Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

champagne wishes

New Year's Eve is upon us and for many, that night means champagne. If I headed out to celebrate this year, I would definitely partake, so I was thinking maybe I should prepare some fancy, fizzy drinks here at the homestead.
Whether you decorate the flute or add a little something to your bubbly, nothing says "Happy New Year!" like some champagne wishes.....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

holiday cards- take two

At week's end , I will have to decide what to do with my holiday cards. The cards of the non-photo variety can be used for decorations if I am particularly fond of the design or colors.
With just a circle punch or two, they could be turned into a wreath.....
but, with the same punch, patience, and the ability to follow directions- you could wind up with some intricate ornaments for next year's tree.

Images courtesy of scoutiegirl (1,3),, marthastewart

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa Hat Brownies

These holiday treats are new to me, so I am a little enchanted with them this year. They are easy to whip up and cute, therefore, seem to be the perfect thing to bring to the Christmas gatherings coming up this weekend.
There are many ways to make these Santa Hat desserts- I have seen a recipe with butter cream frosting and piped white chocolate. I am opting for the butter cream for my sugar chapeaus!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"White Wine in the Sun"

I love cheesy, sentimental, and overplayed Christmas carols. I'm not going to deny it - I'm that square (see further evidence here). But as resistant as I am to changing my musical repertoire - I just discovered Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun" and I'm adding it to my holiday mix immediately. It's not only a really lovely and clever song, but it can also appear to the agnostics/atheists out there during this time of the year. Who could ask for more?

Monday, December 19, 2011

homemade holiday cards

My mother wanted me to illustrate her holiday card this year (her not-so-subtle way of making sure I continue to draw or paint and not get lazy about art), so I did just that (not only because I am still a little scared of my mum and always do what she asks, but because it is so rare for her to ask a favor and I'm thrilled to be able to do something for her for once! ).

I decided to make two designs- a pine cone with greenery and berries hanging from a ribbon and the side door of my parents' house, complete with the holiday wreath.
The images were scanned in and reproduced on stationery. After I had the cards back home, I added just a little color- green in the wreath on the door and red for the berries with the pine cone.
Now I'm especially glad I took on the project. It felt good to draw again- why are moms always right?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Post for Russell

Russell Hoban, author of 60 books for children, passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Although known most famously for those beloved badger books about Frances, my favorite of his has always been "A Mouse and His Child" (1967). An incredibly profound and moving story, I think it deserves to take up room on anyone's bookshelf.

     "The mouse and his child, unwound, came to a stop, while their captor sat down on the edge of the hole where the television screen had been and ate his salami. As he looked up into the night, the massed clouds lifted to reveal the sky. The moon had set; the stars were sharp and clear. Low above the horizon wheeled Orion the Hunter, and near the luminous scattering of the Milky Way, in the Great Dog constellation, blazed Sirius, the brightest star of all. Manny Rat liked dark nights best; he grimaced at the stars and turned away.
      Standing as he was on uneven ground, the child was tilted at such an angle that he too saw the Dog Star, beyond his father’s shoulder. He had never looked up at the sky before; indeed, he had as yet seen little of the earth, and even that little was more frightening than he had imagined. At first the icy glitter of the far-off star was terrifying to him; he sensed a distance so vast as to reduce him to nothing. But as he looked and looked upon that steady burning he was comforted a little ; if he was nothing, he thought, so also was this rat and all the dump. His father’s hands were firm upon his, and he resolved to see what next the great world offered."

{from the David Small illustrated edition, page 27}

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

gingerbread fanciness

So, I have already eaten a small army of gingerbread men thanks to my kids having a special morning of baking with Nana. They were delicious gents, yes, but I love these sparkling gingerbread snowflakes from Cupcakes and Cashmere, complete with recipe! They would be perfect for gifting or making a splash at the holiday party.
I also found a recipe for Gingerbread Lattes from that I am anxious to try. Sounds like the tastiest holiday beverage....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

the perils of wanting to be a crafty mom

When I was pregnant with Sweet Pea, I spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of mother I wanted to be. Of course I knew I wanted to be a loving and kind mother who taught him to love animals and camping and all that jazz, but I also knew that  - despite my lack of natural abilities - I wanted to be a crafty mother.

With this desire in mind I undertook my first crafty project - Christmas stockings for my family unit of three. And, as you see in the image above, I did indeed finish one stocking. But the process of making it was BRUTAL. After getting advice from sewing master Mae, I still completely forgot how to use my very basic sewing machine and so had way too many moments of frustration. For example, I yelled at my husband for trying to help me thread the bobbin, I burst into tears when I ran out of thread, and really, really wanted to throw the whole damn machine across the room for getting jammed with knots. I also thought I could wing the pattern and so first made a majorly jacked up club foot stocking before I used this Martha pattern. I am not kidding when I say that I seriously wasted hours of time - and ignored my son - in order to make this one stocking for him.

In the end, you may ask, what lesson did I learn? Well, I know now that I don't have the patience or the skills to be a sewing mom. But I also learned that I don't have to be good at it to actually do it - as long as I enjoy it (which I actually did - a tiny little bit) and no one gets hurt (my husband's feelings not included).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hand Print Santa

As a parent of young kids, I am always looking for some holiday projects we can try that are preschool-age friendly. I thought I had seen most of them, from the felt mouse candy cane holder to the Popsicle stick reindeer, but at parent-teacher conferences in kindergarten last week, I spied a new one!
Sunday afternoon we gave these hand print Santas a whirl. It was a simple craft that was a smashing success. All it required was some washable tempura paints, a few brushes and construction paper. We decided to use the dozens of palm-y St. Nicks as holiday cards and gift tags. I will tuck a couple of them away for future Christmas decorations as well.
I would definitely recommend this craft as a fun and easy way to get into the holiday spirit with little guys and gals.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Vintage Christmas

One of my favorite Etsy shops is efinegifts where everything is on the verge of being ephemeral - so worn, so delicate, or so breakable. I'd love to live in a world of these vintage decorations, but with Sweet Pea's newly grasping and grabbing hands - I might have to wait a little bit longer.

 {all images via efinegifts}

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Beeswax Tapers

When is Vivi going to move nearby so that we can roll beeswax taper candles for Christmas gifts? When?!
I am anxious to try this out, but it seems a better project for two ambitious gals given the bulk ordering of the wax sheets.
What a cool holiday project though- rolling some honeycomb tapers, pairing them with a beautifully designed matchbox and packaging them oh so perfectly for those little presents you always need.
Maybe next year.....
I did find a site, Toadily Handmade, that sells sheets of beeswax in many colors specifically for rolling or actual entire kits for family projects (or blogger buddy Christmas crafts) . If you decide to put this on your to-do list for the holiday season, or anytime, it makes it pretty easy!

Images: yourbeeswax at etsy (1,2) and toadilyhandmade (3)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Festive Clothespins

A package of clothespins is so reasonable and available at most any craft store- really, it is like a bag of potential for a dollar. These examples don't even touch upon all the kids' crafts that start with a clothespin....these are some grown-up ideas for the holidays :).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Through the View Master


For my one year anniversary I got my husband a View Master with a customized reel of us from courtship to baby from the Etsy shop Image3D. I love how it sits all shiny and red on the book shelf. It's awesome. You should get one. Or give one. That is all.

I know I totally sound like a paid shill for this shop, but I'm not at all. I'm just bragging about my occasional  gift-giving abilities.

image by Karen Kurycki


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