Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tomorrow's baking adventures

Tomorrow is Christmas baking day. I've got two gifts to bake, plus a recipe I'm intrigued to try myself...

Here's the plan (all courtesy of pinterest, of course!):

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Earl Grey Tea Cookies
Salted Chocolate Caramel Bark

Oh, delicious. Hopefully these will all turn out perfect the first time! But then again, it wouldn't be an adventure if they did...

I'll do my best to remember to photograph them and review them after Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Break Plans

Tomorrow marks the fourth week in Advent. Advent. Such a busy time, but one of my favorites for the whole year. A time of preparation, planning, anticipation, and hope. A time for reflection, renewal, and comfort. A time for longing, peace, and joy.

Now that I'm officially on Christmas break (and an extended one at that!), it seems that, in a microcosmic way, much of this preparation, planning, longing, anticipation, and hope has been fulfilled. I now have time to reflect, renew, be filled with peace, comfort, and joy. What a blessing to have this time off and enjoy it with family and friends.

I can't wait to get started on all my crafting plans for the next few weeks...

  • I've got plans to meet up with some friends for some quality girlfriend coffee bonding time.
  • I've got plans to meet up with some friends for some quality girlfriend crafting bonding time.
  • I've got plans for working on inventory for my Etsy shop to finally get it up off the ground!
  • I've got Christmas presents to finish knitting and crafting, and need to get those out in the post.
  • I've got sewing plans, movie watching plans, copious amounts of coffee and tea drinking plans, and enjoying my Christmas present plans (D and I decided to go in on one big gift to ourselves this year, so I already know what I'm getting and it's on its way!).
  • I've got RELAXING plans. Oh, sweet relaxing, I've been waiting all year for these few weeks.
We've got a nasty-sounding wintry mix storm going on this weekend. This morning we woke up to a nice thick layer of ice covering the stairs and car. It should hopefully melt off this afternoon, just in time for more ice and snow tonight. I'm so thankful I don't have to go to work next week so I can just stay inside and work on projects.

Pardon me while I go look for my comfy pants and pour myself another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Christmas Carol Cup of Tea Swap


This holiday season, I participated in a swap on Ravelry based on the legendary Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol." The three categories were (you guessed it!): past, present, future. Our mission was to include tea, yarn/knitting-related, and other goodies based on these three times in our life and our swap partner's life. 

Look at all the wonderful treats waiting for me!

- a family recipe for Hermits, which are a type of chewy, spicy cookie/bar. Yum! Can't wait to try them.
- Sleepytime tea, which is one of my swap partner's (and my) favorites
- Tea pot stitch markers

- Earl Grey tea, because seriously, you can't go wrong with it!
- knitted necklace/bracelet. Have a few outfits in mind already, and the button on it is so pretty.
- Embroidered tea towel, so precious. How did she know that was perfect for me?!

- Vanilla caramel tea- can't wait to try this out, sounds so perfectly mellow and desserty
- Yarn that my swap partner hand dyed. The colors are absolutely gorgeous and remind me of the magical fall season where the leaves are so rich and colorful.

She also included some tea candies, a soap, candy canes, Yule Ale, and a cute Christmas spatula. I'm also getting a pattern of my choosing. An excuse for shopping? Haha, doesn't get much better than that!

I'm so tickled by all the wonderful goodies my swap partner Cait decided to include. Thank you, Cait, and happy swapping!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Finished Object: Chiefs Gear Galore

One of my sweet coworkers is a diehard Chiefs fan. Every year, she puts up this hilarious Chiefs Morgue with rubber chickens dressed like their opponents. (Yes, the chickens even make it to the games!) She asked me to sew some coordinating curtains to complete her office decorations and give her storage cabinet a "door."

She was so excited when I brought in the finished curtains last week, right after the Chiefs became 6-0. What a way to celebrate!

These curtains were super simple to make. I just measured the cabinet dimensions, adjusted my measurements for two panels with some extra width, and gave a 1/2" hem allowance all around, plus a generous casing for the tension rod.

To attempt neat corners, I followed this tutorial I found via Pinterest. It wasn't hard to follow, but I probably should have measured the angle of some of my corners instead of eyeballing it. Next time...!

Once I sat down to work on these, it took about 4 hours from cutting out the fabric on my too-small table, to measuring and pinning the hems, to finishing the casing. Easy peasy, just needed to find that magical window of time where I could pull out my sewing machine and get it done. I love quick and easy projects like this that have such a huge impact on a space.

Stay tuned.... I've got another Chiefs-related project in the works for her, now that they're 7-0!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

coffee and cozy and chicken, oh my.

