Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm Terribly Sorry...

...for the posting delay. I meant to post. I swear I did.

It's just that I was here--Doing this--
And not much else for a few days.

It was wonderful.

But it is back to real life now. 2010 begins tomorrow, and thus a whole new season. I'll write more about my thoughts for the new year tomorrow.

For now I'm signing off to enjoy some snacks, some New Year's Eve knitting (don't you knit on New Years? I hear all the cool kids are doing it...), and ringing in 2010 with my hubby.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Handmade Pillow

holiday slide show continued...
a cardigan pillow for my friend...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Handmade Sweaters for Family

holiday slide show, continued...
updated cashmere for my mom...

a wool & cotton sweater for my brother...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Handmade Holiday Slide Show

Greetings, friends! Today is Christmas Eve and I'll be signing off for a much needed week of holiday rest, celebration and reprieve.
But in lieu of my absence, I'll be updating daily with snapshots of some of the handmade gifts I've given this year (like this tote/diaper bag I sewed for good friend), and a few I received that are guaranteed to keep me crafting all winter!

I wish you a wonderful holiday break, safe travels, good food, and company of friends and family!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


All I did was simply ask him when he was planning to put the toaster oven away... It had been out for a day or so, you see, and isn't exactly a "display" appliance, if you know what I mean.
I wasn't trying to be rude. I just reasoned that if he felt the need to eat Red Baron frozen pizzas for lunch, than perhaps he should also put away the evidence.
So you can imagine my surprise when I came downstairs after a few hours of work to find this pile awaiting me. Yes...these are the things I'd left out. He was, he proclaimed, just trying to make a point.
He even, as you can see above, pulled my dirty dishes out of the sink to place them on display.

That was hardly necessary, in my opinion.
So maybe I'd neglected to gather a few things around the house.'s not like I haven't been busy doing other things for crying out loud!

Touche, dear husband, touche.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cram Session

Hi friends! I'm headed out to conduct a serious cram session for the holidays involving shopping, crafting, and wrapping, so this post will be brief!

Before I hit the town, though, I wanted to share about a nice little surprise I received this morning in my email...

...which is that my No-Knit pattern 2 pack has been featured in Going Home to Roost's Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide! I'm honored to be selected among other talented crafters, and think creator, Bonnie's, blog is fantastic.

So if you have a minute, head over there to check it out!

I'll see you all tomorrow!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Toasty, Trendy, Last-Minute Project! (and it's super simple!)

It is five days before Christmas and I have not...

...wrapped any of my presents
...shipped any packages to relatives living far away
...finished making gifts for friends and family
...eaten enough holiday cookies
In other words, if there was a Holiday Procrastinators Anonymous, I would be the chairperson. Fortunately there are a few projects I have up my sleeve (get it...sleeve! ha ha, I'm so clever) that require little time and virtually no skill.
Like these adorable no-knit armwarmers. They were formerly sleeves on a sweater I don't wear. With a few snips, and a quick stitch, they became my newest favorite thing to wear to ballet class.
And with tank tops.
And to recommend as a last-minute handmade gift for friends, sisters, and hipster moms.
Armwarmers are, indeed, popular this year, but you don't need to trek to the store (or don a pair of knitting needles) to get, or give, the look. You just need an old sweater, and a pattern from my store.

As for the other shopping, wrapping, crafting, and cookie-eating...well, you're on your own. I have enough to do.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

blueberry skillet

Holiday dinners are all fine and well, but my favorite mealtimes during this season are the breakfasts. I love getting up late and lingering around the kitchen table in my pajamas, eating leftovers and special breakfast dishes.

And so this year I thought I would add another morning entree to my holiday cooking repertoire: Blueberry Breakfast Skillet (isn't it pretty?).
Do you remember when I stocked up on blueberries this past summer and froze them in cup-size portions? I reasoned that someday, in the midst of cold winter weather, I would want to eat some of those delightful summer berries. And I was right.
While the blueberries defrosted in my cast iron skillet amidst sugar, cinnamon, and some tapioca, I whipped up the crust in my handy food processor. God bless the person who invented the food processor! They make dough-making a cinch.
And here it is, all ready to be rolled out. This buttery pastry is definitely on the sticky side, so make sure you have flour close at hand if you decide to make this dish. I had to start the rolling step over more than once before I got it right...
Transferring it to the blueberry-filled-skillet was also a bit of a challenge. The recipe recommends the aid of a rimless baking sheet, but I didn't have the patience for that. My transfer motto? Move quick. Very, very quick.
And here, friends, is the result. Hot and bubbly from the oven, it is sure to impress your overnight guests or hungry kiddos on Christmas morning.
To make this blueberry skillet breakfast for yourself and family this holiday season, click here for the free recipe from Sunset Magazine!

Note: I did make a few modifications to the recipe: I used half shortening and half butter in the pastry crust, blueberries instead of huckleberry, and I added a cap-ful of almond extract to the filling.

And, to be unabashedly self promoting, those lovely napkins you see beside the skillet are from my Winter Napkins pattern... I'm just saying...



