old friend of mine in your prayers; she and her family were in a horrible car accident.  They lost someone they love and suffered many injuries, and they will all be spending some time in the hospital.  Pray they will have peace; or, if you don't pray, please just hope.

Give great hugs to all that you love, and cherish those moments of joy when they open a gift that tells them you love them and were thinking of them.  Today is to be treasured.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #22

It's gift wrapping crunch time!  Check out this round up of free printable gift tags on Creature Comforts.  Even when you're in that last minute rush to get everything under the tree for everyone you love, you can make a simple bit of wrapping or packaging personalized and sweet.  All you need is a printer, paper, and a pair of scissors.  I'd also grab a bit of twine or double stick tape to attach the tag.  My presents have these little tags, attached with baker's twine I bought from Packagery on Etsy...

{a blurry shot is the price I pay for leaving my actual camera at my parents' house and have to use my phone...but that's from the stamp I made from an eraser}

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #18, 19, and 20...

and 21 just for kicks...

{via Dottie Angel}

Oh, how behind I am!  Life has been so busy.  I graduated (summa cum laude! even if it won't post on my transcript due to a rule about having at least 60 credit hours at my university), visited lots of family, got beat twice by a comeback from my parents in Rook, welcomed the in-laws for good food and the most entertaining game of Apples to Apples ever played (don't play a card when you're the judge, Gram! ;) ), wrapped Christmas presents, and put in as many hours as I can fit into three days at both of my jobs.


Anyway, here's a link to a project from Mrs. Eliot Books, a tutorial for making your own stamps from erasers that I followed and used for Christmas gift tags from Creature Comforts (so add making a rubber stamp to the list above), some pretty paper stitched stationery from Design*Sponge , and a felted sweater banner from Dottie Angel (you have to scroll down a bit to get to the tutorial itself).

I suppose that qualifies as a round-up, don't you?

Now, to sleep.  Goodnight world!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #17: double dose!

Today's post comes from this Wednesday's DIY posts on Design*Sponge, which I've referenced only about a million times before.  I'm sure you've seen it, actually, but I couldn't help spotlighting it because it's got two terrific how-to projects by Marnie of Elk Accesorries.

The crescents sound heavenly.  I love mixed nuts in baked goods, but I wonder if you could sub in peanuts for someone with a nut allergy (like my mom).  If life doesn't take over, I'd like to make these for the round robin dinner my parents are planning after Christmas.

Meanwhile, as the little treats bake, you can make an adorable gift bag that, like the other gift wrap ideas featured so far, are reusable.  Wrap the food in wax paper and voila, you have a perfectly lovely gift!

So, head on over and see the how-to.  It's an easy-looking recipe, and the story of its origin is so sweet.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #15: two bite pumpkin pies

The WordPress homepage featured this tasty looking recipe by Laurel of Bake Me More and I thought it'd be fun to switch from crafts to kitchen do-it-yourself projects, especially since it's about to be holiday party time.

Doesn't it look delicious?

Etsy :: Taste Test - give it a try!

This is pretty cool. View my results:

via Etsy :: Taste Test.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

holiday DIY of the day # 15: ruffly headband

And, once again, we're visiting Heart of Light for a tutorial.
I made this once before, when I was testing out ideas for bridesmaids' gifts, and it was both fun and easy.  I think it'd be an adorable gift or perfect to wear to a holiday party.  Time for the scissors and thread and fabric scraps!

Here's the how-to and a picture of the finished results.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #14: can't forget the stockings!

I cannot believe I got this far into Christmas projects without Christmas stockings.  C. and I don't have a fireplace, but I do believe we need some stockings in our little place.  We could hang them above the microwave, or below the vents (I mean, heat comes out of those places, right?).  Our parents still have our stockings, and we'll be visiting each for Christmas, but there really should be something here in the meantime...

These stockings are too adorable.  They remind me of my childhood days in Wauwatosa, the days in which I was obsessed with all things Swedish (thank you, American Girl dolls) and even celebrated St. Lucia's Day.  My ever-crafty mom even made me a St. Lucia's Day dress of white cotton, which got passed along to friends and cousins and still exists somewhere, I'm sure.