I'm sitting here bundled up in my sweatshirt and pathetically warming my hands on my once-steaming hot cup of coffee. Apparently we decided to skip the majority of our lovely fall temperatures and go from the sweltering 90s to something much... chillier.

Supper tonight is going to be warm and delicious. Trying out this Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken recipe from Budget Bytes. It looks good, and anything that's easy and uses up what I've got in the fridge is a plus for me.

Lately, I've been on a real coffee cozy knitting kick. These varying patterns are great for using up little remnants of skeins leftover from other projects. I'm planning on stocking up on these -- they're great for gift giving and donating to church functions and auctions.

This pink Pumpkin Spice cozy was so much fun to knit with the braided cable. Can't wait to make some more of these!

These two pink cozies were based on the welted rib stitch pattern. Just figured out how many I needed to cast on and they were done before I knew it! The second one is a little smaller, because I was afraid I'd run out of yarn. (I didn't. It was the skein that keeps on giving, haha!)


This one is a basic seed stitch cozy. I love how the purple button coordinates so well with the fall colors. I completed this one during a mini road trip the other weekend, and that purple button happened to be the only one in my little project and notions bags at the time.. Next time, I think I'll make it just a bit longer so it won't pull as much at the button.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

thoughts on a saturday...

- i've got my lovely new cowl soaking in some wool wash. blocking later tonight and hopefully that means i'll be able to seam it up at knit night on monday.

- i currently want to cast on all the things. this is dangerous.

- cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2 is the best movie i've seen in a long time. i liked it even better than the first movie, which is saying something. chock full of cheesy humor, it was right up my alley and probably the best down time i've had in a good, long time.

- husbands are wonderful. especially mine. see previous thought.

- it finally feels like fall outside! this is the best news concerning my favorite season.

- found out on friday that we get three unexpected, extra paid holidays at work this year. so excited i'll have the day before thanksgiving off! even though it means we won't be able to see family any sooner, i'll love having that extra time to clean and pack.

- pot roast in the crockpot for supper, along with mashed potatoes and green beans? yes please!

- knitting for my niece is becoming super addicting. so far, i've got a hat, some legwarmers on the needles, and her christmas present? well, let's just say it's going to be adorable.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Project Bags Galore

I recently completed not one, not two, but six custom orders for project bags. This was such a fun adventure, and I'm considering building up some inventory of project bags, stitch markers, and other knitting-related items to sell in the future. Each customer selected their own fabrics from my stash and I love all the combinations they came up with. It's hard to pick a favorite!

Here are the fabric selections! Minus the Chiefs fabric, that's for a different, upcoming project.

Love the way they turned out! Their new owners love them too, which makes me very happy.

This final one was completed at the request of my friend for a swap she's in. It's traveling all the way to Canada, and I know it will be well-used and loved.

Absolutely love the fun, colorful fabrics she chose. They go perfectly together, don't you think?!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

my new pottery!

At our church auction/ice cream social last night, I bid on and won this beautiful, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind pottery bowl. I was thrilled!! I think it looks so pretty holding these colored spools of thread, just waiting for my Sunday afternoon sewing projects. This bowl will be so useful and look so pretty around the house!

Julie's Clay Creations has wonderful, high-quality craftsmanship, and Julie's a delight too. :)

For more of her beautiful pottery, check out her Pinterest board: Julie's Clay Creations

*This post was not sponsored or endorsed in any way by Julie's Clay Creations or anyone else.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

my favorite time of year

Fall is officially here. My favorite time of year, and I'm so excited that the temperatures are cooperating today! Windows are open... decorations are up... I even made some muffins this morning to celebrate!

Fall is when I feel most creative with my crafting, decorating, cooking, and adventure planning. I've got some exciting FOs to share in the next few days, some things in the works, and my Christmas shopping is (almost) done -- thanks to the State Fair earlier this summer and the Sedalia Area Farmer's Market yesterday!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bath time

Finally getting this cowl I knit for the church auction into the bath. Can't wait to see the post-blocking transformation!

Friday, September 6, 2013

crafty goodness overload

I currently want to knit.all.the.things, sew.all.the.things, and craft.all.the.things.

Making plans for this weekend:
- 5 custom boxy bag orders (and one more on its way)
- curtains for my coworker's open storage shelving here at work
- resurrecting the languishing vest I was knitting for hubby last year (I'm determined to have it finished for the cool weather this year)
- having a blocking and weaving-in-of-the-ends party for this year's church auction items

I think that's enough, don't you?