I tried ribbon. I tried ruffles. I considered satin and silk. But everything just looked wrong coupled with this old ribbed sweater I've been carting around for years.

And then I tried wool. Herringbone wool, to be precise.

The wool was from a thrift-store pair of trousers I bought several months ago. I never intended to wear the trousers (believe me, they were Not the cutest...), but instead saw potential in the fabric. Little did I know that they would turn another one of my bland sweaters into one of my new favorite cardigans.With elbow patches, of course. There aren't nearly enough elbow patches in the world today, don't you think? I'm just doing my part...
The style is classic. Cotton and wool hand-stitched together--what could be more versatile and timeless than that? And easy. The panels at the top of the sweater are just laid directly over the original knit. And the pockets are imposters--really just strips of wool pretending to be functional.
This particular sweater is a grayish-blue and brown, but I also think that cream with tan would look fantastic. In fact, I might just have to hit the thrift store sometime soon in search of that combo.
And as with all of my sweater makeovers, this one was very nearly free.

In other related holiday news, can you believe that we only have a couple weeks left of this holiday season? I have a few more crafty ideas up my sleeve for Christmas and New Years...and then it's on to other crafty ideas for 2010! (you didn't think I'd stop making things just because the holidays are over, did you? Because that would be crazy. Crazy.)

As always, happy crafting!

Consider making this classic design for yourself or as a gift this season! Click here to learn more about this pattern.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Translating Greek

Permit me to bend your ear for a tick...
‘Tis the season to gossip about the economy, or at least so say the politicians and pundits. Dollars and cents are apparently fresh on people’s minds--partly because we are ankle-deep in the spending season, and also because of our recent recessionary hiccups. Thus, everyone is encouraged to do their patriotic duty and hit the malls, as if our Christmas shopping has the collective power to pull us all up by our global bootstraps and end our economic woes. But before you jump to conclusions about my admittedly predictable introduction, this isn’t a post about overspending during the holidays, or even about the shortcomings in our global economy. Rather, this is a post about getting back to the real roots of our economy--which is the home. Now, I’m not being overly sentimental in saying this. In fact, the word for economy is translated as such. This little etymological tidbit is something I recently learned from a speech given by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. In it he said, “'Economy’ is simply the Greek word for ‘housekeeping’. Remembering this is a useful way of getting things in proportion, so that we don’t lose sight of the fact that economics is primarily about the decisions we make so as to create a habitat that we can actually live in." In other words, “economy” isn’t all about retail spending and “putting up good numbers” for the quarter. It’s not about affording and giving lavish gifts--or even cheap gifts for that matter. Creating a “habitat worth living in” has far more to do with our satisfaction in our work, the strength of our relationships, and the care of our resources. So while we are busy with this season's festivities, it is nice to practice this idea of "putting things into proportion." What are we doing to create good habitats for ourselves and our families to live in? How are we building community? How are we taking good care of what we've been given?

Because it doesn't take a scholar or an economist to know that Home is worth
investing in, and that keeping close to our roots is good for the world.

And speaking of home, come back tomorrow to see another outdated sweater I found hiding in mine, and how I brought it back to life!

Glossary of images, all handmade from Etsy Sellers!

Family of Six by Goose Grease Undone
Little Red Paper House Set PDF pattern by Maria Lunate
Good Morning Sunshine Barnwood Peep House by Lucinda And Jane
Pocket People and Carrier pattern by Whosie and Whatnots
Big house pillow "My Lovely Tacky Diningroom" by Lei Li La Loo

Asymmetrical reVamp

I have a black turtleneck that I love to wear this time of year. It is soft and warm, and just a tiny bit sheer. I bought it to replace a different black turtleneck I've owned for several years. This second sweater was decidedly less flattering. It was too bulky. Too faded. And too boring.

But of course you all know me well enough by now to know that underperforming garments are my favorite New things to wear. Once they've been reVamped, of course.
Like several of my other outdated sweaters, I decided to cut this one in half down the front, too. Unlike my other sweaters, however, I wanted to try something new with an asymmetrical design, and I figured that a turtleneck was the perfect style for it.

Perfect because the "turtle" neck, when cut in half, naturally evolves into a funky, floppy, oversize collar.

And with a little satin ribbon stitched along the edges, plus a fancy brooch to fasten them together, I had a new cardigan from a rather boring sweater.

Perhaps you can tell just by my description that this is one of the Easiest patterns I've made this season! Even a sewing novice could handstitch the ribbon trim in a few hours time. Or a more experienced sewer could make this lovely upgrade on a sewing machine in about 30 minutes.
Naturally my favorite part of this project--and the others I've made this holiday season--is that it makes good use of something I already own. It has been downright exciting for me to see my wardrobe expand while also rediscovering castaways I'd long since forgotten.

And it has given me great gift ideas for friends and family as well--
not just for holidays, but also for birthdays, anniversaries, special events, and more!

To learn more about reVamping your own turtleneck,
click here to visit my Ribbon-Trim Cardigan pattern!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin