Thursday, December 30, 2010

How to Find Extra Time on a Thursday

This week has turned into a blog-break-week. After the long pre-Christmas nights trying to get things done (like, um, gifts), I've been trying to relax more this week. Tonight we're getting together with my family to meet a baby cousin I haven't seen yet, and then there's New Year's Eve and Day coming up...

This morning, however, I'm sitting here with my breakfast and hot coffee trying to warm up a little and waiting for our water to do the same. The hot water heater has been acting up and I am NOT in the mood for a chilly shower. So here I wait, with a little "extra" time. Luckily my work schedule is very flexible, or I'd be in trouble running this late. I'm tempted to occupy myself looking at one of the books I got for Christmas, but that would make me very late.

That being said, here's a small peek at some of the goodies my family gave me (I confess, these are the ones that haven't been put away yet):

Why yes, that's a gorgeous print from Kate Fete, along with Craft, Inc., the Alabama Stitch Book, and Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. And an ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer - I <3 ice cream!

My family chose good. And now I'm off to (hopefully!) find some hot water.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We got our first Christmas tree this year. This is our fifth Christmas together (married), but for two of them, we weren't home for Christmas, one of them we weren't even on the same continent, and last year we were staying in my in-laws vacation home and didn't want to bring a tree and all its mess into it. With all the last-minute craziness that's been going on this week, I don't have any updated pictures of the tree - I made a tree skirt (well, halfway made) and it had some presents under it, but at least I got something photographed!

Notice the chair: That's how close the tree is to our dining room table

I also collect ornaments as souvenirs; this is from our honeymoon:

Got this one at the King Tut exhibit in San Francisco last year:

And these are ornaments I've been collecting for... 18 years? That seems like a really long time. My grandma always bought them for me when I was growing up; after she passed away, my mom bought me one and I'm trying to find this years'. I think I'll be ordering it online at this point; time got away from me and the ornament displays are pretty much cleared out.


I love that my tree is filled with memories. Here's to a very Merry Christmas and lots of great new memories!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Already?

I have done hardly any holiday baking this year. Not that I usually do much, but I've only made 1 batch of cookies. I need to make something for dessert tomorrow though. No idea what I'm going to do. Christmas kind of ran at me this year and I feel like I haven't gotten much done. I finally mailed off our Christmas cards today, and the presents are all wrapped and under the tree, but that's about it. Being sick last week kind of threw me off track.

I am in love with these mini gingerbread houses from Not Martha, though:

Aren't they awesome? I'd love to have a bunch of them for a Christmas party or for the family on Christmas Eve. I don't think my family is big on gingerbread though... What new recipe have you tried out this year?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Part 4

The final days of my Christmas treasuries:

Tenth Day of Christmas:
Eleventh Day of Christmas:
Twelfth Day of Christmas:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Part 3

More Etsy treasuries!

by alyssaettinger

Seventh Day of Christmas:

Eighth Day of Christmas:

Ninth Day of Christmas:

Monday, December 20, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Part 2

Here are the treasuries for the next three days of Christmas:

by SecretCharm

The Fourth Day of Christmas:

The Fifth Day of Christmas:

The Sixth Day of Christmas:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Part 1

I put together 12 treasuries on Etsy over the last couple weeks, each featuring one of the twelve days of Christmas. Here are the first 3:

by rawartletterpress

The First Day of Christmas:

The Second Day of Christmas:

The Third Day of Christmas:

You might notice at this point, some of the items are gone - hopefully they've all been sold!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


How pretty are these? Original seaweed pressings by Coastal Prezence: Red & green, so they're Christmas-y, right?

Love them. If I ever get an office/craft room - even half of one - I will buy these and put them in there.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sound and Silence

Another day at home, still sick... Not much happening, but I'm listening to Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong, which is my most favorite Christmas album right now.

I was flipping through the December copy of Real Simple, and found this wonderful photo by Nicholas McElroy. You can see it here, about halfway down the page. It just has such a feeling of quiet; he says, "I just couldn't resist jumping out to experience the sense of total silence you get in such a remote location."

Also in Real Simple: This hazelnut ganache tart, which makes me hungry. I LOVE hazelnut + chocolate. Recipe & photo via Real Simple.

Now, this is the type of thing I think I need to eat when I'm not feeling well.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Well, I'm home sick today. My husband was kind enough to share his cold with me.

Between sleeping and drinking lots of tea, I want to work on this:

All fabric is Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas for Moda
Which is actually 3 projects, one of which isn't even cut out yet. Project 1 is a tree skirt - we were going to pick out a tree yesterday, but since the husband was sick, we put it off (again). Project 2 is a "12 Days of Christmas" garland, because how could I pass up that adorable 12 Days of Christmas fabric? Project 3 is stockings to match the tree skirt.

Let's see how far I get with this...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Food

Do you know your holiday foods? Take this quiz from Martha Stewart - I got 6 out of 8 - and was surprised. I guessed on quite a few.

