Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Musings #26

One more weekend to Christmas shop!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH. I have almost all of my shopping done - but will most likely have to brave the stores tomorrow to pick up a few last minute items. ELBOWS OUT. 

Anyways, hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with your family, friends, or whoever you may be spending the holiday with. I'll leave you with my favorite Christmas video - which I'm sure everyone has seen by now but it's always worth a second viewing!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

O Tannenbaum

Decorating the Christmas tree was one of my favorite things to do growing up. Each ornament has a story - whether it's one your parents had since they were little, one you received for your first birthday, or that ever classic macaroni ornament you made in elementary school where half of the macaroni has fallen off. It's more than just making the tree look good, it's a small history of your family. Everybody has their favorite ornament. they want front and center (mine is a Hallmark "Magic" ornament called Christmas Morning with little kids sliding down the banister) and then the few that go on the back of the tree (sorry macaroni ornament.)

A few years ago I decided to paint ornaments for my coworkers for Christmas. Michael's sells plain white clay ornaments which you can then decorate how ever you'd like.

I bought a variety of acrylic paints. They have fantastic colors - even metallic and GLITTER. Once you're done painting, you spray it with an acrylic sealer to give it a nice shiny finish.

The bad thing about this project is it can be pretty time consuming. I spent days painting all of the ornaments and then became attached so I didn't want to give them away!

While I did eventually part with most of them, I held on to a few of my favorites.

What is your favorite ornament??

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday Review: Christmas in the Nick of Time

See what they did there? NICK. heh. This week we're reviewing Christmas in the Nick of Time by Carol Field Dahlstrom. It boasts 750 easy-to make ideas. That sure is a lot!

What I Like:
* I love crafts (duh.) and I love baking, and I really appreciate books that have a hearty dose of both. This book has ideas on ornaments, centerpieces, gifts, cookies, candies, soups, and breads.
* Learning 101. At the end of each chapter, there are different "lessons" on a variety of subjects - like the different kinds of flatware. I like the lesson on soup garnishes.
* The set up of each chapter is pretty different from other books. It starts out with pictures of all the crafts/goods in that chapter and little descriptions. Then all of the instructions are at the end of the chapter. (with more pictures thankfully!). It also includes any patterns/templates you need right along in the instructions instead at the end like most other books.
* It includes some wonderful gift basket ideas. Have a friend who loves to gamble? or fix things? The gifts are all in fun containers and have a nice aesthetic layout.

I haven't actually made anything from this book yet, but it does all look relatively simple. I've realized that Christmas time is really one of the hardest to do crafts/baking because of all the OTHER stuff going on. (work parties, concerts, ugly sweater parties, ornament exchanges, Yule log ceremonies, etc.) I guess that's why they have Christmas in July!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gryffindor: Where Dwell the Brave at Heart

I made this bag for my sister for Christmas a few years back. It was so fun to make! The pattern was free on Ravelry and includes charts for all 4 houses. (I really need to make a Ravenclaw one ASAP!) Since I don't know how to sew, I bought fabric for the lining and then gave it to my sister in pieces. (Nothing like a "some-assembly-required" present!)

Here's what it looks like on the inside once she sewed in the lining. This bag definitely combines 2 of my loves - Harry Potter and Fair Isle! It was nice to only have to deal with 2 colors. The bag is actually quite big. Not Hermione's-purse-big, but it could hold a wand and few spell books for sure. 

Chels and I getting ready to head to Hogwarts... you can see the size of the purse better here. 

Gryffindor Pride!! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Musings # 25

I cannot stop listening to this. Happy Friday - I hope you all have a ton of holiday parties this weekend!! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cookie Cutter Chocolates

Last year I made chocolate filled cookie cutters for my coworkers for Christmas. It's a pretty inexpensive present that's easy to make in bulk. I bought a set of 20 cookie cutters from Wal-mart and spread them out on wax paper. I used Wilton chocolate and peppermint candy melts to fill the cutters. I filled them 2/3 of the way with chocolate and then topped them off with peppermint for the "holiday pizzazz."

I let them chill over night then put them in gift bags and wallah! Fun for everyone!

Wednesday Review: The Spirit of Christmas

Time to get out the Christmas books! Today's review is of The Spirit of Christmas: Traditional Recipes, Crafts, and Carols by Catherine Atkinson, Vivienne Bolton, and Alison Jenkins.

What I Like:
* The introduction includes a timeline of activities running from October to Christmas Day. I'm a sucker for proper planning.
* History! The intro for each recipe has fun facts about the history of the dish, like how plum pudding was brought to England by Prince Albert. KNOWLEDGE. It also includes tips and variations for each recipe.
* There is a wide variety of crafts. Most of them look pretty easy too - some basic sewing skills are needed for some, but they have ideas for ornaments, napkins, tree toppers, gift bags, and more.
* There are carols, poems, and excerpts from famous Christmas stories scattered throughout the book.

What I Don't Like:
* So, this isn't really what I don't like so much as what I think other people may not like. The crafts aren't mind-blowing. Most of them are simple and cute which I think is part of their charm.

I did make mini-mince pies last Christmas from the recipe in this book and I was surprised at how much I liked them. I wanted to do something traditional and they sounded better than fruit cake! I love the traditional take on Christmas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


My Aunt Robin gave me the pattern for this easy to make baby sweater. I've made it twice - one for a boy and one for a girl. The first time I just bought normal black buttons. Then I found adorable dog bone buttons and knew I had to make it again!

This was the first sweater I made using different colors of yarn. I used Caron Simply Soft (LOVE THAT STUFF). I even took pictures of the back every 2-4 rows I knitted so was able to make this awesome gif:

If only knitting could really be done that quickly!

Monday, December 3, 2012


My mother and I are exactly 26 years and 14 minutes apart. Having a kid on your birthday kinda runs in our family. (I have 2 cousins who had their first child on their birthday too!) My mom is the best. For the first 16 years of my life I know my mom's birthday got overlooked as she was making me cakes and planning my birthday parties (which were totally awesome btw.)

So I just wanted to let my mom know how much I love and appreciate her and that I couldn't share my birthday with anybody more important!

Also I think we both agreed that we can start lying about our age now. So happy 40th birthday Mom!!

Also - my friend Virginia made this AWESOME gif of me. MY VERY OWN GIF people!!!