December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

from my house to yours... Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2008

Santa's Workshop

now that we don't have company anymore... i'm back in full christmas-making mode. since i've decided to make most of my presents this year it's definitely cut back on the "oh my gosh--what do i get him/her this year?" dilemma but it hasn't cut back on the "when am i going to find time to finish this/that" predicament. somehow i think that's always going to be a problem :)

on the other hand... i'm crafting far more than i have in a while... and loving it! people are enjoying my hand-made gifts... and i love the feeling of giving something that i have made! on the downside... since all of these crafty projects are also Christmas presents... and i know of at least one or two family members who read this blog (hi mom!) i can't exactly post pictures :) but rest assured that i'm still taking plenty... preparing to blast you all with documentation as soon as the holidays are over :)

on a quick sidenote... there are pictures i can show you... completely unrelated to crafts... but still amazingly cute! :) we adopted a one and a half year old puppy yesterday... named Ember. we got him from an amazing organization called The Milo Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that rescues dogs from local shelters as well as from the streets. he's a border terrier mix... maybe with some pug or jack russel terrier mixed in there. he's got an adorable tail that curls into a perfect circle when it's not wagging his whole little back-side... and the calmest, most mellow personality that i've ever seen in a dog. he's incredibly curious and eager to please, full of energy at the site of a new person or place, but also perfectly content to lay on his bed or cuddle in your lap. he doesn't bark unless he's startled at something, and then it's only a single bark (i told you he's amazing :)) and neither does he slobber all over your face -- it's a quick lick on the chin and that's all the kisses from him :)

he's pretty awesome if we do say so ourselves :)

if i don't have a chance to jump back on before Christmas Day... Merry Christmas to you & yours! :)

December 19, 2008

and the winner is... me!

no, not because i'm sick. and no, not because i have 2 weeks of paid vacation from work coming up (although that IS a prize, isn't it? :))

because i won an ornament from the amazing tollipop!

the funniest thing is... since it's been so busy at work & home lately, i haven't had a chance to keep up on my blog-watching, so i only found out because Kristin popped over to my blog to see who the lucky winner (me!) was and left me a comment :) so thanks to her... i know that i won... and i have a great new blog to follow :)

thanks to Amanda for pointing me in the right direction :)

December 18, 2008

it's officially winter...

because i'm officially sick :( i woke up with a cold yesterday morning and it's come on full blast in the past few days. sorry for the lack of a "wednesday wish list" post yesterday -- i worked an 8-hour day, then went to meet up with Ryan & fam for dinner, then went to the last rehearsal for our Christmas program on this coming Sunday. Got home at 9:30ish and was in bed by 10, having taken medicine and propped myself up so I could hopefully sleep.

here's hoping i get better soon!

December 16, 2008

Glimpses of Christmas




just a few glimpes of our celebrating a little early this year so that Ryan's family could join us...

December 14, 2008

sunday stash: spare change swap

i got the most amazing spare change package about a week ago. there was squealing. truly. ask ryan :) below are some of my favorites... and i apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures. i was too excited to wait until morning :)

the whole set...

if anyone knows what the following fabrics are... you're officially my new favorite crafting person. :)

how fun would this be for a small clutch?

this mushroom pattern make me think of childhood... not sure what i'm going to make with it, but it's fun!

so in short... thanks to Chickpea Studio for the wonderful swap... and let me know if you can figure out what fabrics these are! who knows... there may be a prize in store :)

December 6, 2008

happy winter

i finally got around to posting my "winter 2008" banner -- another photo compliments of Ryan's artistic eye while on our day-after-Thanksgiving hike through the forest. :) more later this weekend...

i'm off to Indie Sacramento tomorrow morning as long as my car gets me there! it should be a fun time :) i'll be back with a full report... and hopefully some Christmas presents!

