30 November 2007

I heart snail mail

I mean, who doesn't? (As my cousin once said- it's always exciting to get something in your mailbox other than bills and ads from "bed, bath, and who cares") I was ranting and raving a while ago about how the issue of Ottobre that I ordered back in July had never come. Well, lo and behold, guess what arrived yesterday.

I think I've learned the definition of snail mail- hello- four months later! It turned out that (on the fourth attempt) they finally realized that someone had flipped two of the numbers in my address. Unfortunately, I'm not going to have time before Christmas to make the two adorable outfits for Jared's nephews that I had planned on, but hey- they can wait. And these outfits will still look cute on them after Christmas too...

Also- speaking of snail mail- Angela of Paper Menagerie (formerly Ambient Designs) organized a "Celebrate Snail Mail Swap." It was great- just write a letter about anything to the person you're assigned. I got a sweet letter from Nadine-she's a seller on etsy, but I'm not sure what her shop name is. Looks like I've got myself a new penpal or two!

Well, I'm back to the workshop of bags, coasters, and pouches (I did end up taking a vacation day today- how lovely). Have a great weekend and I hope you all get something exciting in your mailbox.

29 November 2007

buzz buzz buzz {or} how many presents can i make

I've noticed that there have been a lot of random and scattered posts out here in blogland lately. I think this phenomenon is definitely an indicator of the time of year that is suddenly upon us. Can we talk about how Hanukkah is next freaking week!? How the heck did that happen? No really, can you tell me please? There are sometimes in my life when this whole lunar calendar is just not working in my favor. Anyways, I am definitely feeling just as (if not more) scatterbrained and anxious as every other crafter out in the world right now. If you could only see my lists. Last night when I was over at Crafty Planet, I actually had to talk myself out of using the last of my precious gift certificate (thanks again wen!) on a new book- because I didn't want to overwhelm myself with more project ideas. And frankly, I should probably just stop reading blogs altogether for awhile. Can you tell I'm feeling a little overwhelmed? The lists are in full force right now.

So I guess I'll just go ahead and continue to contribute to the flurry of ideas of wonderful holiday gifts that are floating around out there right now. I've got so many different ideas right now that I'm not too worried about people finding out what they're getting...In the spirit of how my brain is working these days, we're going to do this in list form:

::Yummy holiday cookies (possibly almond horns, sesame biscotti, orange cranberry drops, or mint chocolate chocolate chip- don't worry I'll share the recipes later) packaged up in cute thrifted tins- kind of like these

::Quilted potholders, like these

::Tea cozy from Bend the Rules

::Custom moleskine notebooks, like these, or the ones from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts

::Custom notebooks, like these (I'm deciding between these or the moleskines)

::Mix CDs, with some of my new music

::This eye pillow/heat therapy bag.

::Pincushions (I can't even begin to give you an example- I think you could throw a pin out into blogland and find a pincushion tutorial).

{Sigh} I'm trying to stay calm with all of these ideas buzz buzz buzzing around in my head. Not to mention that I'll be in two craft shows (more on that later) in the next few weeks that I'm trying to prepare for. Oh yeah, and my full-time job. I'm beginning to think that this may be a good time to use some of those vacation days I've got laying around.

27 November 2007

Cranberry Yumminess

Like I said, I was silly enough to not get any Thanksgiving photos. So this will just have to be that evil photo-less post, but I so wanted to share this recipe with you all, so you'll just have to make it yourself to see how it turns out. I think this dish that my mom always made is one of my all-time Thanksgiving favorites, and now I make it every year. At my parent's Thanksgiving, we always ate it with the meal instead of cranberry sauce, but everytime I introduce someone else to it, they insist it's supposed to be a dessert. (The recipe calls it a "casserole," not a "crisp" but in this case, I'm not sure what the difference is). Whenever you eat it, it's delicious. In fact, writing about it now, I think I may have to make another one!

Cranberry Apple Casserole
3 cups apples, chopped and unpeeled
2 cups fresh, whole cranberries
1 cup sugar (I use between 1/2 and 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup uncooked oats
1/2 cup pecans (or other nuts), chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Combine apples and cranberries in the dish. Sprinkle with sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oats, nuts, brown sugar, butter/margarine. Mix well and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake for 45 minutes. If you need more topping, add another 1/2 cup each of the oats and nuts- do not increase the brown sugar or butter/margarine. Eat while warm- especially good with some vanilla ice cream or soy cream.