Now, back to the DIY, here it is!  I found the pattern through Dottie Angel's link to Whipup.  I haven't gotten through much of Jenny's site yet, but I think you'll enjoy the bright colors and jolly nature, even if it is a bit overwhelming for neutral-hue-loving folks like myself.  Everyone needs a bit of brightness in their day, no?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

happy haulidays from Chronicle books...

This adorable blog won the happy haulidays giveaway--but I've got a little promo code to share with you.  Use it for free shipping and 35% off your purchase from Chronicle Books by December sixteenth (*hint/nudge to anyone looking for a graduation present for a certain English major*).

Here's the code: HAULIDAYS.  Head over to Chronicle Books to see what delights you could use your discount on!*

*I recognize that I ended a sentence with a preposition, but according to the great Dr. Strait, my Brit Lit professor freshman year who I believe knows everything, it is actually acceptable to do this.  Furthermore, language change is interesting, and grammar is separate from comprehensibility.  Yes, I am this nerdy.

holiday DIY of the day #13: ornaments

These little toadstool mushroom ornaments are too adorable.  I found them via Jade's blog.  She's the founder of Craft Hope, which I posted about here.  The project is from an adorable holiday book put out last year by Lark.  Wouldn't they be fun to make for a Mario fan?

Click on over and enjoy!



Monday, December 13, 2010

a look out the window



holiday DIY of the day #12: another reusable gift wrap idea

Burdastyle is a seemingly bottomless collection of people who love to sew and the great projects they make.  All patterns found on the site are open source, meaning you don't get caught up in a whole bunch of crazy copyright confusion.  This project is culled from the recycled/pattern section.  This project isn't particularly difficult, either, so it can be whipped together last minute when you run out of wrapping paper or decide you don't want to use it anymore.

Here's the how-to and a little picture.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #11: sublime stitching

Here's another project via the Modcloth Blog!  It's not entirely holiday related, but it looks so fun, and would be great for making a gift for a friend or sister (I know my little sister is getting something along these lines).  This download is exclusive to ModCloth, and because it's a PDF, I can't attach a picture of the project itself, but here's a peek at some of Jenny Hart's products...


Fun, no?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #10: unraveling a letter

Paper'n'stitch is a handmade exhibition site curated by Brittani, who also runs a nice blog along with posting beautiful collections of shops.  The Paper'n'stitch blog has a fun bunch of tutorials, all beautifully photographed often easy.

This project would be great for your gift wrap--wouldn't it be sweet to receive a package with ribbon personalized just for you?  If you want to give it a go, click your way to Paper'n'stitch and see how simple it is.


Friday, December 10, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #9: tinsel wreath

This project couldn't be easier and it's so pretty and shimmery! Abi of Vanilla and Lace is quite clever, I must say. I found her blog via ModCloth and plan to visit regularly. Take a look, then make a wreath if you so desire!

a wee little bit of new style...


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday DIY of the day #8: free printable & an idea

Today's post comes to you from my browsing on Creature Comforts.  Ez always collects a distinct style of images and products that are pleasing to the eye and comforting in a warm way, and this free printable definitely manifests that pleasantry.

Now, I'm about to graduate (seven days!) with a Bachelor of Arts in English from a school whose mascot happens to be this bird...

{by Lisa Rupp}

I have a little bitty cardinal sitting in my Christmas tree, but it could always use a friend.  Head on over to That's Happy and see the download, along with more pretty pictures of how you can use them!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #7: felt gift wrap

It's so easy to produce loads of waste over the holidays between presents, packaging food to take to parties, decorating, and, well, lots of things.  Rachel at Heart of Light has a clever--and definitely pretty--way of reducing the massive amounts of paper one can go through during the holidays with reusable felt gift wrap.  With just some quick stitches, maybe two minutes of work on a machine or a few more by hand, you can have these nice pouches to carry your gifts in.  Felt is also great for protecting gifts that are more fragile and the time put into the packaging can make even a simple gift more meaningful.

So head on over here and take a look, then try some yourself!