December 5, 2008

happy late thanksgiving and early merry christmas...

i figured i'd wish you a merry christmas at the same time that i wished you a happy thanksgiving... just in case i go MIA again between now and then! yikes... it's been a while since i've posted on here. i'll chalk it up to three main things:

1) going out of town for thanksgiving & having our heater set off our smoke alarms the morning we were supposed to leave... when i was going to post a wednesday wish list blog
2) the panic of realizing that there are only 20 days left until Christmas day... and really only 10 days until Ryan's family Christmas since they'll all be out here the week before
3) working 9-10 hours a day for the past week

needless to say it's been a bit busy... can i get a pass? :) maybe i can buy some mercy with this gorgeous picture from my husband's creative eye :)

on the heater topic... we woke up to a very cold house last wednesday and decided to light the pilot light for the first time and heat it up a bit. we got the pilot light lit... turned up the thermostat... and went about getting ready for work. less than a minute later, our smoke alarms were going off for the first time since we've lived in this apartment. needless to say, we didn't know how to turn them off and they kept going for a little too long at 7:15 in the morning (i'm sure our downstairs neighbors felt the same way). to make a long story short... we got the heater checked out and a piece of (apparently unrelated) plastic from the top of the heating panel as well as all the accumulated dust vacuumed out. now we know for next year :)

but... we have been faithful to keep up with our "freeze yer buns" challenge. the heater's set at 55 at night, and 62 during the day if necessary. we've actually been able to leave the heater off more often than not, turning it on every once in a while to get some heat flowing through the house and then turning it off when it's comfortable. not bad! :)

we're trying to cut back on our costs elsewhere as well... so if you have any suggestions for low-cost (but still good) recipes (especially quick recipes) it would be appreciated! how are you guys trying to save money this winter?

moving on to Thanksgiving... we had a wonderful time with 18 members of my Dad's side of the family. pictures tell the story best... so i'll leave you with those :)

November 24, 2008

some people have talents...

...talents which i can only dream about. their brains just think in different ways. for instance... i see thumbtacks as a functional object. one that attaches one item to another with ease. however... they see thumbtacks, and create this:

again... i see yarn... and think of the days ahead in which i'd like to learn how to knit or crochet... normal things, yes? i do not, however, ever envision yarn that forms landscapes like this:

meet Magdalena Bors, an Australian native who is incredibly talented in so many ways. maybe someday my brain will work in this way...

November 18, 2008

sunday stash... two days late...

my sunday stash is on tuesday this week... only because i've been waiting to receive the newest addition to my stash -- Cicada Daydream's new fabric. gorgeous! :)

here are the sets that she's selling at her etsy shop:

November 15, 2008

my progress so far...

here's my weekend progress for my "to dos vs. do-able" list...
  • fold laundry - DONE! laundry folded Thursday night... put away today :)
  • wash sheets - DONE! albeit today...
  • make 5-minute fudge (yummm!) for couples meeting on Friday night - DONE! granted it took two tries... and we're still not sure what happened to the first batch, but it wound up like a very crumbly brownie mixture... which is now the bottom crust of a pumpkin cheesecake which i made today. we have yet to try it... more on that later :)
  • blog once more (which means... tomorrow :)) hmm... anyone interested in a 5-minute fudge recipe? - well... i'm blogging now, aren't i? :)
  • check off my work to-do list (that's a whole other story in & of itself... yikes!) - mostly done :) not quite everything was accomplished... but enough that i felt confident about leaving work & going home without things falling apart between now & monday :)
  • have fun with friends tomorrow night and RELAX! - DONE! had fun... played lots of games... and reconnected with my favorite little guy -- a 17-month-old boy :)
  • sleep in - DONE! :) yay for a lazy morning.
  • figure out what is going in the extended family's Christmas bags this year... - nope... not yet... but i have ideas! one includes the fudge... recipe below :)
  • work on Christmas presents - taking a break from doing that right now... it's been a long afternoon but i've gotten a lot accomplished!
  • buy fabric for another Christmas present & start formulating how i will pull it off... (while working with irreplaceable items... scary thought!) - not yet... that's a project for tomorrow... as is the Santana Row & TSO concert.
  • explore Santana Row in San Jose before attending the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert Sunday night (yayyyyyy!! :))

    well, i might not be accomplishing my "to-dos" on the days that i planned... but at least they're getting accomplished, right? :)

    things are going well, and i'm making significant progress on my Christmas projects, although I'm still thinking that there's no way they can all be accomplished in time -- but I'll keep trying! maybe they can be passed off as new years presents... or chinese new year... :)

    in the meantime, i've made 5-minute fudge... and there are precisely 5 pieces left. it was popular! :) need a quick dessert or treat for a holiday party? here's the recipe:

