Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Menu

Two weeks ago we had a fabulous trip with Benjamin's family! I suppose that I'll get around to posting photos eventually. During the trip I caught an awful cold. After spending over a week feeling miserable and pretty much doing nothing, I'm finally getting back on my feet and doing things like planning out menu again. This week is going to be a little crazy, but I'm going to try to stick to the plan. Here's what I'm cooking this week:

M-Chicken pot pie
T-Chicken curry
W-frozen pizza
Th-grilled chicken spinach salad
F-grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

What are you planning on making?

Friday, December 10, 2010

my niece's Christmas present

It is so much fun to have a little niece for whom to make girly gifts. Don't get me wrong, I love crafting and designing for my little guys, but it's very nice to have an outlet for the sweet, feminine things I love to make.

This year I decided to make a tiny purse for my niece. It's about 4"x5"x1" and closes with a not-very-effective magnetic closure (I'll have to work on that...). I'm hoping that the cuteness factor will make up for the shortcomings of the closure. : )

I filled the purse with all sorts of goodies: crayons and a tiny notebook, princess stickers, chap-stick, life savers, and a tiny folding brush complete with a mirror. I had a lot fun putting it all together! In addition to the purse and the goodies filling it, Little Man chose a princess coloring book to give to his cousin, and I decorated plain clips with some of my fabric flowers to make oh-so-girly hair accessories for her too.

I can't wait to see her face when she opens our gifts to her!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

my sister-in-law's Christmas present

Benjamin drew one of our sisters-in-law's names for Christmas (the one whose husband requested the hat featured in the previous post). When she found out that I had drawn her husband's name, she jokingly suggested that I make a pink and brown apron with cupcakes on it for him so that she could use it. While I didn't think he'd go for that idea, it did give me inspiration on what to make for her gift!

I combined a predominately pink cupcake print fabric with a chocolate brown fabric adorned with whimsical multi-colored dots to make a cute reversible apron. It's not really my style, but I feel quite confident that my sister-in-law will love it!

[fun details on the pockets]

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

my brother-in-law's Christmas gift

I am excited that since we are celebrating Christmas with Benjamin's family this week, I'm able to start sharing some of the exciting projects that are making up our (almost) completely handmade Christmas.

I'll admit that when I drew Benjamin's oldest brother's name I was a little dismayed. He tends to be rather opinionated as well as difficult to predict as far as his tastes go. Plus I'm just much better at thinking of and making girly gifts. : ) After corresponding with him, though, I was excited to discover that he had his eye on a $98 newsboy hat that I was quite sure I could imitate.

I was disappointed that I simply could not find an eight-paneled pattern and had to make do with one that only had six panels (I'm too new at this hat business to attempt making my own pattern yet). I was, however, delighted to find beautiful (and inexpensive!) vintage wool suit coats that I cleaned, cut apart, pressed, and used for this hat.

Here's hoping that he likes it as much as I do... : )

Monday, December 6, 2010

my sister-in-law's house warming present

Benjamin's sister just moved into a new apartment. To celebrate and to help her get settled, the family is planning surprise house-warming gifts that we will give to her while everyone is together. Since she let it drop that she had hoped to find the red, white, and black fabric I have been using recently to make some potholders for her kitchen but had been unsuccessful, I thought I'd use the scraps to make some for her!

I paired the scraps that I had with solid black and a couple of other prints to make abstract geometric hot-pad tops. Then I sandwiched four layers of cotton batting between the pieced tops and a solid red back. Since I've been becoming so much more confident with stippling, I decided to try a new free motion pattern that I've been wanting to try: loopy flowers. It's harder than I thought it would be, but overall I'm pleased with the results--as long as I'm looking at the pot holders from a distance. : )

Hopefully she'll love them and give them a long, useful life in her, white, and black kitchen fulfilling the destiny of potholders.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas craft of the year

When I was young, my mom always came up with a fun Christmas ornament or craft to make as gifts for "everyone." We had so much fun making and giving them. When I get out the Christmas ornaments, I always enjoy looking at the things we made and remembering how special each year was.

I was/am so excited that Little Man is finally old enough to work on a Christmas craft with me this year. True, I still end up dong a lot of the work, but his enthusiasm is priceless, and I love working with him!

We made blue snowflake ornaments by swirling silver and blue paint inside clear ornaments, decorating them with pretty snowflake stickers, and tying sheer ribbon around the top. Little Man's favorite parts were sticking on the snowflakes, cutting the ribbon, and packaging them in tiny gift bags and boxes. These ornaments will go to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and close friends.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Meet my fabulous new-to-me vintage suitcase. It's an American Tourister, hard sided, tiara suitcase (circa 1960?) that I decorated with my own free hand designs. I love everything about it: the size, the color, the sage-colored floral lining, the price ($3!)... The only thing that I may regret is the fact that it has no wheels and can get pretty heavy.

Today I am packing it and the rest of our bags into our car in preparation for our week-long trip to Utah for an early Christmas celebration with Benjamin's family. It's going to be a wonderful week of cooking, catching up, decorating sugar cookies, exchanging gifts, doing fun stuff, shopping, eating, playing games, chasing little ones around, cooking, eating, laughing... It's going to be loud and crazy and fabulous. I can't wait! A few years ago this only child would have been overwhelmed by it all, but over time I've learned to hold my own with the best of them. : )

I must admit that as fun as I'm expecting this trip to be, it will be nice to be home again at the end of it. After all, "Through pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble there's no place like home."

p.s. I've written some posts ahead of time and scheduled them to post while I'm gone. This is the first time I've done this, so I hope it works!