Hoping we'll also have time to make it down to the Cole Camp fair at some point this weekend! So much for relaxing weekends... ours always seem busy. Enjoyable, but busy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tasty Thursday | Pizza Burger Pie

{Tasty Thursday | Pizza Burger Pie}
Recipes, Tips, and Inspiration from my kitchen to yours.

This was the result of a mistake. I had attempted to make homemade spaghetti sauce, but it didn't quite turn out how I hoped. Guess that's what I get for trying to make spaghetti sauce without a recipe . . . better luck next time!

And this is what happens when I forget to take a picture before we eat...
Pizza Burger Pie
1/3 pound ground beef, browned and drained
2 pieces string cheese, cut into bite size pieces
1 package crescent rolls, divided
1/2 package pepperoni
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
handful of mozarella cheese

Press half the crescent rolls into a single piece and put it in the bottom of the pan like a crust. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the crust, then cover with pepperonis. Next, add the cheese bites and ground beef. Pour the remaining sauce on top, then spread it to the edges. Press the other half of the crescent rolls together to form a top crust. Top with cheese, and bake according to the crescent roll package directions.

We had problems getting the top crust to bake all the way. It probably had something to do with our incredibly inefficient oven, but it could also be that we added the cheese before baking. I'd suggest trying to bake it without the cheese on top, then adding it for the last few minutes of baking.

Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

a few more finished objects

Here's a quick recap of a few more FOs I've completed this summer. :)

First up: Boxie Bag the Third. Same pattern as the other two, but this one is MINE. (I've now been asked to make two more of these for a friend. She says it looks professional and of selling quality. Yaaay! It's always lovely to receive compliments on your handiwork, isn't it? Makes me feel so accomplished and proud of what I can do.)

Awkward bag photo is awkward. I was trying to capture a photo of the lining.

I also made a small little gift for Brother-the-Younger's birthday this summer. A soap sack, which functions both to hold the soap bar and as a washcloth. Made from a cotton hemp blend, this should soften up with use and last for a while.
Pattern: His 'n' Hers Shower Soap Holders by Cathy Carron
from the book: 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders
Yarn: Lion Brand Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp (funny story, Mom and I found this yarn in the 90% off bins at Michael's, and paid for it with the parking lot change we found on the way in)
Ravelry Project Page

Some Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloths for a friend. Easy to make, and a great stash buster. I've got one of those huge cones of cotton to use up (but it's ok, because I bought it purposely for making dishcloths).
Pattern: Grandmother's Favorite
Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream Ombres and Prints, Potpourri Ombre colourway
Ravelry Project Page

The Resurrected Blue Canaletto Cowl. I started this project last year, it messed up, I placed it in time out, and pulled it out about a year later, completely starting over. It is a lovely cotton-rayon-linen-silk blend, and I love it. This will get lots of time in the wardrobe rotation this fall and next spring.

Pattern: Canaletto Cowl by Megan Goodacre
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Amalfi, Denim colorway
Ravelry Project Page
 And finally.... a work-in-progress photo for a now-finished-object. This cowl is going in the pile of goodies to donate to this fall's church auction. I still need to block it, but that sounds like a good weekend project to me.
Pattern: a most perfect and forever cowl
Yarn: Paton's Lace, Bonfire colorway
Ravelry Project Page

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Christmas in July (but really, August) Swap

Our knitting group decided to have a Christmas in July swap this summer. We didn't exactly have a Christmas theme, but everyone came up with some awesome packages for their recipient.

This swap had a $10 limit, and had to include one handmade item (not included in the price limit). I drew my friend Shanna's name. Shanna loves cute things, knitting notions, and practical items. She also loves the color purple, which is why this second boxie bag is so perfect for her (there's a purple lining, of which I forgot to take a picture):

I also included some adorable strawberry buttons, notecards, a sample of Satin Hands, some farm animal paper clips, gauge swatches, handmade tags, a little bit of Soak, some hair tie stitch markers, a skein of Peaches & Creme yarn for dishcloths, and a beautiful pattern.

I still have to take pictures of the swap package I received, but I'll post those soon!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finished Object : Boxie Bag!

I accidentally kind-of-sort-of took a nap around 8 pm tonight, so I had this random spurt of energy tonight. A random spurt of energy that's now making it challenging for me to go to bed at a normal hour for someone who gets up at 5:30. Good thing tomorrow's Friday, because otherwise it might be pretty rough.

Pattern : (No Guts!) Boxie Pouch
SoChick! Handbags & Embroidery {Melissa Strong}

I took full advantage of feeling productive and creative tonight and finished this little project. I've got a few more fabrics picked out for it and in the works already, and this one is going to a good friend (unbeknownst to her, I just love surprises, don't you?!). It's very "her," and I hope she loves it.

