Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions are made to be Broken!

Happy New Years to all my fellow internet friends! 
For my last post of 2009, I'd like to put into writing my resolutions for 2010:

#1  Post to my blog like it's the month of November, not the month of December.  The holidays and work seemed to really get in the way of blogging, so here's to less working and more blogging!

#2  Study, take, and pass the AREs.  This is the resolution I'm making instead of one of those notorious diet you see where I'm going with this? 

Have a safe and happy night, and see you next year!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Everywhere!

One of my favorite Christmas treats to make is chocolate covered Oreos, and in the process, I always manage to get chocolate everywhere!  Luckily, all I have to do is tangle one in front of my husband's eyes to make him forget the mess...and to keep more on hand for those random drips of chocolate he'll find in the next few days.

I have an awesome tempering unit that makes covering anything in chocolate very simple!  This year I dipped my usual double-stuff oreos and added Reese Peanut Butter sprinkles to the top.  In addition to my oreos, I tried dipping brownies!  They turned out to be a total mess, and when sampled by my husband, "very intense" in chocolatiness!

Tomorrow: Dark Chocolate!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Handmade Glass Ornaments

The snow swirls outside and the stereo practically blasts Christmas music.  'Tis finally the season!  And I finally got around/was in the mood to "hang" my handmade blown glass ornaments!  They're not exactly hanging on our tree, but up high on one of our antique light fixtures so that cats won't find them...

My husband and I spent some chummy time together and took a hand blown glass ornament class through the community education program in our area.  (Did you read about the other glass ornaments I made??)  With torches and hot glass involved, I knew we were in for a good time!

The whole process was intimidating at first, but turned out to be very simple:

 We started with pre-fabricated glass tubes and added glass frit to them.

Using a torch, we heated the glass until the frit stuck to the edges and the glass glowed warm orange.

 When the glass tube was toasty warm, we blew into them and our little ornaments took shape!


It was so much fun, and they're really quick to make!  You just have to be patient while they cool. Now we have twenty unique glass ornaments to deck our halls with! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009


 "Marley was dead, to begin with."

Grab your quillow and snuggle up; it's story time!  Well, in blog world, that means it's a short story, so don't worry about having to read all of Dickens's The Christmas Carol in this blog post.  (FYI, Every year I never fail to watch my favorite version of the story as reenacted by the Muppets!  The Great Gonzo portrays Mr. Dickens telling the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, while Rizzo the Rat,  playing his humorous self with a bag a jelly beans, journeys through the story with him.)  This quintessential example of Christmas spirit introduces us to the three spirits of Christmas: the ghost of Christmas Past, the ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future.  Or is it the ghost of Christmas presents?

What if they were the ghosts of Christmas presents?  Well, since I don't have a crystal ball, I have no clue about Christmas future's hard enough getting them together for this year, forget about next! And if I say anything about Christmas present presents, then that wouldn't that just ruin some of the fun of Christmas Day?  But, Christmas presents past, now that's something I can share.

Last year I was almost as busy as this year, devoting most of my pre-Christmas time to making a quillow.  I'd always wanted to make a quillow!  You know, a cute little quilt that folds up into a pillow.  I made this adorable one sporting colorful puppies as a Christmas gift for my one-year-old nephew.  (I'll update with the pattern name and creator.)  He adored it Christmas morning and snuggled right into it the moment he got it!

Now that he's gotten a little sibling on the way, he's excited about decorating his "big boy" to match.  How sweet!  Way to go Aunt Jill!

This year I've been really busy, but I haven't been making any quillows.  I'll have to share Christmas present presents when they're Christmas past's presents!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Christmas Book Wish List

Photo from

I'm basking in the glory of a lazy Saturday morning.  Having fallen victim to a supermarket endcap, I'm enjoying some delicious Peppermint Mocha Coffee-mate in my brew this morning before I decide to wake up and get around to the usual pre-Christmas shenanigans. 

I'll be busy this weekend with Christmas shopping, crafting, decorating, cookie baking and a little bit of real work (yuck to that on the weekends!)  But you know, I've been extra good this year too!  So here's my Christmas wish list of books that I would love to add to my bookshelf.   Eat your heart out, Amazon!  (Yes, that stinkin' Kindle is on my wish list too!)

Sew What Fleece by Carol Jessop

Super cute fleecy designs!  And as she says on the back cover, "Give Fleece a Chance!"  I've enjoyed my copy of  Sew What Skirts, so I hope this book will be equally as pleasing to flip through.