{image via Heart of Light}

feeling special

thanks to Shelby, I found this great site, and thought I'd tip off the that's my name! On that page!  And my little blog!

{screenshot of proof}

I love the English Muse.  You should pop over and take a look and laugh at what Elizabeth Bennet's inbox may have looked like.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


check out the current craftster challenge...

mine is merry christmas, come on in.

pardon the photos; the light has been terrible here lately, which means my not-always-stellar photography was further inhibited.

vote for me!

holiday DIY of the day #6: maya*made

Maya*Made is an interesting blog always graced with a pleasing dash of wintery photos these days.  Yesterday, she shared a tutorial for making fingerless gloves from the Craft Hope book.

{image from here; designed by Besty Greer}

I don't know if you've heard of Craft Hope, but the idea behind it is pretty wonderful.  Make things for others.  Sell handmade to raise money for Haiti post-earthquake.  Sew pillows that will be given to kids in the hospital with cancer.  The book is part fundraiser, part collection of projects and means of making those projects for a purpose.  Each project includes a related charitable organization.

So I was quite delighted to see this project shared--makes me want to own the book even more!  I'm a terrible knitter (zero patience), but if you're more interested, take a look here and jump on in to a pair of fingerless gloves!


Monday, December 6, 2010

holiday DIY: a Chronicle Books wish list...

Chronicle has some of the most terrific titles in craft/handmade books and a whole host of fun design.  So, if you're looking for creative projects and some great inspiration, I'd check out their titles.  Right now, they're running a giveaway of up to five hundred dollars' worth of their titles.  *cue dropped jaw*  You could win a lot of crafty ideas, how-tos, and inspiration.

To enter, visit here or leave a comment on this post and be sure to include some of the titles you'd love to own.

Here's my list, in no particular order...

1. Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living ($29.95)

2. Birds, full of colorful illustrations (16.95)

3. Papercraft (I used one of the sample templates to make a gift box decoration for my front door, which you will see tomorrow) ($19.95)

4. DIY Fashion. I'd really like to start making more of my own clothes. (24.95)

5. Sukie Iron-on Craft Pad (14.95)

6. Treasured Notions would be great to look at (don't you love the photo), and I've got plenty of lovely notions just waiting for a worthy project. (24.95)

7. Stencil 101 Journal.  I love stenciling and will probably do a lot of it when we no longer live in a rental (paint plus carpet is probably a bad idea here) (12.95)

8. To further demonstrate my love for stenciling, I'd need Lotta Jansdotter's Stencils.  I got it from the library once and made the curtains that hang in our windows. ($24.95)

9. I also got Lotta Prints and loved that, too.  That's how I figured out how to make the stencil. (19.95)

10. I have the Folk patterns (I used them on here), but I'd love the Flora set, too. (24.95)

11. Handmade Nation. This book on the emergence of the DIY culture looks really interesting to my sociologist side (ok, so it's more like the sociological strain of literary criticism, but still...) (24.95)

12. back to DIY clothes...Pattern Magic looks wonderful. (24.95)

13. I've posted about it on facebook, but probably not here...I cannot even begin to say how much I love what I've seen of The Exquisite Book.  I almost bought it already, but that was before we knew Cory would be employed upon graduation--and when my hours at work were getting cut.  Now, however, I may have to make the purchase. (29.95)

14. This is NPR, since everyone in my family listens to the station (myself included) in our area. (29.95)

15. I've been meaning to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for some time. (12.95)

16. Which can only be followed by Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.  I think Jane Austen would be both appalled and highly delighted by these twists on her classics. (12.95)

17. I adore Audrey Hepburn and would own this title, along with many others, if I had heaps of money. (45.00)

18. This could be helpful when it's Time for Dinner in our house and I'm stuck in a cooking rut, which is a lot. (24.95)

19. I'd love to keep Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free on hand to make tasty treats when my family's dear friends (the kids were in my wedding) come over, so that everyone can enjoy the food. (24.95)

20. The Art of the Slow Cooker has a very accurate title.  I haven't gotten too far past the chili and potato soup levels of slow cooker dinners. (24.95)

21.  I love labels and stickers, and these Oh Joy! Labels and Stickers are no exception (10.95)

22. Last, but not least, I could not resist picking up a softcover Moleskine journal (17.95)

Total: $499.90.  Yikes!

