Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Handmade is good

I know I have expounded my love for etsy recently, and I continue to be amazed at what I can find there. For such reasonable prices.

Most recently, I was looking for a small wall clock. These are pretty hard to find in those TJMaxx/Homegoods/Marshalls type stores, and the Etsy bell rang in my head. I found some beautiful wooden turned clocks, and asked the woodworker if he could make me a custom one, smaller than any of the ones he had listed.

The answer, "no problem!" and tremendously fast, for a custom handcrafted item. It arrived today, and it is gorgeous. Blends in well above the mantle amidst family photos. Just exactly what I wanted.

So if you're in the market for a beautiful one of a kind clock, you should check out Twig Soup on Etsy. And if natural wood isn't your style, browse around Etsy for other clocks. It's amazing what you can find.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You've come a long way, baby

Mirabel, Dec 2009:
don't get me wrong, she still looks like this when she cries

Mirabel, Dec 2010:
but at least now she looks like this the majority of the time :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jolly Solar Holiday

We've gone solar. Keith's end of year gift to himself, us, and the Earth, is Solar Panels! This past week has been a flurry of activity installing solar hot water and solar electric. It is not all done yet (the hot water panels are not up, and the system is not grid tied yet), but today was a perfectly sunny day for taking pictures of the new behemoth in our tiny back yard.

Here's the array, with our house and Mira in the background. The picture is taken from the back corner of the yard.

Here's another picture from the neighbor's backyard: (yes that's Mira sitting up on the supports)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Mom's a sucka

Bringing both girls to the grocery store very near Christmas gets me suckered into buying each of them a treat.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Love Yankee Swap Time

I love Yankee Swap season. It seems to happen around "the holidays", and for my mom's group it is out one big night a year - the most members show up and we have a grand time stealing gifts from one another.

This year I made Kojo design's Tea wreath, stocked with teas from my pantry. It was pretty fun to make, for someone who is not that into papercrafting. I love that it has many uses beyond looking cool - tea, kid's artwork, pretty cards, anything 2 dimensional and hang-able.

I was a little nervous bringing it to the swap, but the person who opened it and kept it really liked it, and another person at the swap would like me to make one for her, so it was a thumbs up.

And here, you have to put up with a ridiculously dorky picture of me with it. If you'd like to see a prettier version (because it really is quite pretty), go to Kojo's website.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cherry Garcia Cookies

Cherry Garcia Cookies. They are my holiday cookie swap cookies three years in a row. Not much to look at, but they are absolutely delicious, especially if you like the cherries and chocolate combination.

Cherry Garcia Cookies

Cream 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) with 1/4 cup white sugar. Add 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp almond extract and mix well. Add 1 cup flour whisked with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix to combine. Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup chopped dried cherries. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, bake on top rack of oven at 355F for 10 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on pan, transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 25 cookies. It's worth it to make a double batch.

Cook's note: use mini chocolate chips, and I like Mariani Dried Cherries the best for this recipe.

from Debbie Salomon, Burlington Free Press, Winter 2008

Whew! I won some fabric!

Finally, after entering hundreds of giveaways (I know, get a life) I won some fabric!

A very nice lady from Australia, owner of the Ducks and Rabbits blog, chose me as her runner up winner from the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! She says she checked out my blog and will send along fabric she thinks I will like. I'm excited.

And in addition to choosing me (randomly, I know), she also gave my blog a very nice little shout out. It's always nice to get a little blog love :)

Now, I wait for the new fabric!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two times the dress-up

One of the many reasons I had two kids? So that they can play together. Lili and Mira have been able to do this for a little while now, and most recently... Dress-up!

Is that Alice in Wonderland not the cutest little munchkin ever?

Mira toddled around after Lili for almost the whole afternoon in this get up. I had to pin up the apron so that she wouldn't trip on it, but otherwise she enjoyed joining the play with her big sister!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yay Mail!

Guess what came in my mail today? You only get one guess.... Fabric!

I made my first online purchase of fabric (well, that's not exactly true - I've purchased PUL online in the past), and I squeal with glee because it came today! Is it not gorgeous? Through all my online browsing of craft and quilt blogs I have discovered that I really really like MODA fabric. They have great colors and funky designs and I don't think I've seen any Moda fabric I don't like. So with a great discount code that I got from Above All Fabric, I bought a little Fat Eighth Bundle of Central Park Fabric. I am, of course, going to make some Cuties with it, but will probably do other things as well - maybe another foray into quilting, who knows? What do you suggest?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


ooch. Sorry it's been almost a week since the last post. All my internet time has been sucked into trying to win something from Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway day. I almost dare you to click through and not get sucked in. I really think I'll offer something next time they do a giveaway day. But first I have some blog organization to do. Can you believe I've been blogging for over 3 years? Seems like a long time.

And I know most of my posts lately have been crafty mommy oriented, so here's one for the people who like to know what the kiddos are up to...