Sew Liberated: Twenty Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist by Meg McElwee

I've never really had a style that's all my own(I walked into the Gap yesterday wearing Gap jeans, a sweater and socks.  I then proceeded to cinch my jacket more tightly shut.)  I've really want to try to start displaying my interior craftiness on the outside!  Of course, I hope my recent jewelry purchases from Etsy will help too.  

Applique Your Way by Kayte Terry

 I've been attempting a lot of applique recently.  This book seems to have some great ideas and inspirations!

One Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make With Just One Yard of Fabric!  by Rebecca Yaker

Say that five times fast or even in one breath!  With 101 projects inside, I'm sure I'll find at least a couple things to dream about making.

Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule

I'm very into being green, at least I try to be.  I've been saving up old shirts and sweaters until I can find a way to resew them into a treasure.  Hopefully this book with be helpful!

Have you read or own any of these books??  Let me know what you think!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Last Year's Snowflake Ornaments

Hurray!  Finally a moment to pull some Christmas decorations out of the attic!  The tree is assembled (yes, my husband firmly believes in the artificial, renewable, reusable and recycled from year to year tree), but it has yet to don the sparkles of Christmas.  So in order to soak in some Christmas cheer, I'm sitting in the living room, enjoying our two smaller trees.  Daylight illuminates the living room of our little bungalow through two bay window, but during the holidays at night, the windows each twinkle with their own mini Christmas tree! 

Thinking ahead last year, these came perfectly out of the attic this year with lights, tinsel and sparkles ready to plug in!  (Finally, something simple!)  When I find another spurt of decorating energy, I'm off to find the homemade Plexiglas ornaments that adorned them last year. 

My husband designed the snowflakes using CAD, cut them with a laser cutter, then spray painted them with a silvery metallic paint.  I tied them with red ribbon, then hung them all over these trees.  They added a homemade Christmas touch to the room, and everyone who came to our Open House Party last year got to take one home with them!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

'Tis the Season to be Busy!

...and not having much time to blog.

This evening, after a full day of work, taking care of some chores at home, and running around doing errands and Christmas shopping, I finally got around to being me, which means sewing and crafting!

Of course, 'tis the season to be making gifts, so I can't show too much of what I'm working on....but I'm beaming at the progress I made tonight on these fabric snowflakes!  I love the way making gifts really gets me into the Christmas spirit, more than listening to Christmas carols or admiring all the houses aglow with decorations.  As I progress along on the gift, my thoughts anxiously stew on the anticipated reaction from the recipient opening a hand made gift on Christmas Day.  I have a lot of those recipients this year, so I just hope I can get them all done by the 25th!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December Snow!

We're getting our first taste of December snow today!  It's starting the next months of winter weather off with a little more of magic than misery and is definetly more welcome than rain.  Luckily, I have nothing more to do than stay inside, warm and cozy, and day dream out the window at the falling puffs of white.

The snow makes me anxious to crawl into the attic for the Christmas decorations, but we have a couple home improvement projects to clean up first.  So for now, I'm going to focus my excitement on the glass fusion Christmas ornaments I finally got back from the kiln!

I love the way they came out and am excited to get them on the tree!

Here's a before and after of the one I made of Zorro, my cat!  (I couldn't decide what to do, so someone suggested a pet.)



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's December and I Can't Wait to Decorate!

When it rains, it pours!  I'm still running my marathon from last week. I won't go into all details and drama, but let's just say, I'm still trying to catch my breath!  (In other words, I still haven't done any sewing yet...)

I hope my schedule will clear up soon, because I'm really excited about finding time to decorate my house for Christmas!  Last year, my sweetie and I threw a big Christmas Open House party and decked our halls with as much tinsel and holly as we could stand!  So I'm looking forward to opening up the boxes of decorations again and donning them all over the house!

One of my favorite decorations that I created last year was this "Merry Christmas" Garland.  I chose some holiday fabrics that I loved, then followed the Name Garland pattern in Winsome Baby by Art to Heart.  I bought the book a while ago, hoping to make the same garland as a baby gift, but everyone seems to completely decorate their nurseries before they name their babies.  Doesn't make much room for this cute garland!   (So make sure you name the baby first, so I can finally make this cute garland for him/her.)  I love the way this turned out!  The "merry" and "Christmas" hung in the shape of a tree, so I had to add the star at the top!