Feeling inspired?  I always do after a little bit of browsing at Chronicle books.

Check it out for yourself!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #4: super simple paper stars

These are from one of my most favorite blogs--Annekata.  Kathrin creates a terrifically unique source of inspiration and tutorials, and I thought you'd enjoy this one.

I slightly modified this tutorial to make a little decor to hang on the piece of twine that held fall decorations until I had time to make some wintery ones today.  I needed mine to be flat, so the centers are a bit square shaped, but hung at an angle to make it work.  Here are the results!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

christmas whatnot banner: the results

inspired by Dottie Angel's banner of Christmas glee (as previously posted here)

These pictures are deceptively light.  It's really been an icky gray and chilly day outside.  Inside, though, I've been hanging up Christmas cheer, more of which you will see tomorrow.  I do hope that the sun comes out, but alas, I think winter gray is going to hang over us for a few more days at least.

Friday, December 3, 2010

coming soon...





{pretty printer paper + tea-dyed hang tags + My Underwood via FontSquirrel}

holiday DIY of the day #3: rustic star ornament

This pretty thing was found on the great creative compendium that is Craftster.  While the creator of the project used copper wire, I think it could be made out of a variety of materials--she just notes that you should stick to something that would be easy to bend and hammer.  I'd have to skip the hammering part.  I don't think the neighbors would like it too much.

Rustic star ornament in about 15 minutes - OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS



Thursday, December 2, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #2: wool felt wreath

I don't think I quite have the patience (at the moment) to cut out each leaf by hand, but the result is simple and pleasing.

When it comes to holiday decor, I think that a clean, uncluttered look is best.  I'll laugh at Christmas kitsch and think it adorable, but when it comes to actually hanging a wreath, I think Rachel has it right.

Heart of Light: Christmas wreath 2010



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

holiday DIY of the day #1

Ready for a countdown to Christmas?

It's the last day of November, and there are twenty-five days until Christmas.  I'm going to find a fun DIY project for you every day until then, and perhaps (if the clouds would just clear and give me some photographably useful light) post the whatnot garland that will soon hang from the wall of our living room.

For today, I took a little adventure to Nice Package and came across these...

babalisme: Art Swap : Continued

{if the picture doesn't show, click on that little blue box with the question mark.  I'm having some technical difficulties at the moment}

I believe these darling little ziploc bags would be too fun to replicate as an easy and personalized way to deliver edible Christmas gifts.  I'll be trying my hand at one later, though I believe it may end up on my desk as a storage option. Most baked goods don't make past C. or me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

today on etsy's Storque...

Isn't this a lovely home?

Get the Look Decor: Modern Meets Rustic :: Etsy Blog.


The image of the trees through the window makes me want to travel back to Poland--the camp where we worked was a few hours from Lodz, with similar scenery.  I remember a lot of beautiful buildings, just all over lovely design, in the towns we drove through.  Some had been there hundreds (even a thousand) of years), some just a few, all in an interesting mix.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

ventures into the blogosphere :: the whatnot banner

Now, any lover of vintage and handmade is liable to stumble across dottie angel

I do believe I would like to make this garland for a bit of Christmas decor.

I do already have the clustery not-quite-crochet garland already, I know, but I think that one will be wrapped around the little bitty tree we'll be setting up.  If you're interested, too, here is the how-to.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

have a laugh


Today, we're having chicken, stuffing, and mashed potatoes before I head off to work.

Then we're enjoying some wonderful meals with our families and friends this weekend.

I hope you enjoy your holiday!


(expect more regular posting starting soon)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

lately (november edition)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I have to work on Thanksgiving day (:(), but I do get the weekend off, at least.  Then it's time for the absolute fun and chaos that is preparing for Christmas, graduation, and getting into grad school before January!

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about making this today...

(by Martha, who else?)

and I've pulled this good old friend out of storage...

Can you see me beneath the snuggie knock-off (that's much warmer and nicer looking, thank you very much)? I promise I'm in there!