26 November 2007

The Fall Harvest

Needless to say, I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was lovely- lots of family time, and exciting announcement (adoption!), meeting a new baby, and of course lots of delicious food. Although I was really happy to not be traveling anywhere (well, there was a lot of driving, but we didn't leave the state), I did miss being with my own family. As much as I love Jared's family (and I do) and as much as I love having some family here in Minnesota, it's still not the same. Next year...

Anyways, of course we left our camera at the house for the entire weekend, missing out on what I'm sure would have been beautiful photos of food, children, family, that beautifully perfect dusting of snow and especially those beautiful sunrises over the lake by Jared's uncle's house where we stayed for a few nights. This will be my New Year's resolution- stop leaving the camera at home!

Okay, I wanted to tell you all about a little pre-Thanksgiving excitement over here as well...Back in April, when I planted the garden (you may remember this), I planted some broccoli. Being my first garden experiment, I did not start the broccoli seeds earlier in the spring like I should have. But I figured it would be okay because the seed package said "plant in spring for fall harvest." All summer, Jared has been asking when the broccoli would be ready. So finally on Wednesday, I figured it was time for that "fall harvest" and headed over to the garden. In addition to my not quite matured broccoli, I was reminded of all the beets that I had left in the ground to grow just a little more...

Look at this beautiful November harvest! How yummy. Having my garden this past summer was such a fun and rewarding experience. The harvests were much more plentiful than I could have imagined and I learned so much. I tried my best to keep a gardening journal so that next year I won't forget all that I learned over the summer. I already have lists of what I want to plant and how I'll change things next year. I lost a little steam towards the end of the summer, with life just getting a bit more busy, but this final fall harvest certainly rejuvenated me for thinking about next year. And I think next year, I'll also be better about starting seeds earlier (is February really that soon?!). Oh yeah, but the holidays are upon us first. And that's where my head will be for the next month.

21 November 2007

Branching Out

Well, Thanksgiving is just about upon us. Can someone please tell me how this happened? Yeah, time is really just flying by. There is so much to be thankful for this year...number one being the health of my mom and the rest of my friends and family. I'm not going to go into a whole long thing about every single thing I'm thankful for (and there are a lot of things to be thankful for this year, and every year). But that one just needs to be said.

Anyways, onto more crafty things...This seems to have become my m.o. recently: Holiday? New outfit of course! Well, I'm proud to say that I have finally branched out of the Built By Wendy patterns (not that I'm abandoning them, oh no! Just branching out). This one is a vintage Butterick 4041 that I picked up at that garage sale a few weeks back (although I just looked it up online, and I think Butterick 4041 is no longer the same pattern, hmm, can't they come up with new numbers?).

All the fabric and the thread for this skirt was thrifted (I'm liking this habit I'm getting into)- but I had to buy the buttons new. I never would have thought of wooden buttons, but it was pretty much the only option that was workable, and I really like how that turned out. The button choice on this one is pretty important, since they're so front and center (literally). Oh, and the pockets. They're huge! In case you can't tell from the photos, this is a wrap, which I love. The pattern, if you can get your hands on it, was super simple. Just one main piece, plus the waistband and the pockets. I added the lining-it was not part of the pattern-and I love how the patterned fabric contrasts with the red corduroy (have I mentioned how much I'm loving corduroy these days?)

My goal for this past summer was to learn how to follow and use sewing patterns, and I am so happy about having achieved this goal. It really makes me wonder- what the heck have I been waiting for all this time?! But here I am, sewing hands twitching, already plotting my next item of clothing...

I may pop in tomorrow to share some quick recipes that I'll be whipping up for our 26-person feast at Jared's aunt's house tomorrow afternoon, but if not, I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving if you're celebrating it. And whether you are or not, we all have something to be thankful for, and I hope you enjoy it.

19 November 2007

and the winner is...

Yay! Felicia is the creator of some incredible stuffed creatures (be sure to check them out here) and has a wonderful blog that makes me want to give Georgia a second chance after my one miserable night there in an airport motel back in college. She is one of my longest-standing readers, too. Congrats! Thanks to all of you for commenting on my 100th blog post, and such sweet comments, too! It's so great to know that there are such wonderful people out there who care about what I'm writing here. Thank You.

Felicia, please send me your address (I'm sure I have it somewhere...) so I can mail you off one of my zippy pouches. For those of you who were not the winners, if you email me your addresses I will send you a special surprise gift. (email address in the sidebar).

