Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

We have been having the most wonderful relaxing holiday vacation.  My husband has only had to work one day and it has been so fun being all together as a family.  I took the picture above yesterday.  Luke loves to "decorate" with his toys and often announces "I am decorating." He makes his mama so proud.   That is Stella's little hand trying to redecorate.  Last night we had a date and the kids had a sleepover at my in-laws.  The first time we did that was this past summer and this was the second time. It was a wonderful Christmas present.  We had Indian food (my favorite) and watched Moonrise Kingdom (beautiful movie).  This morning we went out for a delicious breakfast to a little diner.   And tonight we will do our New Year's tradition of Chinese food and a horror movie.  We are really indulging but we are on vacation.

I have never been a big fan of the New Year's resolutions but I do feel like I do have some changes I would like to make this year.  They fit in two categories -

This category is pretty boring but here goes:
1. drink more water
2. eat more fruit and vegetables
3. eat less junk
4. less sugar in the tea
5. get more exercise
Those are pretty vague goals.  I don't know if that is good or bad or if it even matters.

This is the exciting category:
1. make more clothes for my kids.
2. get better at sewing
3. knit more
4 get better at knitting  (I am already signed up for a class in two weeks)
5 complete my needle felt kit (hopefully before Easter since it is an Easter decoration)
6 make more quilts
7 get better at quilting
8 crochet a blanket
9 begin and complete cross-stitch sampler (I signed up for this)
10 make more stuff to cozy up our home like bunting and pillows etc
This list is also vague but I am happy with it.

I am really excited for the all the crafty wonderfullness I hope to do this year.  The crafty homemaking part of my life is so important to me.  I have real dreams where I am making stuff.  So now  I am off to the cellar to hopefully finish Luke's vest.  Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012


What a wonderful fun Christmas!  We had a great time. The above picture was taken Christmas Eve when the kids were getting ready to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special.  I really was pleased with the presents I found - I mean Santa found for Luke and Stella.  They received  books from my favorite illustrator, Bernadette Watts.  Look her up.   She is amazing.  Land of Nod had great toys including puppets and instruments.  And I even gave a lot of thought to their stocking stuffers getting really cute items on Etsy like cute little felt masks and wooded woodland creatures.   I had so much fun shopping for them and have really enjoyed playing with the new toys and reading the new books.  I told everyone who asked just to get them books for Christmas and they received some great ones.

I made this delicious breakfast casserole for Christmas morning and a not so delicious Pumpkin trifle for dessert on Christmas day.  I don't think I am trifle person but I am most definitely a smoked salmon person. 

Yesterday we had good friends visit for the most of the day until late and it was so relaxing. Thai food takeout was a real treat.   I just love this time of year .

Today I was able to do a little sewing.  I am making the explorer vest from oliver + s little things to sew.  I love the book though this is only the second thing I have tried.  I loved how the hooded cape on the cover came out.   It was Stella's Halloween costume which is on my blog banner.   I really want to make so many other things in the book.  I have a little ways to go on the vest since I am such a slow sewer.  This morning I  just cut a little fabric and got two pockets on but it felt great. 

I was looking forward to going on a date with my husband  tonight when a cold came on hard and fast.  So now the date is off and I am laying in bed doing what I do best when I am sick  - research.  I had napped earlier and have only been at it a short time.  I just discovered this online magazine.  I can't read it but I enjoy looking at the pictures. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Cake

I do like to make fun cakes for the kids.  When I was a child we had a special family friend who made these cakes and I just loved them.  Mine aren't as perfect as I remember hers but I am hoping they make my children and my brother's children as happy as the cakes made me as a child.

I hope if anyone is reading this that they have a very merry Christmas!  I am really looking forward to spending more time with my family.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Cards

Last year I had the idea that I wanted to do handmade Christmas cards.  I knew I would need a least 50 but I thought it would be totally manageable and fun.  I was inspired by a card from this website.  I have searched but I can't find it.  It is a very beautiful card.  I tried to make mine similar but more simple.   Making the cards took much more time than I thought it would.  And I didn't even get to finish last year.  I became sick before Christmas and did not have the energy to finish.  Luckily I hadn't added the picture to the card yet so I could use them this year.

Yesterday I spent the day stitching the cards, adding the buttons (already threaded with twine), cutting and adding the pictures, and writing in them.  I can't say I enjoyed doing it that much.  I decided I am more of a yarn and fabric girl than a paper girl.  I think they are cute though and I am happy to be sending out handmade cards.  But I don't think I will be doing it again

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Candles

I thought that since there isn't much crafting going on this month I would show you my favorite non-homemade Christmas decorations.  These are so cute and special that I would probably show them even if I did have lots of crafting things to post about.