One of my favorite things about this pattern was the minimal supply requirement: two coordinating fat quarters, a coordinating zipper, some thread, and interfacing. I omitted the clasp on the tab, because I couldn't find any that were the right size. If you do, it's handy to hang your bag up!

Not going to lie, I'm particularly proud of the awesome zipper job on this little boxie bag. Zippers and I have never really gotten along, and this time, I think I mastered it. Hurrah! (And seriously, doesn't that zipper just match perfectly?! *happy dance*)

All I need to do is stitch up the lining, and it's ready to go in the mail. I should have enough time during my lunch break tomorrow to accomplish that, so hopefully she'll get it early next week!

Once I figured out what was going on in the tutorial, it's really quite simple to put together . . . provided you pay close attention to the directions and make sure the fabrics are facing the correct way while stitching them to the zipper (oops). Hopefully the next two won't take quite as long to complete, now that I've got one finished. It makes a good sized pouch, ready for a craft project, makeup, accessories, or anything else you can fit in and want to show off in a stylish way.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's Up, July?!

I feel like this is slowly (or quickly, from my perspective) becoming a theme. . . Not having quite enough time to get everything done I'd like to, craft-wise, and therefore not posting much anymore. Maybe one of these days I'll have tons of finished objects magically flying off the needles and out of the sewing machine and I can do a few posts on those, but for now...

Anyway, it's hard to believe July is already half over. I've been at my job now for seven months, and again today someone told me it feels like I've been there forever. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but I'll take it as a compliment. :)

I've been having lots of fun lately putting together some care packages for our youth. They went on a week long trip to the National Youth Gathering earlier this summer, and I figured they might enjoy some entertainment and emergency supplies while they were traveling. Oh dollar store, how I love you:

Out of all this swag, their favorite by far were the fake mustaches. They had a blast waving to people on the highway and seeing the looks on their faces. Anything to entertain a handful of high schoolers on a 13 hour bus trip, right?!

I also included lots of sugary candy, bandaids, hand sanitizer and wipes, kleenex, drink packets, glow sticks, gum, crazy straws, and snacks. It's always so much fun to put packages like this together, and I'm glad they enjoyed it. (They also had a great time the rest of the week, learning, praising, and serving!!)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Makes me happy...

These past few weeks have been full of blessings, both little and big. Here's a few highlights of why my life is awesome lately:

- honest-to-goodness date nights with the hubs, including delicious Mexican food and the new Superman movie

- taking my personal day this past Monday, complete with a massage, pedicure, lunch with the hubs, grocery shopping, vacuuming out my car, watching a movie, and knitting

- finding shoes on sale for $4 at Payless after work this week:

 - delicious chicken alfredo for supper tonight

- sheep salt & pepper shakers for our anniversary/my birthday

- fresh baked cranberry orange muffins

- birthday presents waiting for me to open next month

And this is how I'm spending my evening: a new novel, Scrubs season four, and knitting. Perfect.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Phew! What a month it's been...

Well, things have been quiet around the blog, and that's not necessarily a bad thing! Lots going on, and very busy days turn into very busy weeks, but I'm thankful for this weekend to relax and catch up on some things around the apartment (mostly, laundry. yuck).

The past three weekends have been full of family activities and events.

Weekend #1: Brother-the-Younger graduated from college (summa cum laude, whoo!!), so of course we made the trip back to my old stomping grounds to help celebrate. We enjoyed an absolutely delightful weekend with my family, a delicious celebratory dinner, and the chance to finally go home for the first time in over 6 months.

Weekend #2: Brother-the-Youngest graduated from high school! Not. Allowed. My baby brother is not allowed to grow up yet... because I'm not ready to admit that I'm getting older. He obviously didn't get that memo, haha! He's off to college in the fall, and I've already got some friends lined up to take care of him in college (he doesn't know that yet...). One of the most memorable events of that weekend: Brother-the-youngest trying coffee. His critique: "Very strange. It's like it's trying to be water, but just can't." Haha! This kid cracks me up.  My grandparents also came to visit us on their way home that weekend, so we enjoyed a nice dinner out with them and church in the morning. :)

Weekend #3: This was the weekend I've been looking forward to for almost an entire year. We finally got to meet our niece, and this may be the auntie pride speaking, but she's a cutie! D remarked that he's pretty sure she liked hanging out with me more than him, to which I responded that I'm E's aunt, and as such, I'm automatically cool. :) I've got some great ideas already for her Christmas and birthday presents... this kid sure is spoiled already... and not just by me!