    5 oz. evaporated milk
    1 2/3 cup sugar
    1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
    1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Mix evaporated milk, sugar, & salt in saucepan.
    Heat to boiling, then cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly (seriously... constantly... or else it'll boil over within a few seconds)
    Remove from heat
    Add remaining ingredients, stirring to melt chocolate chips & marshmallows
    Enjoy... I know we have! :)

  • November 13, 2008

    to do vs. do-able

    in the spirit of JC Handmade's recent post... and in the spirit of being so overwhelmed with projects that i can't keep track of what day it is, let alone what i'm supposed to be working on next...

    here's my list for the week (since there's no way i can cross everything off a list in a day... and not much chance that i'll get all this done in a week either! :)) here's to trying...

  • fold laundry
  • wash sheets
  • make 5-minute fudge (yummm!) for couples meeting on Friday night

    the rest of the week... (i.e. tomorrow night):
  • blog once more (which means... tomorrow :)) hmm... anyone interested in a 5-minute fudge recipe?
  • check off my work to-do list (that's a whole other story in & of itself... yikes!)
  • have fun with friends tomorrow night and RELAX! :)

    the weekend:
  • sleep in
  • figure out what is going in the extended family's Christmas bags this year...
  • work on Christmas presents
  • buy fabric for another Christmas present & start formulating how i will pull it off... (while working with irreplaceable items... scary thought!)
  • explore Santana Row in San Jose before attending the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert Sunday night (yayyyyyy!! :))

    so there you have it. my wish list (albeit not on Wednesday) for this week is a to-do list! :) and indeed... i wish & hope & pray i can get all of those things done before the week is up & the chaos strikes again!

    in the meantime... i'll leave you with this picture of my cousins and i... enjoying each others company after dinner. have a good day!

  • November 10, 2008

    home again home again...

    a little more tired than when i left (that's what a red-eye flight followed by 4 days of family will do!) but definitely refreshed. it was so good to see my family and visit with cousins who i haven't seen in years, as well as acquaint myself with their little ones. 9 kids 9-years-old and younger... it makes for quite the party!

    my grandparents are doing well -- going strong as always. a little slower perhaps, and a little more inclined to take naps, but still putzing along in their own way. at 89 and 94, with 65 years of marriage under their belt (officially on Wednesday) -- that's quite the feat!

    pictures & more stories to follow... and back to the crafting soon -- including finished pictures of the "black bag project" which grew on me all weekend until i couldn't help but love it :)

    November 5, 2008

    Wednesday Wish List: Thinking Christmas

    yes, i'm jumping the gun a bit, and no, my mom will not be happy with me, Thanksgiving and fall purist that she is :) but... since i've been working on so many Christmas presents lately, it's been on my mind. these aren't necessary "Christmas items" as far as holidays go... but could easily be Christmas gifts for someone in your life... or in mine! :) and true to my handmade pledge... they're all things you can make yourself or buy from another crafty person.

    aprons seem to be making a comeback lately and i've been looking for a nice one myself. too often i get home late from work, rushing to make dinner, and wind up with splashes of juice or potatoes or something else on the front of my pants or skirts. solution? an apron that i can grab quickly and use often, but can also throw in the washing machine to get all the grime out. i found this handy site via How About Orange this morning... where I can take my pick of 54 different gorgeous (and easy!) apron patterns. this lined apron tutorial looks relatively quick & easy... and i love the fabric chosen for it! :) perfect for any time of the year... and with enough color to mask many stains.

    Christmas tree skirts are always a necessity... although at this moment in time, my husband & i aren't sure where we're possibly going to put a Christmas tree... since we rearranged our living room from last year and added more furniture. i guess it's a good thing that i never completed the cross-stitch Christmas tree skirt that i purchased at after-Christmas sales last year, right? except... i never even started it :) it will be gorgeous when it's done, however! :)

    anyways... back to tree skirts. this one has captured my fancy, and luckily... the creator has been generous enough to post a tutorial of it! :) isn't it perfect?

    i'm loving Sew Mama Sew right now... since they're posting collections of Christmas gift ideas this month. so helpful :) this pointer-finger pincushion is perfect for anyone in your family who crafts... especially if they do a lot of quilting or piece-work! there's a tutorial to go along with it as well... (note to self... save this one!)

    well that's all from me for now... i've gotta dash. heading out to kansas tonight to join my dad's side of the family in a celebratory weekend -- my grandparent's 65th wedding anniversary! i'll be back with lots of pictures and stories galore i'm sure. see you all next week!