Around the time I started dating my husband I had read this article in Martha Stewart and instantly loved the candles pictured.  Then I was over Matt's parents house and saw the candles that were in the article.  They had so many of them.  I learned that my father-in-law's father had created the molds to make these candles.

I can't remember if it was that same year that I saw reproductions in the Vermont Country Store catalog or if it was the next year.  Or maybe it was many years later.  Now that I think about we bought our first ones  at the Vermont Country Store when we were living in Vermont and that was after we were married.  My mom had bought the other ones for me.

I love that even though these are reproductions our family has a special connection to them.  This Christmas I have to keep these decorations away from my little cuties because they might end up damaging them by accident.  But I imagine when they are older and these decorations are more in their view that they will love them too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gingerbread Men

Well it has been a busy super fun  past few days.  Saturday we had a family Christmas party.  I made Cranberry Buttermilk  Breakfast Cake.  It is so delicious and easy to make.  Stella wore a super cute new dress and tights.  I am slightly obsessed with pretty patterned tights at the moment.  Luke behaved really well.  He just turned three and is super active so taking him places can be exhausting.  But we were thrilled that he was very manageable.

Yesterday was a nice day at home for the four of us.  Our new thing is to watch Homeland on demand while the kids nap.  I knit of course while we watch.  Matt and I rarely get to watch TV together so it very exciting now that we found a show worth watching.  After nap time I could have gone down to the cellar (my crafting area) and sewed but I really wanted more time together as a family.  So I stayed in the living room and we all watched The Princess Bride.  I love that movie.  So there was no sewing this past weekend and only a tiny bit of knitting but I did get to do some paper crafting with Luke.

     We made these cute little gingerbread men. Luke loved it. I have a Cricut and was able to cut all the paper with it.  I love my Cricut.  I wanted to get it for card making and scrapbooking.  But I have hardly scrapbooked or made cards with it.  When I have time for crafting I am just more drawn to knitting, sewing, quilting, or crochet than making cards or scrapbook pages.  But I have loved having my Cricut to make decorations especially with Luke.  Lately when he gets up in the morning he says,  "Let's make decorations".  We did snowmen garland last week but I don't have a picture at the moment.

  We woke up this morning to snow and had to play outside.  We also baked and decorated Christmas sugar cookies. I just love that Luke is old enough to do the cookies with me.   Today was so much fun and flew by.  It is funny how just a little time outside and the cookies really takes up the whole day -  in between cleaning, laundry,  throwing dinner (beef stew) in the crockpot, diapers, baths, and meals.  I love being busy but I was thrilled for a little quiet and a little knitting at nap time.  Rain is in the forecast so our little snow man probably won't make it but I am looking forward to many more days of playing outside this winter.  Okay I am looking forward to more cookies too.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Love

I really love December.  Everything we do as a family just seems more festive this time of year, even me making a special breakfast.  And my definition of a special breakfast is something other than toast, cereal, or a frozen waffle.  Yesterday I made baked oatmeal.  My husband and I love it.  The kids still turn up their noses at most things I make, but someday when they actually put it in their mouth, I know they will love it too.  I don't eat bananas so I just used apples instead.  My favorite was to make it is with peaches but we were all out. 

We finally finished decorating out tree.  I love love love our Christmas tree.  Some people may find it a little sad looking because the branches are a little scarce in some areas but it is our tree with our collection of ornaments and colored lights so I think it is very special.  I love our tree skirt.  My Grandma Joie made it when I was a child and I always had it on my tree growing up.  My grandma always made lots of Christmas items with sequins and I always thought they were so beautiful.  I still do.  My mom gave the tree skirt to me many years ago and it always make our tree so special.  This year I put it on with a heavy heart.  My Grandma Joie  passed away in August.  I am sad but know I am lucky to have so many beautiful things she made to remember her by. 

Baking is something we do all year round.  And I love that Luke can help me with it and look forward to baking with Stella too.  Baking this time of year is just extra special.  Yesterday was a first for me and for Luke.  We made dog biscuits. We made them for our neighbor dog and for my step-brother's family's dog.   I chose peanut butter banana ones.  I won't the link the recipe because the dough was just so awfully sticky that I am not making those again.  We still had a great time.  The best part was walking next door and having Luke deliver them.  It was so cute.  Here is a picture of the mess.