Now it's back to work and house hunting, which is taking up most of our time (plus, you know, the 75 other things we have going on at the same time). Hopefully we'll find something and move in this summer! I'm excited and nervous at the same time. That's natural, right? The hardest part has definitely been trying to plan for our future while having absolutely NO IDEA what that holds. We could get a call that we decide to take in a year, or we could be here for 15 more years. And that makes it more challenging to know what to look for in a house and plan for the needs of our future family. What I do know is that God already knows what we need and what is in store for us, and he's taking care of us each and every step of the way. Not always easy for me to remember, but it's truly the most comforting thing ever!

Oh, P.S. I made this delightful Strawberry Almond Coffee Cake a few weeks ago (I substituted strawberries for the raspberries the recipe called for), and it was a hit! Just looking at this picture makes me want to make it again.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Just Kidding, May...

Today is May 3. Tomorrow is Star Wars Day! (Which is totally awesome, but beside the point...) Spring is half-way over. And today, I woke up to snow. Not just a dusting.. a full-on, winter-weather-advisory, cars-in-the-ditch-on-the-commute-to-work snow. I am wearing a sweater, wool socks, boots, and delightfully soft, comfy, and warm handknits. Missouri in May. Somedays, you just have to laugh and love the weather, no matter what it brings.

6:30 am. Look at all that snow falling from the sky!

As a result, today is a slow day. (Oh studious students, where are you?! Finals start Monday, and the library is eerily quiet...) But wait! I have reasons to make it better and find the joy and gratitude in today:

1. Leftover Kehde's for lunch. Because seriously. There's not much better than that. In fact, I told D last night that if/when he gets another call that we decide to accept, Kehde's has to move with us. It's not an option in my book.

2. Coffee and tea. Yes, please!

3. Warm, delightfully wooly knits. Comfort at its finest.

4. A relaxing weekend to look forward to, with only a few errands and chores planned, and maybe an event or two to attend.

5. A chance to work on some bigger projects at work without too many interruptions.

6. My renewed love of reading for pleasure. I've missed reading what I want, when I want. During the past two and a half years of grad school, and the four years of college before that, I found myself with little time to read anything other than textbooks and scholarly articles. And now that that phase of my life has come to an end, I'm SO HAPPY to have the time and energy to read fun things again! Last night I finished The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat and it was delightful. Witty, funny, painfully honest, realistic... everything that makes a good story great. (Plus, I'll be honest. I laughed out loud at all the fun poked at Lutherans throughout the novel.) The only problem is now I have that all-too-familiar "book hangover," where I'm not ready to move on to something else yet, but want to keep reading. :)

7. A tasty, relaxing dinner out with my husband. It's always nice to reconnect after a long week, isn't it?

Snowy Fridays in May maybe aren't so bad afterall...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Welcoming my Niece...

My little niece (but really, she's not so little!) was born over a month ago. I'd been planning and crafting since we found out my sister-in-law was expecting, and I finally finished up the last few things and got it sent off recently.

I've been waiting to post pictures of her awesome presents until I was sure the box arrived, and now I finally can post them!

I'm convincing myself I didn't go overboard, but seriously, how can you pass up all the cute fabrics and patterns out there for babies? I just couldn't...

Baby Surprise Jacket! My knitting group did this as a knit-a-long this past winter, and I had knit this with the intent of sending it for my niece to wear and enjoy the first few months after she was born. Ten pound newborns don't exactly fit in typical newborn clothing, but I wanted to send it anyway as a keepsake. And honestly, those crayon buttons are just the cutest thing ever. :)

Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Ravelry Project Page here.
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici Sport Self Striping, Boutique colorway

Then, there was the fabric buying spree. The animal ABC print was turned into a baby blanket, and the others became burp cloths. All of them were lined with various pastel flannel for extra softness.

Here's the finished burp cloths. Each of the cotton fabrics is lined with one of three colors: pink, purple, and yellow. You can never have enough burp cloths.

Meet Elijah. He's adorable, isn't he? I bought this yarn specifically for this pattern, and absolutely love the way it turned out! The pattern itself was pretty fiddly to knit, but you can't argue with the results!

Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Ravelry Project Page here.
Yarn: Bernat Baby Jacquards, Berries & Cream colorway

 And finally, a photo of all the goodies sent to E. I found a cute elephant outfit to coordinate with her new stuffed toy, and it should fit her all summer long. The cookie monster bib was too cute to pass up. But one of my favorite parts of the entire box is the book. During our annual Children's Literature Festival, I had the pleasure of hearing one of the book's authors speak. I had purchased a copy of the book, and after Marie Smith's talk, asked her to autograph the book for my niece. She was delighted to do so, and I hope E comes to love the book as she gets older.

Welcome to the world, E. Can't wait to finally meet you!