Then visit these links for more yummy goodness:

Buche de Noel

Yorkshire Pudding (and other yummy treats)

Pistachio-Cocoa Nib Macarons with Bourbon Buttercream - Ok, not related to the quiz, but they sound wonderful. And Helene is French, and this post does mention all sorts of French goodies, and Buche Noel is French, so.... yes. That is all I need to say about it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SF Etsy Team - Nice to meet you, Katy!

I love where I live, and I'm fortunate to be able to live so close to the city. I recently joined the San Francisco Etsy team; there's an amazing group of artists and crafters in this area. I want to introduce a few of them over the next few weeks.

Photo by J. Astra Brinkmann

The first Etsy seller I'm featuring here is Katy Atchison. She sells adorable prints, paintings, cards, and hair accessories. She describes herself as "an illustrator, crafter & explorer." You can visit her Etsy shop at Here are a few of her items that I especially liked:

"Robots in Love" painting

"Eggplant n Carrot BFF of Flavor" original drawing

Bright Peacock Feather hair clip

Bee and Daisy greeting card

Black and White Ball Feather Hair Accessory with 1920s Vintage Button

Aren't they bright and fun? I think her illustrations would be fantastic in a nursery or kid's room, but they'd also brighten up any spot in your home. And I'm always looking for fun hair clips, especially around the holidays.
 Photo by J. Astra Brinkmann
You can find out more about Katy through any of your preferred social media :)


And I saw on her Facebook page that she's got a little giveaway going on! "Fan me and win a Katy Atchison original illustration or painting. Two drawings this month...the 15th and the 31st of December!"

Photo by J. Astra Brinkmann

Please visit her and add a little bit of sunshine to your day :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Cards

I sat down to work on our Christmas card for 2010 and basically spent an entire evening getting nothing done. I found a card I really liked online, but figured out after playing around with it that it would cost me $80 for the number of cards I wanted. Not quite what I was looking for; in the past, I've just printed out our cards at home, and they were really more of Christmas letters than cards. I wanted a photo card this year but with a little blurb about us - a quick update for those we don't see very often. Apparently that's not a common thing to want, because most of the cards I looked at didn't have any space for text.

I was browsing around on Etsy and realized that - hello! - there are a bunch of sellers with adorable digital layouts who will make my card for me, customize it to my heart's content, and then I can just get it printed somewhere local. Now I just need to choose one!

I think this one is my favorite, from Sugar Tree Studio. Maybe in red, though. Our Christmas photo was taken in an apple orchard and has a pretty green background that I think would look good with red. Update to come when the card is done!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wreath 2010

I finally made my wreath this weekend. I actually bought the wreath form back in October, and I was going to use it for an autumn wreath bedecked with felt and whatever other embellishments I could find around here.

Instead, it sat around until Christmas. I kept it pretty simple; I would like to make the hanger fit in a little better but don't have any good ideas for it right now. I used a grapevine wreath form ($1), wrapped it in strips of grey wool felt leftover from trying to trim down some wonky squares (that's another story), and added felt leaves and berries.

I used masking tape to attach the felt on the back. The green and cream felt is just acrylic craft felt that I freehand cut into the shapes I wanted, and then I glued them to the grey felt with craft glue.

At first, the "D" in the center was hanging from the wreath by monofilament, but it's so light that it kept flipping around. I put some blue tacky stuff on the back and stuck it straight to the door. It's just a little wooden letter I found at a craft store and painted grey. Simple and easy!

*Also check out Rachel's wreath - it's super cute! *

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finally, some decorations are up

I did a little Christmas decorating last night. I finally took down my pumpkins and little Thanksgiving pilgrims and pulled out my boxes...

At that point, I realized that I don't really have very many Christmas decorations. Also, we live in a 1-bedroom apartment, so there's not a ton of extra space. Luckily, those two things work out well enough. We're going to go get our tree this weekend - since the majority of my Christmas boxes really just have ornaments in them, at least it will be well-covered in decorations.

There was one thing I made last year that I was looking for, and I finally found it at the bottom of a box. It's this little frame with some Smooshy Stack Trees inspired by Lolly.

Lolly's instructions are great, so click the link above if you want to see how to make them. For my trees, I only used two fabrics, a red and a green polka dot. I made sure the green was on top for all of the trees. I made 5 trees in all, and I think two of them might be the same size but the others are all different. I backed it all in a red and white paper that I had.

I decided to put it on our bookshelf for now, since that seems to be my central point for Christmas decor
In the middle, I added a chipboard "peace" that I probably picked up for $1 at Michael's or something. I put it all on a frame that I had sitting around; it's not made for 3-d objects so the trees are kind of flattened down in there and I had to put masking tape all around the back to hold everything in place. But it works! I just didn't want to spend money on a new frame. It also wasn't a planned-out project; I just sat down one night and decided to make it. But I love it!

It's a fun little accent that I can put basically anywhere, and I love how the glitter looks with Christmas lights near it.