Friday, December 30, 2011

crafting for craft: caddy cocktail a-go-go

 If you like yer boozy drinks to be more desserty than not, hop on over to Craft for my take on a Gold Cadillac. It's perfect for the New Year! Pluys, I show you how to turn a jam jar into a cocktail shaker. Too cute!
 
 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the a-go-go tradition continues

 i made the mister his Bert & Ernie this year...
and he made me a Sock Thinker monkey! aack, I lurve it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

scenes from christmas

 
 
 there was frost in the morning and a blurry blur of unwrapping gifts. there were wee gifts and sweet gifts and things from the list (yay pastry blender and brush) and not (whoo-hoo back-pack!)
 
there was fancy wine, cheese and crackers and oodles of butter fudge (i got three boxes of it...heehee)...and quiche and cookies and so much food!
 there was Rudolph and card playing and the popping of holiday crackers.

there were half-way naps and video games played and robot fights galore. there was also mucho time spent with family simply hanging out. all in all a very nice holiday save for our no longer working car and my sick, sick, sickiness. happy boxing day folks!

Friday, December 23, 2011

today was a doozy

the extend of the holiday decor, it just didn't happen.
 Today, the mister and I decided to go through all the boxes of crappity-crap in an attempt to organize and make the new tiny casa more like home (a clean and organized home).  At some point I could tell the mister was losing it. Heck, I was losing it. There was stuffity stuff here and crappity crap there, it was so overwhelming I wondered how I would feel if I simply gathered it all, all, ALL up and tossed it. With each glance out the window at the mister in the carport attempting to organize suitcases of paper of all things, I could see his shoulders slouching lower and lower. We a-go-gos are pretty harmonious but today I tell ya, was not exactly a happy-go-lucky kind of day. Man, I have too much stuff. Not even stuff stuff...more like craft stuff. Some of it is easier than the rest to organize. Ribbon goes with ribbon, yarn with yarn, etc. But how do you organize a box of die cut shapes, glittery letters, laser cut keys and bound book innards? If you ever see me enter a craft store I give you permission to slap me. And it is not as if I purchased every last bit of craft crap, a lot of it yes but I also inherited oodles from my mamos and my granny. A good bit of it came from my old swapping days and other bits are thrift finds or craft scraps I cannot bear to part with and as I sorted and reminisced I found myself imagining my future as a withered little lady in a dingy dark space surrounded by old used gift wrap and books tied together with scraps of yarn that have been knotted together to extend their use. I will trip over cereal boxes I am saving for some use to set up a lovely tray of lemonade served up in old peanut butter jars. And then it hit me...I will be surrounded by crappity crap that is TOO PRETTY TO USE.

This needs to stop. I need an intervention. I managed to throw away actual trash and fill a box for donation. I teared up in frustration at my codependency with crafting supplies. I apologized to the mister so many times he blew his top and rode off on his bike to pick up a sandwich for us to share. I need to live near other crafty people so that they can come over and use up my supplies. I need to learn how to socialize so that I am not buried by buttons and itty bitty fraying fabric scraps. I need a new me. A better me. A me who is still me but can clear her noggin and create nifty creations and not hold on to things. Seriously folks, I threw away business cards from old crafty friends of years gone by and I felt guilty. I found old pX postcards and liberated them to the recycling bin with an apology to their sender. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading and revisiting so much of this and I was and am excited to have rediscovered crafty bits I thought had run away but I also felt weighed down, I DO feel weighed down so I need to think, think, think of how to move forward.

Of course, during this whole day, whilst greeting old forgotten fabric scraps with giggles and hellos, wanting to tear my hair out over the enormity of it all, my mind started to wander to my closet and the clothing I am holding onto and an idea to start anew and...and...and...

Slaperooni! Hold on a sec while I shake my head vigorously. Maybe THAT will clear it out. Drats...it didn't work. I will try again tomorrow. How ridiculous is it that I titled this post to write about the super nifty rummage/antique store I finally visited but instead documented the mundane day I and the mister had. If you are wondering, things are calmer. He made dinner and I sorted stationery and then we watched a little netflix. He's here on the sofa next to me as I tip-type away. He, huddled under a gray blanket and me in a polka-dotted bathrobe and mis-matching socks. I'm still ick with sick (it has morphed from cold to chest ick) and hack, hacking up a storm. We've got all our holiday stuff finished and a plan for tomorrow. So other than my magpie tendencies and his lack of magpie-ishness we're good. Tired and cranky, but good.