I have made Luke an apron but he uses it in his play kitchen.  I don't like him to wear it when we bake because I don't want it to get dirty.  That doesn't really make sense.  I think will have to make him another apron for the purpose of getting dirty. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

I had a happy post planned full of our fun happy full belly day.  But I really can't write about it after reading about the shootings in Connecticut.  I can't really say anything about the shootings either.  I just don't have the words to describe it or how I think or feel about it.  All words sound like a major understatement. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Luke's New Sweater

This past Saturday I finally finished the sweater I was knitting for Luke.  I started it last January.  So it took me almost a whole year to do.  I had put it down a few times to work on other knitting projects.  In August I completed all the pieces.  I was so excited.  I had no idea it would take me 4 months to sew it up.  My seams never come out that well so I thought I would get some help this time.  I found a great class in my town at a yarn shop.   This is a great class where you can drop in and bring whatever you are working on.  I went once and it was very helpful.  I was afraid to do more on my own so I had planned to go back.  Unfortunately it just didn't work out that I was free when the class was happening so I hadn't made it back.  I checked in again a couple weeks ago and the class is now full so I am no longer able to drop in.  That made me determined to finish it on my own.

I have a group of wonderful friends that I sew/quilt/knit whatever with on one Saturday a month.  We started this past September.  I love it - a whole day to make stuff, talk, and eat yummy food.  We bring in a lot of good food.  We met this past Saturday and I brought in the sweater pieces.  With all the sewing and ripping ugly seams it took me all day.  And I didn't even leave with buttons sewed on.  But not getting the buttons on ended up being a terrific thing. When I returned home I was able to get input from Luke on what buttons he wanted.  He wanted blue, red and green.  Could he be reading the Mini Boden catalog?

The seams aren't perfect but he loves the sweater.  And he keeps saying "I love the buttons."  I can't stand it.  I am really lucky because he loves what I make him and loves that I make him stuff.

Details about the sweater can be found on my ravelry page.

And yes, those are pictures of him standing on our couch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Wednesday

Well today is a very fun filled happy Wednesday.  I have had a cold for the last few days and haven't been feeling very well or very productive.  While I enjoy staying home and probably prefer to stay home, I like to be able to get off the couch or if I am on the couch at least feel up to knitting.  But even though I am not 100 percent today I have been very productive doing things I enjoy.

Brunswick Stew (a new to me recipe) is in the crock pot.  It would be a little cuter if it was on the stove in my red dutch oven, but if I really want to get dinner on the table during the week I need my trusty crock pot.  I baked Italian bread.  I have completed some chores.  The chores are not so enjoyable but needed to be done.  Nap time was short today but I was able to knit a few rows.  I am working on a sweater for my Stella girl.  I will write more about that later.  And these have been the two highlights to my day so far:

Decorating a gingerbread house with Luke for the first time.  I don't remember doing this as a child and I am not sure I even have ever decorated a gingerbread house before.  I definitely want this to be a tradition with my family.  Luke was mostly interested in eating the candy and frosting but he still had fun.  And now we have it as another favorite Christmas decoration. 

The second highlight are Stella's new tights.  You can't see them really well in this picture but they are so cute that I can't stand it.  I ordered them from Hannah Anderson (along with her dress but that is not new).  So she didn't get in on the gingerbread decorating but she did get new tights.

I haven't had a chance to look at my new magazine yet but I am about to.  My plan until dinner is to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special  with the kids on the couch and read my magazine.  I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Prima Christmas Makes

Well I was going to start up this little blog after Christmas but then something so exciting happened today.  I found the Prima Christmas Makes issue in my bookstore.  And most people won't understand my excitement so I just needed to blog about it.  I have only had time to flip through it quickly but I can tell already it won't disappoint me. 

Maybe I should have had my first post be about something I had made but my finding this magazine is such a big deal.  I live in Maine in the United States and sometimes it is hard for me to find magazines from other countries.  Sometimes I can order them online but not all the time.  I am still looking for Love Patchwork the bookzine (I think that is what it is called).  I really extra really wanted the Prima Christmas Makes issue last year and couldn't find it. 

So I am working today (taking a quick blog break) and I may not get to really look at the magazine until tomorrow when I am home with my little cuties.  I think we may make a gingerbread house tomorrow too.  Actually I think this may be the perfect time to start a blog because so many exciting things will be happening in the next few weeks.  I can't wait.