Winter is here! As I type, it is 15 degrees out. I'm still thawing out from the walk to preschool. Mira still loves to go outside and doesn't really even mind the headers into the snow that she is bound to take as a new walker. Lili's another story. She is a bear to get outside. She doesn't like her snowpants. At ALL. It's been a struggle to get her out and that makes me sad because winter is my favorite season. I'm trying not to push it too much, but when skiing starts she's really going to have to get on board.

The other day she dressed in summer clothes while it was snowing (hard) out. I tried to get a good picture of her by the patio window, for irony sake and all, but the emotional bomb that is Lilian would not cooperate.

Mira's doing great, lots of new words including... socks, shoes, outside, Lili, Mama, Dada, avocado, cracker, cheez, grapes, boots, the list goes on. Of course many of the words sound like "poop" (poop, graPe, boot), and probably we're the only ones who can understand her, but the fact that she can communicate is WONDERFUL.

That is all! I hope to post some more sewing soon!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Dozen Cuties

Wow. I've been sewing alot lately, huh? Most recently, Lili's teachers' presents. Lili has 6 teachers. And she's recently informed me, 2 additional teachers who are area college students working in the classroom one or two days a week. Normally, I wouldn't count them as gift receivers, but Lili is so aware of fairness that I must take heed. Besides, I decided to make an even dozen of these things so I might as well give them away!

A dozen what? Lil' Cutie pouches! Remember those bike baskets I made over the summer? Well, the same clever lady over at Noodleheads has a great tutorial for these super fast super adorable purse pouches, and I've been wanting to make them for a long time. And the giving season is a great excuse to sew cute things that nobody really needs.

So, armed with my beautiful array of inexpensive zippers, I set to work. I worked in stages, cutting, ironing, sewing, flipping, pressing. It was fun! But I have to say, I'm a little sick of staring at the fabrics I chose. Kind of like saying the same word over and over again, you lose the meaning.

But seeing them all lined up like this, I am proud of myself, and dang they are CUTE!

You might notice there are only 11 in the picture. That's because Lili snatched hers right up before it had even cooled.

These are some beautifully lined treasures!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rewind 3 years...

Let's go back in time about 3 years...

Okay. Now snap back to present day. Stickers. They never grow old for the very young.

Yes. Mira is wearing Lili's slippers. Because she loves "sheeez".

In other news, Lili had her very first movie theater experience. I took her to see Disney's Tangled. It was lovely, and cute, and I thought not too scary, but we had to leave the theater at one point. When Rapunzel was leaving the tower, Lili turns to be and says "But she's not supposed to leave!". And started crying. Leave it to my rule abiding daughter.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rainbow Sweater Tutorial

Here's how you can make one of these asymmetrical rainbow button sweater cardigans for your kid: (and since this is my second tutorial ever, it's a really really good one.)

Get an old women's cardigan, solid color works best! Grab a currently fits your kid well cardigan to use as a "pattern" - and I use the term loosely.

Cut the big cardigan into peices (make sure the buttons are all buttoned, on both sweaters) - front, back, and two sleeves.

Cut the back peice. Place the kid cardi on the back peice, line up the neckline, fold in the sleeves, and cut. Allow some extra for the seam allowance.

You'll end up with this:

Now, do the same for the front peice, but don't line up the kid cardi straight up and down. Notice how the big cardi button placket goes off to one side of the kid cardi. Then cut. If you would prefer your placket to be front and center, then line it up that way.

You should now have front and back bodice peices.

Set your machine to zigzag OR... if you have the following, it will save you effort: It sews a reinforced seam along with a binding to keep the material from unraveling. If you don't then use a zigzag on the edge and then a straight seam. Or straight seam and then zigzag whatever you prefer.

Flip right sides together, sew the top shoulder seams. You should have this:

Now cut the sleeves. Lay the kid cardi sleeve on top of the big cardi sleeve, and cut along leaving a seam allowance.

Pin the sleeve to the sweater around the top of the shoulder, sew. Do this to both sleeves.

Pin along the bottom of sleeve, and along side of sweater. Sew. (note, you're still sewing wrong side out). Do this to both sides.

Hem along the bottom of the sweater. Now you've got a functional asymmetrical little kid cardi.

Last step, sew new buttonholes inbetween the existing buttonholes (you'll need more holes to make a whole rainbow!). Remove old buttons, sew a rainbow of new buttons down the placket. And you're done! Good job.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rainbow Sweaters!

This is a true achievement for me. Not one thing that turned out just how I hoped it would, but TWO!

Remember that sweater I hacked up and sewed back together for Mira? Well, I did it again, times two.

Here's the story...

Lili loves for her outfit and Mira's outfit to match, but that is hard with two separate handmedown wardrobes.

I have two similar color cardigans from the clothing swap. (AKA Free stuff to mess around with)

There is a sweater from my memory, one that I really wanted to buy but it was too expensive, that was an asymmetrical cardigan with a rainbow of buttons. I loved it but could not justify buying it.

Lili loves rainbows.

I have successfully revamped one sweater... Maybe I can do it again?

So there you go. About 2.5 hours per sweater. And my big TAH-DAH Christmas present to the girls. I hope they love them as much as I do!

Want to make one yourself? See the tutorial here.