Thanks again to all of you. When I started this blog, it was with the intention to promote my crafts, but it has truly become so much more than that, all because of the awesome people out there who take the time to stop by here. And please continue to leave a comment every once in a while, it's great to hear from you all!

I'll be back tomorrow with some more crafty action. And I'm still working on updating the shop with all my new holiday stuff, so keep checking in over there as well!

18 November 2007

I almost forgot

Some of you more recent readers may not even know this, but when I first started sewing and selling my crafts, I was pretty much just making cards. I know, you wouldn't think that if you just showed up here recently. I have barely made any cards over the last year. I went on a little bit of a bender last December before the holidays, and got a bit burnt out for a while. I wasn't really looking forward to making cards again this winter, but I "knew" that I had to for the holidays. In fact, I almost just didn't make any because I really didn't want to and I don't want to go down the road of making things that I don't enjoy just because they sell well. To motivate myself, I even promised Jared that I wouldn't make myself any more clothing until after I made a good amount of cards.

I finally sat down on Thursday night with the paper cutter and I am so glad that I did. As soon as I sat down, I got so inspired, and just kept going, staying up way past my bedtime (which is pretty darn early, so I wasn't up that late, but still) cutting paper and snipping up little fabric scraps and sewing away. I was even enjoying making envelopes (which I almost never have enjoyed)! I really forgot how much I love making these little designs and playing with the different fabric patterns and colors. Cards are just like have lots of little tiny canvases for images. I just love when that happens- getting inspired when you least expect it.

So, without further ado, there will be a shop update. I will be posting these new cards, along with some zippy pouches, coasters, and new knit hats (hopefully) by the end of the day tomorrow. There will also be some half-price cards that are left over from last year's holiday designs, so be sure to check those out as well.

Hanukkah is early this year- so be sure to get these dreidel cards in time!

These little house cards were totally inspired by this, these, and this, and I'm loving them. I just love all these little houses out there this season.

I will be drawing the winner of my 100th post giveaway tomorrow, so be sure to check back here to see if you're the winner!

(oh yeah, and now that I made so many cards, I was back on the clothing train today. more on that later this week)

15 November 2007

Feeling a little nightgown-ish?

Oh I was excited for this piece. This is the other BBW pattern (Simplicity 4111) that I bought on my trip to New York back in September, and I had kind of been holding off until I found the perfect fabric for it... and I'm thinking that I should keep looking. I'm not sure why I thought that this one would be perfect, but nevertheless, I did. An, as an added bonus, both the fabric and the buttons are thrifted!

The first problem is that it's so thin that it couldn't even keep me warm in the summer, much less winter (which it is now, by the way). But I can deal with this. The second problem is that it's a little see-through, which is pretty easily remedied by this black shirt underneath. But the my real issue with this fabric choice, is that it just feels like a nightgown. The pattern, the feel (plus there is absolutely no give to it either), pretty much everything about this fabric feel like a nightgown or maybe even some sheets.

I'm starting to get over it- I made this last week and have already worn it twice in an attempt to like it-so I think it'll be okay. And I'm definitely planning on trying this out again with some different fabric. So, I think I'll keep it.

PS: Thank you all for your comment love on my 100th post. If you still want to get in on the drawing for the zippy pouch giveaway, leave a comment over there before Monday, when I'll announce the winner.

13 November 2007


So I didn't make it yesterday for "the exciting 100th blog post" but here it is today. I won't get all mushy about this or anything, but (like I've said recently) I had no idea what I was getting myself into back in February when I began this whole blog adventure. I don't think I had ever even read a blog more than a couple times, and I certainly had no clue as to how many amazing crafty (and otherwise) blogs there are out there. I continue to be so so inspired by this everyday. Both by the blogs out there that I read (and I'm still discovering new one every single day) and just by the potential for anyone out in the world who has something to say or show off to create their own space to do just that.

So, in honor of this monumental occasion (well, I think it is anyways), I will be giving away one of these newly completed zippy pouches to one of my lucky readers. I got this statcounter a few months ago that tracks who is visiting the blog (actually, I have to say that it's kind of creepy the level of detailed info they give, but I try to ignore that). I was pretty much just curious to see if anyone aside from my mom and a handful of regular commenters were actually reading this thing. I was shocked to discover the number of lurkers out there! And from all over the world (literally-there's a map). I know that I too lurk on many a blog, but it so nice for me to know that you all are out there, and I decided that I needed to do something to get you out of the shadows. So what else would do the trick but a good giveaway?

