Monday, December 31, 2007

It's about time ~

I can share more {but not all!} of the Christmas crafts and some pictures of the great Christmas snow we've experienced in Colorado.

As I mentioned before, there was a lot of new learning that went into the crafts this year, mostly involving sewing.

There were more aprons::
One for each of my siblings to accompany a family cookbook I put together. The aprons are made from tablecloths used for many years on our table.

The cookbook is full of family pictures and some of our favorite recipes. Although, with a look to the future, this cookbook is by no means comprehensive, leaving room for a full family cookbook series. I made the cookbooks using This was my second book from blurb, and I've loved the results both times. The software can take some time to get used to and does slow down if you try to do too many manipulations of your work, but I find that just quitting and restarting the program keep things running smoothly.

There were also some pj pants for C {I modeled them before they were wrapped}::

These were a great project {almost easier than the precision needed with the aprons!}, and I'm sure I'll make some more in the future ~ for everyone in the family. I finished these quickly and didn't reinforce the seams, which is really a necessity with pj pants. I had a lot of fun using rivets instead of button holes for the tie area. I used twill tape for the ties, unfortunately, I could only find it in white, so in the future, I might dye it to compliment the fabrics.

There are a few more presents that haven't been mentioned, but that just prolongs the season! I also haven't shared many of the crafty gifts & projects that I've started working on over the break.

In other news, we've had amazingly snowy trip so far. There have been flurries or full on storms at least every other day since we've been in Colorado. The skiing has been great, and we've even tried out some AT skis ~ they have "skins" on the bottom allowing you to go uphill and get a great workout. After a long hike/ski up the hill, you take off the skins and glide down!

A sign as we passed through Nevada {but really, where are the Casinos?}::

And of course, a Christmas road trip is not complete without dressing up the van with a chandelier and a wreath::

Friday, December 21, 2007

Guest Crafter ~ My Mom

{Hi Mom!!}

Since I can't post any more projects until they are given for Christmas, I thought we'd mix things up a bit. My mom is an amazing crafter ~ we always go to her with our crafting questions, when we need ideas, or when we need supplies. I leaned on her a lot for the sewing projects {soon to be revealed} that I worked on this Christmas.

Since it's Christmas, I thought the perfect feature craft would be our Christmas stockings... hung by the butcher block with care!

She made them by cross-stitching the designs onto burlap. All of the cross-stitch is done with cotton yarn. The stockings are lined and backed with quilted christmas fabrics. You'll notice that each stocking has a different Christmas design {santa, tree, snowman...} and word {joy, hope...}. Along with each person's name, they also have the year we were born.

These stockings are large ~ so the bottoms are usually filled with some oranges and nuts and then topped off with some of the stocking basics {shampoos, lotions, other fun stuff}. If you have any questions, I'm sure my mom would be happy to answer them. Mom ~ thanks for sharing, hope you enjoyed the surprise!

Now, back to your previously scheduled, pre-Christmas frantic shopping and crafting. I hope your final gifts are made and wrapped before the big day and that you have a very merry Christmas!

I'm off on a Christmas road trip with C. We're heading to Colorado to visit his family, then up to Wyoming, then back to California!

I'll leave you with the sunset from my plane window::

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Christmas Crafting

It's been an eventful week, filled with dodging the storms, crafting, and finishing the semester.

I've been working on a variety of crafty projects, learning many new skills and practicing some old ones.

Some friends received (or will receive), little packages of homemade apple butter and mini loaves of oatmeal bread::I planned ahead and made the apple butter while I was home for Thanksgiving. In the past I've used a big electric roaster to cook down the apples and cider, this time I used a counter-top frying pan. The frying pan worked really well, but there was more of a chance for burning that didn't exist with the roaster (I think because of the water layer that's between the roasting pan and heating unit).

This was my first time canning{new skill!} and it was easy as pie! I'm hoping the apple butter will become a yearly tradition.

The knitting has been really eventful this season, there were a few projects I've had planned since September, and others that I didn't see coming until December, but they've turned out perfectly and I think the recipients will be happy!

For example::This picture includes both the Counterpane Carpet Bag {a project that was requested in early December} and a baby sweater {that I had planned since October}. Well you'll see below that I had no problem finishing the counterpane carpet bag, but my baby sweater was another story. I decided to change directions completely, but I'll leave those details for another day!

I just shipped out the finished Counterpane Carpet Bag from Holiday Knits::

And as a fun detail, I changed the color of one of the scallops::

The bag was accompanied by an apron {practicing my meager sewing skills!}. I'm making some aprons this year ~ from old tablecloths that dressed our tables for a few years. I'm finding the material to be just perfect for aprons! It's a little bit thicker than typical cotton prints, and so it seems that it will be a bit more absorbent when it comes to messy cooking projects.

This apron had a few fun details because it's recipient is anything but average. Here are the best shots I could take without an assistant::

*The flower is removable for easy washing and the feathery bottom is machine washable on the delicate cycle.

Now, I'm having a great afternoon, staying cozy and crafting with my sister while the ice begins to melt::

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cozy joy

That's what I'm feeling this morning. The weather report's calling for snow (anywhere from 6-12 inches!).

I have a fresh cup of TJ's Winter Blend coffee. Liesel's blocking. Some candles are lit, and the best news of all:: I can stay put! Our department suggested we finish all business at school before noon today ~ by fortuitous accident, I have all the articles and files here at home that I need, so I decided to just stay warm and cozy at home.

It's almost as good as a snow day, though there's still work to be done!

I'll be back with some more crafty news soon*

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A propper post, pictures and all!

Before another week gets underway, I thought I'd share some proof the "doing" that's been going on behind the scenes here. Here's a short sampling of the Christmas gifts under way::

These two hats look amazing together. The deep red with the ice blue are perfect compliments, especially with a background of snow!
Red Hat Details ~
Yarn:: Plymouth Yarn, Baby Alpaca Grande, one full skein
Pattern:: 3x3 ribbing all the way, decreasing around the top in a way to keep the ribs
Size:: should fit any adult head because it's super stretchy
Needle size:: US 9

Blue Hat Details ~
Yarn:: Rowan Calmer
Pattern:: Shedir from Knitty '04
Size:: baby/childish

Then we have some manly jaywalkers::
Details ~
Yarn:: Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Squirrel Heather
Pattern:: Toe-up Jaywalkers, with my own short-row heel
Size:: men's 8.5
Needle size:: US 3

And a last minute scarf::
Details ~
Yarn:: Knit Picks Palette in Marine Heather
Pattern:: Liesel
Needle size:: US 7

And finally, some beautiful winterfoliage from our front yard::

Have a great week, and I should be back soon with some more Christmas goodies!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

I have plenty to say and share

but I'm keeping my lips zipped as I prepare the Christmas goodies! Every minute I'm not doing regressions I'm knitting, or scheming, or brousing the internet and local stores for some craft and non-craft gifts. It's so much fun when I need a break from school work and can't read another paper!

I've also done some fun baking ~ a delicous vegetarian lasanga with butternut squash, mushrooms, and some greens. I'll share the recipe when I have a few more minutes.

And it snowed last night! I think I was up until 4 in the morning, between trying to finish up some presents (I'm not ahead of the game, they require shipping, so I have to hurry hurry), and being excited about snow, I couldn't sleep!

So, yes, there's a lot going on, and I'll have to take some pictures of the lasanga and snow to share since everything seems to be a secret. Won't you be lucky.