Once I manage to get this whole paper written, I'll be in Christmas craft mode.  I plan to only give handmade gifts this year--made either by me or purchased.  I have ZERO desire to enter the fray of stores and malls until after Christmas.  There is no need to put myself through that.  I'd much rather turn to the wonderful Gifted magazine, by Ez of Creature Comforts, and use it as a guide to lovely and thoughtful gifts.

Perhaps I'll try my hand at a good-gift round up?  We'll see.

Monday, November 15, 2010

ventures into the blogosphere: the English Muse

I guarantee you will smile about this.  It's so very, very fun!

And Now Presenting: Jane Austen on Facebook | English Muse




Now, go visit her blog and enjoy delightful posts about all sorts of interesting things, including what your newsfeed would look like if Romeo and Juliet had facebook....



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

tasty slow cooker potato soup

it's soup-er (sorry! couldn't resist)!

-about five medium potatoes

-a third of a cup neufchatel (or other low-fat) cream cheese

-two cups of milk

-half cup each of at least two shredded cheeses (I used pepper jack, cheddar, and mozzarella)

-a tablespoon of butter

-seasoning to taste

Boil the potatoes until they are soft.  Put everything in the slow cooker and let it sit on low for four hours or high for a bit less.

word of advice: do not slice finger with vegetable peeler when removing potato skins.  It hurts a lot.

It's sooo tasty!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

slow sunday.

-finished Snow Falling on Cedars

-started foundations of language paper

-wrote annotated bibliography for said paper

-cleaned up my virtual desktop (maybe I should take on the real one)

-thought about sewing (maybe I will)

(the background is from Oh, Hello Friend, available for download)

Do you ever pause and think of just how interesting language is?  It's this great big complex system through which we somehow communicate, full of meaning and purpose and depth and yet so arbitrary, for words, speech, and grammar are constructed.  We could decide, suddenly, to develop a whole new system.  I could begin blogging in a new set of symbols, signs, a new vocabulary, and still mean the same thing, even if you did not understand it.  Does that just strike anyone else as thoroughly incredible and moderately incomprehensible?

Friday, November 5, 2010

fly away (a flickr field trip)

I'm tired.  It's been a busy week and my term paper is going to take up a lot of time this weekend, so here's an image to keep right in the mind's eye today.



have a happy and restful weekend-

Untitled62 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

and I'm back.

I'm here, still thinking, still feeling creative...sometimes. :)  It's been a rather dry spell, but the lovely weather that's come our way is certainly brightening up the creative wheels.  Tomorrow, November begins.  How quickly the year has passed!  In just a few weeks, Cory and I will have been married for half a year.  Time flies when you're having fun--and/or you are busy.

These are all I have to show crafty-wise for the last couple of weeks.  My poor Janome is probably feeling rather neglected at the moment, since I've been in a bit of an uninspired mode and no sewing projects have come to pass.

I've just made this...

to be worn at work tonight for the fun of was a ten minute+glue drying time last minute halloween idea...

and this baby took forever, but turned out lovely.  My plan is to use it for Christmas decor--this plus some paper snowflakes dangling from the loops on the wall?  maybe.  I'd hang it across a fireplace, if we had one. I think I'm going to like crocheting, once I figure out how to do something besides a foundation chain and these loops.

Monday, October 25, 2010

the little bit of crafting

I've been busy.

family, school, work, travel, and a very exciting opportunity for Cory that we're hoping to hear more about soon...

but I've snuck in a little bit of yarn and a crochet hook and, in spite of the fact that I know nothing in crocheting besides laying the foundation chain, I've gotten almost halfway through a rather fun garland.  I bought the yarn on clearance for ninety cents last spring, and I think I'm getting a bit more mileage out of it than I expected.  My few yarn purchases tend to linger in a box for ages and ages.  This is record ball of yarn to project time for me.

I'd post a real picture taken with my real camera but...the phone works, and it's fast, and I'm supposed to be researching a paper for linguistics.  I just need to choose a subject first.

Saturday, October 23, 2010




Book Sculpture in Prague National Library | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Oh yes.  Would you please take me there?  I would like to live inside.