Hopefully tonight will not be as cold as last night (it was COLD) and tomorrow I will actually get the butter softened enough to bake gingerbread and some wonder cookies. Merry Christmas Eve Eve friends and Happy Hanukkah. Smooches from me to you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas wrapping

 I have a thing for gift wrap. A major THING. But knowing that the pretty only lasts for a few moments and then it is tossed into the trash makes me feel all ickified inside. I have a few rolls I purchased moons ago that have carried me over for a while and other than that I stick to pattern tissue (thrifted), brown paper (from packing materials, etc.) and other bits of pieces that float about the casa. This year, I purchased two skeins of yarn and broke out some of my coffee filters as well...it's pretty nifty how pretty you can make gifts with a few snips here and a few snips there...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

making snowflakes

 It's a good thing that I know where my scissors are. not only did I find my scissors, I found my coffee filters and some nifty cupcake liners. Using my tutorial from last year I went to work. This time, I added a few paper punches to the mix.
 

H a p p y   H o l i d a y s!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

{mis}adventures

always love an arrow
surprise pinecone
on Garden St.
 I'm currently camped out on the sofa sick with an ick that I hope is only a cold. Gah! There are still craft boxes to sort. I got two of them open last week and started sorting items into groupings of similar things but those groupings have decided to throw a rave and are now ALL OVER the darn place. I have way too much crafting stuff and should never step foot into a craft store again. Oy.
at Nautical Bean
the holiday carousel
christmas carp
Before I got sick, we lady a-go-gos headed out for a {mis}adventure where we thought we were going for tea but it was all a misunderstanding (more on that later). Instead, we split sandwiches at a favorite cafe, wandered about downtown (which I really never do), discovered a nifty retro store with walk-in brow waxing (whoo-hoo!) and enjoyed our day. I also picked up (and since returned) a pair of shoes (the search continues).
We wandered around and passed by the mission where I admitted I still needed to visit. Looks like the mama a-go-go and I will have a date soon as she hasn't been either. We live in a pretty nifty town. Wandering is always pretty and parking is a deal. I need to wander more often.
And, because I rode my bike from the tiny casa to the homestead, the mister tied my new shoes down for me and I pedaled back home to wrap gifts and work on projects (and let the mister get back to monkey making) before the light faded away.

Monday, December 19, 2011

make a stocking in a bag

  I'm a bit fiendishly obsessive about stocking stuffers. I used to  share the fiendishness with Easter baskets but I have since lost that addiction...er...habit.

Not having any kiddos to play Santa for I felt bereft until I learned of a common phenomenon amongst my mama friends. Most of my mama friends act as Santa's helpers and so on Christmas morning, when it is time to dive into the holiday socks, they are left with a limp stocking, partially filled with items they bought for themselves and a candy cane or two from Santa. Combine that with my tiny kidless casa and some lackluster holiday socks as well and hopefully, you can get the picture. A few years ago, Ms. Za and I started exchanging stockings. From using and reusing pretty stocking stockings to filling tiny suitcases and/or vintage tins, we've gotten our creative fiend out and filled up all sorts of happy. This year, I am adding a new mama to the mix and because she isn't really expecting it and probably already has her own stocking, I am sending her a bag filled with goodness. This is also a nifty way to send a series of tiny gifts to a friend far away who may already have a traditional sock to hang. I suppose we only really need one stocking, right? I still have and use the one my Mamos made for me when I was born. I even made one for the mister in the same style so we could match. Mine is bit more motheaten than his bu I love it all the same .

So. grab some burlap, felt or other fat quarter sized fabric you may have on hand and let's get to sewing, shall we?

Materials
*fat quarter sized (mine was actually larger) piece of felt, burlap or other fabric
*1 large rectangular doily, 1 medium round doily and 1 small round doily
*small patch of red fabric (I used a t-shirt scrap)
*sewing machine
*large button
Cut your fabric into a large rectangular shape using your non-happy fabric scissors if you are cutting burlap. My burlap piece is about 25"X15". Press with a hot iron to flatten it out. Fold over the edge of a short end about 1" and press to hold shape. Repeat for the other side. These will be your hemmed edges. Bring the fabric to the machine and stitch those hems down, trim threads.

