Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

I'm off to celebrate the new year at the cabin so before I venture to the land of no www, I'd like to wish you a happy start to the new year!
May 2011 bring you good health, much laughter and lots of love!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ornament Tradition

Like many other families, I usually get one new ornament for my kids every year. I had no intentions of making their ornaments this year, but since time is quickly running out, and I'm not about to set foot in any sort of store until after Christmas (at least I hope not to), I wasn't left with very many options.

Since blog stocking, I have discovered how cute felt crafts can be.  I decided to order myself a few books  for my birthday and among them was Fa La La La Felt by Amanda Carestio. It's filled with a lot of super cute holiday felt decorations. You can check out her blog here. And thanks to this wonderful book, there is no need for me to go fight the last minute insanity shoppers to find ornaments this year.

I thought I was pretty cool because I actually copied and enlarged one of her mini stocking templates as directed, but being the horrible student I have always been, that's as far as my direction following went. I looked at the book enough so I used it for inspiration, but stitched the design as I went. I learned that embroidery is not as easy as it looks and next time I will read through all the directions and follow them in hopes of making something that doesn't look like an eight year old made it. Regardless, it was fun and I've got two more to make before Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Conquering My Fear . . . .

of making gingerbread anything. For some seriously odd and unexplainable reason, other than perfectionism, the thought of making gingerbread houses/men has intimidated me. I hate being wasteful so I don't usually try to make something unless I know it'll turn out. Not very risky or fun, I know. Well, after much thought, self coaching, living with a tight budget, and a little research, I decided to try my hand at making my own gingerbread house this year instead of purchasing the premade kits.

I used this recipe and found it surprisingly easy to work with. So easy that I didn't even have to flour the counter to roll the dough out! I can't attest to the taste/quality as I've never made any other recipe, but I can pretty much guarantee that the candy embellishments will get eaten before the actual gingerbread house.

Not very appetizing, I know, but this was prior to kneading the dough.

Ten year olds are also perfect for kneading and kneading and kneading dough.

Once we were done kneading we rolled out half the dough and used our template to cut out the house pieces. The other half of the dough, we wrapped up and refrigerated as directed until we were ready to make more pieces for the project.

I thought they turned out pretty nice. Since daughter number two is on her way back from the boonies, we decided to hold off on decorating until tomorrow so she could participate in the family decorating party. Let's just hope the house will stand!

It stood! This was the easiest gingerbread house that we've ever put together. Good bye store bought kits!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What are 10 year olds for?

My 10 year old has taken on the cooking and baking duties lately. Not because I make her, but because she begs me to. I must admit though, she's a pretty good cook and I really enjoy the break from my kitchen duties. I love that she is interested in cooking. She's an extremely picky eater and the rule here is that if you make it, you have to try it. Needless to say, she doesn't volunteer to make many dishes that include vegetables.

Today, she wanted to make Krumkake. I have never allowed her to make it on her own before, but today, I just gave her the recipe and walked out of the kitchen.

She did pretty good. They turned out perfect and absolutely yummy. What is Krumkake? It's a Norwegian cookie made around Christmas time except in this house we make it year round. I'm not going to pretend I know a lot about my Norwegian side because I don't. Afterall I grew up in a remote Alaskan village thousands of miles away from Norway, but I sure know how yummy their krumkake is. Another Norwegian favorite of mine is lefse and one of these days I will learn how to make that as well.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Handmade Gifts

I have to admit, I'm not the best at planning ahead so often times I find myself scrambling to buy/make gifts at the last minute. My cousin's daughter had identical twins, and while I had purchased super cute clothes for the girls, I just didn't think that was enough. I thought about what I loved when I had my babies, and the first thing that came to my mind were the handmade flannel receiving blankets that were gifted to me. They were the perfect size and gauge, not too thin and not too thick. So I decided to whip out a couple for the twins. I did make another similar receiving blanket this past weekend along with a hooter hider, but because I was so in a hurry to get to the baby shower, I failed to take pictures.

Very simple, I know, but they're wonderful for newborns. I figured the girls would have a lot of pink so I chose other cute colors.
I also put together eight teacher gifts last night, as well as this cute little zippered pouch for my daughter's Chinese Auction. She was instructed to bring a gift for a female that was under $5. There isn't much you can buy in AK, at least that's worth anything to a 10 year old, for under $5 so I decided to make this. It's a variation from the gathered clutch from Noodlehead. I was trying to go for a messy, but colorful look and I think I achieved my goal. What matters is that my 10 year old was happy. Hopefully who ever ends up with it will be happy as well. I don't know that many 10 year olds who really appreciate handmade gifts.
I didn't take any photos of the picture frames, sugar scrubs and bags I made for the teachers as I was running behind putting them together and packaging them up. Oh well. I'm just glad Christmas break has started. I will be whipping up a batch of hot buttered rum and enjoying some Christmas cheer this weekend.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Subway Art

Lately I've been seeing a lot of subway art and have been obsessing over making my own. While blog stocking, I discovered Wordle and created this in about a minute. Not quite what I would design in Photoshop, but quick and fun. I may have to put together something inspirational and colorful for my girls' rooms.


The 12 Days of Christmas

I absolutely adore this one by Smile

and this from Ink Genious as they both
portray the true meaning of Christmas

This is another one that I adore by Craftily Ever After

I absolutely love these fun and colorful ones by Got Chikin

And last but not least, here's one I love from eighteen25

So if you find yourself bored or wanting to fill up some of those empty frames you've been collecting, unleash your creativity with subway art.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Wish List

I've been pretty uninspired lately so I haven't worked on much, not even decorating the house. We don't have our tree up, well that's not entirely true, we do have the girls' six foot tree up in their room.
That really is as far as my lack of Christmas spirit is taking me. One of these days I'll learn how to take those commercial looking photos of lit trees.

So in hopes of finding the holiday spirit, I've decided to create my own wish list. I know I will not be getting any of these items. Really I don't need them, but it is fun to dream.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II

I have used and am familiar with Nikon (I say that in past tense form because I no longer own a Nikon D700), so the logical thing would be to wish for a Nikon camera, right? Not really. While I loved my Nikon D700, I am curious and interested in trying other brands. You're probably wondering why such an expensive camera for just trying it out, but really it has to do with the appeal of a full frame sensor.

With a camera, must come lenses and what better ones to choose than the 24-70mm f/2.8and the
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II.

A Bernina Artista 640 sewing machine with the embroidery module. Isn't she a beauty?

A Vitamix 5200 Ultimate Package from Costco

And last but not least a KitchenAid Pro 575 Watt 5.5 Qt. mixer. I don't have any kitchen counter/storage space so really I'm not sure where I'd put this thing. I have visions of doing more baking, but perhaps that isn't the best idea since I'd also be eating all the goodies.

As I previously indicated, these are not items I will acquire or expect anytime in the near future. I am more realistic than my dreams, but it sure was fun coming up with the list. It sort of reminded me of going through the old Sears Roebuck Wish Book every year. What's on your Christmas wish list?
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