    November 4, 2008

    The Black Purse Project, Part 1

    so before i get into the tutorial/pictures part of the black purse... let me explain to you what i was (am) looking for out of this purse:

    -something i could comfortably carry my computer inside of so i don't have a large purse plus a computer bag/briefcase
    -something that would easily handle many items (i.e. a book, a sewing project, etc. when i don't have my computer with me)
    -something that would look professional but also be comfortable and practical, not just "look nice"

    easy... right? :)
    i ended up deciding to do something like this:

    given... that page of notes looks nothing like it did then... but it's always nice to start with something like that! for one thing, i changed my seam allowance from 1/2" to 1/4" on a whim. normally, this wouldn't make a difference, but since i didn't apply it consistently, you can imagine that i've had fun trying to finish these last few corners! here are more of my original notes:

    regardless of if my notes stay the same from start to finish of a project, i like to start out with notes on what needs to happen first, etc -- otherwise I'm libel to get lost in the middle of a project and not remember what i'm supposed to do next! it also leads to messes with pieces sewn in places they're not supposed to be.

    which is why... now... i'm stuck with a three-quarters finished purse, which should be easily finished, but instead has a lining that's easily 1" taller than the outer fabric and isn't cooperating. i thought i'd be smart and use it as a make-shift binding in order to take care of the extra fabric from the lining and not add to the discrepancy by having to hem the outer fabric as well. only problem... with the necessary over-lapping at the seams, i now i have lining that is not only too tall, but not long enough. enter a make-shift pleat in the front of the purse, since one on each side allows for the lining to become too long, with no forgivable solution.

    *sigh* now to bed, where i will hopefully dream up the perfect solution and remember it come morning, when i can finish the purse in time for it to serve as a carry-on during my trip to kansas beginning tomorrow night. i'll keep you posted.

    blog post sticky notes...

    if you're anything like me, you're probably scratching your head at this point. or maybe that's just me... a bit overwhelmed by work and in desperate need of an afternoon break (hence... this blogpost! :))

    read it slowly with me... blog post (pause) sticky notes. as in... sticky notes that look like blog posts. check these out:

    according to the website, you can use these to jot down "thoughts and opinions, or track daily events. These sticky notes provide room to "post" comments and links (just underline in blue) and "upload" photos (requires tape)." sounds fun, no? i may just have to give these a try... :)

    November 2, 2008

    sunday stash: where is this from again?

    a sunday stash post on a sunday... aren't you proud of me? granted, it's after 11pm on a sunday night, but it still counts, right? :)

    once again, the weekend ran away from me like a man on fire, but i was able to get a good amount of crafting done. i've been craving a new black purse for some time now... a nice one that could hold a lot but still look professional. you might remember my pining over a gap bag a while back and this weekend i finally decided to try my hand at recreating + improving upon this bag... albiet without handles (you would think that was a slight problem, wouldn't you? after spending several hours measuring, cutting, and fusing interfacing... i decided it was too. more on that later!)

    anyways... i've made quite a bit of progress on the bag, unfortunately leaving a few of my other Christmas projects by the wayside. let's just say it's going to take more than a small miracle to get everything done in time... *sigh* we'll see what happens!

    but on to sunday stash... and the fact that i have no idea where this fabric came from, who designed it, or where i can find it ever again. (hint, if anyone knows... PLEASE let me know in the comments! :))

    have a great beginning to your week, everyone! i'm off to bed for now... more on the black purse later... complete with pictures and my first crack at a tutorial. :)

    October 29, 2008

    what day of the week is it again?

    sorry about that! i'm going to combine sunday stash with wednesday wish-list as well as what's been going on with me lately! yeah... what day of the week is it?

    my "real" work has been crazy to say the least these past few days... few weeks... months, perhaps? :) I haven't wanted to turn my computer on for anything other than catching up on tv shows, even though i have been working on projects!

    but I do have updates... and wish lists... :) so here we go!

    sunday stash for this week is combined with my entry for the spare change swap. i'm so excited to get this fabric back in the mail and see all the wonderful fabrics i have to choose from to make something! i think i'm going with the "stacked coins" quilt that i talked about last time -- it's stayed on the front of my mind since then.

    here's the fabric i'm sending in:

    i know the quality of the picture doesn't even come close to doing justice to the fabric. it's a light mint green with brown spots all over it. my theory is that i bought it when i was hungry... since it reminds me of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream :)

    as far as my wish-list for this week goes, we're getting close to halloween so these are all pumpkin, candy-corn, and costume-themed :)

    crazymomquilts has always been one of my favorite blogs, and her candy-corn quilt is just one of the many quilts that highlight her amazing talents as an artist.

    this pumpkin is by far my favorite of any themed-pumpkins or pumpkin carving patterns that i've seen. how original! if only we had the time... :)

    lastly... my gradma is crazy-talented when it comes to Christmas gingerbread houses. but how about this Halloween gingerbread house? amazing!

    on that note... have a safe & happy halloween! :)

    October 24, 2008

    "Spare Change" swap

    I'm participating in the Spare Change swap as you may have seen by the button in my side column...

    and I'm sad that I didn't post about it sooner that you (whoever my readers may be) could participate! I think it's going to be a lot of fun though... and not a lot of work. We'll have to see what I make out of the "spare change" I end up getting and more importantly... how long it will take me to make something out of it (cough!) :)

    I am excited about it -- there's so many different ways you can do take "spare change" -- triangles, squares, strips, and more! I'm entirely in love with this quilt, so much so that I may have to make it for this "spare change" quilt even though it means more cutting of fabric once I get my 5x5 squares... and it also means rummaging so I have enough scraps to make the entire quilt instead of a corner :) Cutting fabric is the bane of sewing for me... it has kept me from working on (and completing) many a project.

    Any other ideas for me on what to make out of the 5x5 squares I'll be getting in the mail in a few weeks?

    October 23, 2008

    Freeze Yer Buns 2008

    Ryan & I decided to join in the "freeze yer buns" challenge that Crunchy Chicken runs every year. We're committing to 62 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. We should be fine... might even lower those standards a bit! :) We have a bit of an advantage for a few reasons:

    1) we're on the 2nd floor, and the college-age kids who live below us like to crank up their heat (if this year is anything like last year)

    2) my husband is a natural heater... not even kidding... so i can curl up against him and be perfectly warm :)

    3) all the windows in our apartment face south, so we get the sun (when it's not raining) from about 11am-sunset. if we open up the blinds, etc. during the day we can often catch that sunlight and warm the house. also... we're often not home during the day for long periods of time, which means the heat can be lower and we don't have to worry about it. you'll just find me huddled in front of our wall-heater when we get home and the house is freezing ;)

    4) we've got several warm blankets around the house which we can use if it gets too chilly at night, and a down comforter to sleep under... as well as jersey-knit sheets (you've got to check those things out... it's like sleeping in a big, thick, broken-in t-shirt!)

    we'll see how we do! wish us luck, and if you come to visit... bring layers :)

    October 22, 2008

    Wednesday Wish List

    Yes... I'm officially starting a "Wednesday Wish List" that will be (hopefully!) regular :) Feel free to join me if you want to... and if you do, be sure to leave me a comment to let me know!

    Here's my project "wish list" for this week:

    • This egg carton flower pendant light from Addicted to Decorating. Yes, it sounds (and looks) a little odd... but it would be great mood lighting... or a nightlight in a child's room, don't you think?

    • Isn't this wallet from JC Handmade amazing? Yes... it's designed to be a children's crayon & coloring wallet... but I'm in the market for a new wallet and this one might just suit me. Adjust a few of the pockets and add one outer pocket... and I might be set! :)

    • My husband might be wishing for this one more than I am... a designated place for all my craft supplies. Living in a small house makes it difficult to be able to spread out without getting in each other's way... but this craft closet that lovelydesign recently installed might just be the perfect thing... if we can figure out where to put the stuff that's currently in the closet! :)

    • These dream bubbles stitcheries from Wee Wonderfuls are the cutest thing I've seen in a while... I'd love to make a set of them small enough to fit in 4x4" frames and hang around the house at Christmas time. Aren't they amazing? :)

    I think that's it for this week's wish list. Believe me... I've got more, but I've got to save some, right? :)

    Have a great rest of your week!

    October 19, 2008

    sunday stash: made in japan

    i figured since i signed up for "sunday stash" a few weeks ago it was about time i actually participated :) this is by far one of my favorite pieces of fabric. unfortunately... i have no ideas what to do with it -- any ideas? i was thinking a purse, but i don't know what part of the fabric i would use. or... as the centerpiece of a quilt. i welcome your suggestions!! :)

    see more on flickr

    October 17, 2008

    right now...

    right now, i am:

    feeling... tired of the mundane and hoping something new will come along my path soon

    enjoying... the quietness of the office and how much i can get accomplished when everyone's gone to conferences!

    wondering... what God has in store for us in the next few months -- things seem so "up in the air" right now even though we have no solid plans at all

    wanting... more free time to focus on crafting and writing... to get all of the ideas in my head out on paper

    loving... my family and friends who are here for the long stretch -- no matter how long that may be!

    searching... for ways to save money and save for the future

    hoping... for peace, assurance, and comfort to come in unexpected ways

    forgetting... what has happened in the past and moving on to what lies ahead. i resolve to press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God has called and is calling me. (phil 3.13-14)

    **Inspired (as many things are) by SouleMama**

    October 16, 2008

    my wonderful husband

    ...brought me beautiful flowers last night. unfortunately, i woke up with a migraine this morning so i stayed home from work... but i got to enjoy their beauty all day long! :)

    more craft posts coming soon... i promise! :)

    October 14, 2008

    an amazing quilt

    this quilt is absolutely phenomenal -- colors, pattern, size, everything about it is amazing :) i'm blogging about it on here even though it means that i lesson my chances of winning since i'm sure all of you will want it as well -- just because you have to see this thing! :) click here or on the pic to the right to see more.

    October 6, 2008

    a wish list of projects

    sorry for the break between posts! i didn't intend that to happen, but following a camping trip (which was amazing!) and an extra-hectic week at work following that trip, blogging wasn't exactly the first thing on my mind :) crafting, however, was a bigger part of my week!

    my mind has mainly been on Christmas presents recently, and yes... i know it's a bit early, but these Christmas presents have been in the works for some time now... one of them is pushing 2 years in the making (here's hoping they'll like it!!). but since i can't post pictures of those for obvious reasons, i thought i'd post a few of the projects on my "wish list." because let's admit it -- i have LOTS of projects on my wish list :)

    purses are always on the top of my list. smaller bags for formal occasions and larger bags for my every-day toting. this means the bags have to be big enough to hold a book, my most recent sewing project, and my every-present idea notebook, as well as my wallet, cell phone, ipod, etc. etc. quite a challenge sometimes! and for some reason i've been very interested in tweed & wool lately... which has led me to wanting a bag somewhat like this:

    from aeropostale...

    on which i'm loving these embellishments:

    or one from gap (which i can't find a picture of!) that is a dark grey tweed with leather straps and two pockets on the inside -- perfect for carrying my computer!

    i'm thinking i should be able to make those up pretty easily... we'll see :)

    i'm loving this wallet as well...

    and these bath bombs from instructables are surely necessities, right? :)

    this is an adorable tank top and could be remade and adjusted in so many ways -- my mind is buzzing :)

    one of these days when we own our own house, these are definitely in order for a back-yard (or side-yard) garden. just look at these pictures!

    this is another bag that piques my interest... we'll see if it ever happens. i'm not quite sure what i would use it for and have a feeling it would end up being one of those projects that has no end result. i think my husband would agree that i already have too many of those hanging around :)

    as always, i have quilt wish lists and many other projects i'd like to work on... but the time somehow escapes me. maybe one of these days when all the Christmas presents are done (hopefully... before Christmas ;-)) i'll have a chance to check off a few of these items :)

    any other projects that i should have on my wish list?