About 5" down from one hemmed edge,  pin  a row of pins to mark where the other hemmed edge will come up to create the pouch. Think of it as a large envelope.
 Estimate where you want your rectangular doily and super pin into place (hemmed sides facing down). Doilies can be tricky to stitch on with a machine as they are wont to dance. You can do this by hand as well but the machine makes the stitching happen a wee bit faster, so make sure you get all pin-happy with that lace. Of course, you can use any shape doily you like.

Pin your medium sized doily over the top of one of your hemmed edges so that half is on the burlap and half hangs over the edge. Introduce this new bundle of happy to your machine and stitch the doilies to the burlap using a small zig-zig stitch. Take your time and unpin as you go if you find yer pins butting heads with the foot of your machine. Trim thread. when you stitch the round doily to the burlap, you will only be stitching half of it on, so yep, that's correct, the other half will hang over the edge.

Cut your small piece of red fabric (or other color) and pin to your almost-stocking. Pin the smaller doily on top and use your machine to anchor all that happy on.
Fold the bottom of your happy piece up towards the top edge leaving about 5" for a flap. Pin in place and use a running stitch on your machine to sew down either side thus closing your bag. Give yourself an inch or so on the side-seams so that you may fray those edges by gently tugging on the excess burlap.

Flip the doily top over and estimate where a good place for a button would be and hand-stitch your button on. If your doily has a loose lace you will not need to create a buttonhole. If you do need to create a button hole...have fun!
Fill your happy pouch with wrapped stocking stuffers (click here for suggestions on how to stuff a stocking for under $25), close the top and wrap with a contrasting yarn or rick-rack for added pizazz. Pop it in a box and mail it off to your very lucky friend.
 
Not up for stuffing a stocking or two but still want to give?  You can pick up a few new-in-box toys, games, or kits and donate them to your local toy drive such as Toys for Tots or perhaps pick up some canned goods for a local food drive, our local markets sell coupons for meals so that you may pick up a few and your  dollar donation will help feed those during the holiday season.  Happy giving!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

pinterest pretty: whiskey marshmallow bacon bark

 I have quite a pretty Pinterest collection (at least, I like to think so). It's not hard really what with all the pretty that is out there. From crafty bits to home decor to happy recipes, there is an overflow of fun floating about (with proper credits, of course). This week, rather than tackle the mondo pile of boxes full of fabric and bits, I thought I would bake up goodies bags for my co-workers at job-o number one. Not wanting to bake up cookies (even though I am a master cookie baker) I thought I would go for something a bit more fancy when I spotted this pin on Pinterest and immediately added it to my holiday list. I had all the ingredients save for the whiskey and since I think whiskey is a good bit o' booze to have on hand, I hit up the market for a bottle of Honey Jack (so good!) and got to work.
 
This crazy bark is amazing. Addicting amazing, but the effort results in such little yield I'm not sure I will make it again, anytime soon. Nest time I make it though, I am going to skip the meringue part and just add the crumpled bacon to the top, no sugar glaze, just salty bacon. Recipe can be found here at Endless Simmer. Enjoy!
 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

might i recommend...a wee bit o sweetness

 There's a gal I know who is a bit of a dabbler. She's one of those who dabbles a little here and a little there and does it so well that you find a wee bit of envy creeping into yer noggin. Her newest bit of dabbling, methinks, is here to stay and like everything else, she's mighty good at it. What is it you ask? Why, it's Confounding Confections, Boiled Sweets for Singers of Shanties and Perusers of Tomes, handmade vegan hard candies made in California with natural ingredients.

 
 
Each little bit of wrapped goodness is full of flavor and staying power (trust me, I sampled a few).  With sweet collections such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Seafaring collection (the scurvy sea dog is quite tasty) there are all sorts of nifty flavors to choose from. Now, for the holidays your happy order can be wrapped up in a nifty tin and they are vegan (the candies, not the tin)!  A perfect gift for oodles of folks in yer life. Don't miss out!
 
**and just so ya know, I am not affiliated with Confounding Confections. While I do know the candy mistress in charge, I was not contacted to feast these sweets upon you, it is all my own doing. Lookie how pretty they are, how could I not? I simply find their product delightful.