Just leave me a comment before Monday and then I'll draw a random winner and announce it on Monday. (I haven't decided which one will be given away yet, so if you want you can feel free to let me know your favorite in case you win).

Thank you all for your presence here, whether I know you're out there or not, you make it all worth it. Really.

11 November 2007

Knitting Season

It's here again...knitting season. I know for many of you out there, every season is knitting season. But for me, knitting is slowly becoming kind of a seasonal thing. It's just kind of hard to knit something and have it sitting in your lap all warm during the summer. This feeling was compounded for me this year by a serious knitting disappointment over the summer that prevented me from being able to pick up my needles right away (let's just say- remember that sweater? it's no coincidence that you never saw the end of that one. It's still in a box and we don't talk about that yet).

Anyways, I'm back in the saddle. I've started working on a scarf, just for me, and it's so nice. I also completed a lovely hat for a friend's birthday. It's just a simple earflap hat, but the yarn makes it oh so nice. It's a mixture of blue sky and frog tree alpaca. I almost didn't want to give it up. Lucky for me, my mom made me this same hat a few years ago, so I already have one. Although I might have to add on some of these ties to my hat. I think I like them.

PS: Be sure to check back tomorrow for an exciting 100th blog post!

08 November 2007

Fashion Thursday or I love a handmade outfit

So here we are, it's Thursday again. (By the by- has anyone else felt like every day this week felt like Friday? That's not a fun feeling. Especially when you realize it's only Tuesday). Anyways, I'm not really keeping up with this whole Fashion Thursday thing too well. But I am keeping up with posting more frequently lately. I guess I've just felt like there's a lot to talk about in this space, and I think that's a good thing.

This outfit just made me really happy yesterday. The skirt is the first skirt I made on my sewing machine, and I think only the second one I ever made (the first was a hilariously hand sewed pillowcase deal that I made in high school. I promise I'll post about it sometime- it's just so adorably ugly!). I didn't know anything about patterns or darts or any of that. I traced a drawstring skirt of mine and sort of finagled the waist and sewed in some lightweight snaps for a closure. I didn't wash the fabric before I made it and when I washed the skirt- the outer layer totally bled onto the gauze lining. But you can't see it (I was very careful during the washing). Anyways- I love this skirt. I'd love to make another version now that I can actually sew clothing that fits right.

The sweater is one that my mom made. I think it was supposed to be for her, but lucky for me, it came out too small. So I inherited this awesome argyle mock turtle neck. So cozy. And with the boots- it was just the perfect fall outfit. And I gotta say, cute outfits definitely make up for the fact that it's not Friday (well, sort of).

PS: I think I'm getting better at this whole self-portrait thing. It turns out that Jared has a tripod- um how did I not know this?! Anyways, now I just need to find something like this so I can take decent pictures at night...

07 November 2007


Way back in February, when I started this blog, I had no clue how expansive and incredible this whole crafty blog community was. Seriously, I did not know what I was getting myself into. But in some ways, I'm glad I just dove right in and started my own space here. Without worrying about how it would look, or what I would write about, or how good my crafts are in comparison to all those other talented people out there (which are all thoughts that I would have been trampled by had I really explored before starting this blog, and are ones that I still consider occasionally).

In any case, there have been some blogs that I discovered early on and that I have read pretty religiously since then. I continue to be amazed by the ever growing number of blogs on my google reader list. (By the way, if you don't know about google reader- you need to check it out- it just feeds the addiction really). I try to keep my "inspiring places i like to visit" list updated, so hopefully you'll always be able to see where I'm spending my time. But I just wanted to share with you all some of the more recently discovered blogs that I've been visiting and that have been really inspiring my latest creations and ideas. I'm sure these will not be new to many of you, but you'll enjoy them anyways.

::Swallowfield::amazing drawings that make me feel like I'm in a dreamland
::Montessori By Hand::Megan's sewing patterns and creations are so inspiring, and I just love her style
::Wiksten-Made::I'm trying to figure out how long it will take me to cave in and buy myself one of Jenny's made to order dresses
::Six and a half stitches::beautiful photos, writing, and lovely knitting
::Mayfly::beautiful beautiful birds (and she's just opened a shop, how lucky for us!)
::inspiration boards::need I say more? Reminds me of the blank white wall above my sewing space and how much I need my very own inspiration board. But always good to hear where others find their inspiration!

Where have you been finding your inspiration lately??

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post, but I think you'll find plenty to feast your eyes on if you follow any of these links.

05 November 2007

The World's Largest Garage Sale

I mean, really, who's to say that it's really the "world's largest"? I don't know if it was really the largest, but I'll say this- it was pretty darn large. We didn't even look at about half of the stuff there (clothing, art, "sundries"-can someone tell me what sundries are?), and spent close to two hours there. It was just a little overwhelming.

We came away with a bunch of stuff for the kitchen-I think I'm getting a little too into these vintage pyrex dishes, but how can you not? And of course, the fabric. Oh the fabric. So let's go over this. I didn't go the opening day of this sale on Saturday, due to the aforementioned funk, and I know that it was mob scene. So just think what I might have found if I had gone then! Regardless, check out the bounty...

Oh, I have such grand plans for all of these patterns. Yes I do. And that french curve up there? Just what I needed for Jenny's peter pan collar that I've been dying to try out. Anyways, seeing as it snowed yesterday (!), this may be the end of garage sales for quite some time. But I think I can safely say that I'm well stocked for a while. Can't wait to see what becomes of all these goodies!

04 November 2007

Inspiration:: new music

So I was having a crappy Saturday morning. You know, just your average funk. It was so beautiful outside, though, and after reading Amanda's post the other day, I decided I needed to get out of the house. And I also decided, that I needed some new tunes to cheer me up. So I hopped on the bike, let the crisp autumn air wake me up and flow through my lungs, and headed straight to the Electric Fetus.

I love music. Not the making of it, just the listening to. I also love MPR- and sometimes I get into a rut of just listening to the news or whatever's on the talk station at the time, even if it's not a show I'm particularly interested in. I just get used to the background noise. But, recently, I'm getting out of this and listening to more straight music. It's much better for the creative wheels. So what did I get yesterday? Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog, St. Vincent: Marry Me, Rilo Kiley: Under the Blacklight, Feist: Open Season (okay, I thought I was getting the new Feist, but, well, mistakes happen- it's still a good one).

Yeah, and here's how I spent the rest of the day. Feeling much better now.

02 November 2007

Peaceful Mornings

What else would you do if you woke up an hour before your alarm went off?

These are the easiest little muffins to whip up and so yummy (oh yeah, and they're pretty healthy too), that it's a wonder I don't make them more often. I just love having slow mornings and not having that feeling of inhaling my breakfast and racing out the door. I think I inherited this from my dad big time. And now, when it's still completely pitch dark at 7am, there's something so peaceful about that time of day.

Here's my recipe for the muffins, give them a try and let me know what you think! Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Hearty Raisin Vegan Muffins
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour

3 tbl ground flax seed

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup oatmilk (or soy or ricemilk, etc.)

a bunch of raisins

a bunch of chopped walnuts

brown sugar for topping.

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together all dry ingredients (flours, flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt). Add in the wet ingredients (applesauce, maple syrup, oatmilk). Mix well. Add in raisins and nuts- as many as you want. Pour into greased muffin tin (should make about 12 muffins). Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool. Eat. Enjoy the peaceful morning (preferably with some coffee too).

01 November 2007

I'm working on it

A few weeks ago, on Blog Action Day, I wrote about using recycled materials. I really try to do my best to buy as much thrifted materials as I can. I'm also working on using more fabric from my stash and not buying so much new fabric, etc. I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I don't have a gigantic stash, but in the process of working on my patchwork swap package, I did realize that I have more than I thought.

So anyways, here you have my second Built By Wendy blouse, made with all thrifted materials! The fabric and ribbon were both from Savers, the thread was from a garage sale early in the summer, and the elastic-well, it wasn't exactly thrifted-is from Rochford Fabric Supply's odd's and end's section (the huge spool was $2.50/lb-that's right, they sell spools of elastic by the pound. On my last visit I also bought 75 zippers for 25 cents each).

I have to admit that when I was making the last one, I didn't think I was going to be that into the elastic neck, but I really love it. I didn't make the short elastic sleeves, because, well it's almost winter and we don't do shorts sleeves in the winter. Anyways, pretty simple but I like it. And it's corduroy, so how can that be bad?

PS: um, happy November? Can someone tell me how this happened so quickly?