Friday, December 30, 2011

Good-bye 2011

Our holiday season and 2011 have gone by in a blur...another memorable year full of my favorite things. Will post a project round up sometime soon...much accomplished and much left untouched. Dessert recipes, patterns, and new projects are calling my name. Maybe I can accomplish it all in the new year?!

on the road again

Friday, December 16, 2011

This Moment 12.16.11

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (From Soule this tradition so I am striving to do this as well...I need to take more time to savor and it will be such a treat to look back and remember these moments)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear December, where have you gone?

Wow, I have seriously ignored this blog as of late. I realized that I was rapidly running out of time and had to get busy crafting after Thanksgiving. Throw in the required holiday baking, shopping, family time, oh and working full time, and here we are...10 days from Christmas and rapidly approaching the end of 2011.
I have been working on lots of gifts for the holidays as part of my GSD craft year...I made cookie jar gifts and paper ornaments for my coworkers. I gave them out today at our holiday lunch. Hopefully they liked them and will make more cookies at home. I will post more craft project pics after the holidays...I don't want to spoil any gifts ahead of time in case any of my friends or family check the blog. I am hosting a cookie swap this weekend with my sister, so expect to see some photos of delicious cookies soon!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cup Cookies!

Paper Ornaments for their trees

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Moment 11.18.11

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (From Soule this tradition so I am striving to do this as well...I need to take more time to savor and it will be such a treat to look back and remember these moments)

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Norfolk Nuptials- Jamie and Tim's big day!

I had the great privilege of being a bridesmaid in my pal Jamie's wedding this month. I feel like that character in the movie 27 Dresses after being in so many weddings, but the truth is, I have been thrilled and honored to be a part of so many happy days with friends and loved ones. Weddings are such beautiful and joyous occasions. This wedding was at a wonderful location--the Norfolk Botanical Garden. The ceremony was held in the garden's Rose Garden. The flowers I carried were gorgeous. The bride was glowing, as all brides do. Jamie and Timmy did a lot of prep work prior to the wedding and the small touches were lovely. The bridesmaid gifts were great handmade gifts ordered through Love, love personal handmade gifts. I loved many things about this wedding, but most of all, I loved seeing my true friend radiate happiness.

rehearsal dinner
Robin and Kevin

Jamie, her mom Cindy, and sister Carrie

getting ready...the green twins

flowers I carried

the happy couple
the girls

the new Mrs. of 2011

my Mom loves to hold the babies!

happiness- J and I sandwich the bride

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's pumpkin "go time!"

I am adventurous in many aspects of life, the one area my adventurous attitude does not apply is food. I do not venture happily into food unknowns. I like predictable foods and flavors. I know, I know, incredibly boring. When my husband and I started dating many moons ago, he got very excited when "pumpkin spice" latte season rolled around. I had never had one, but decided to try it since he was so excited about the coffee. One word for these lattes: delicious. Oh my goodness delicious. He was so right to love those lattes. He also loves pumpkin beer, which is really interesting to sample if you are a craft beer drinker.
Pumpkin flavored drinks, breads, and desserts are one of my favorite things about the fall season. I have recently consumed pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pie...can one consume too much pumpkin? I am looking forward to a Thanksgiving feast in a couple weeks full of my favorite traditional Thanksgiving fare and lots and lots of pumpkin pie. What is your favorite pumpkin creation?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Boo-goodness

Booooooooooooooooooo! Halloween is a fun holiday. Sweet costumes, silly costumes, sweet treats and fun times. Back in the day, I was rockin' some pretty great looks on Halloween.

I decided to spread the Halloween love a few years ago and have been preparing and sending some "Boo" care packages to loved ones for Halloween. I found some great images to print off and cover the boxes with on Martha Stewart and Matthew Mead. It is always great to find project resources and ideas when you are short on time and long on things to do...

Last year I got these finger cookies in the mail from my amazing friend Carrie. They looked so gross...I almost couldn't eat them. The keyword there is almost. Hope you are enjoying the fall season and Halloween festivities.

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Moment 10.28.11

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (From Soule this tradition so I am striving to do this as well...I need to take more time to savor and it will be such a treat to look back and remember these moments)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Georgetown Cupcakes

I know I have been writing often about cupcakes as of late, but I just had to write a quick blog about some cupcakes I tried from Georgetown Cupcakes in Washington DC. They are famous due to their show "DC Cupcakes" on the cable network TLC. I have heard they have horrible lines due to their popularity and tv show notoriety. Fortunately for me, my good friend Jamie's mom lives there and brought some down a few weekends ago. Jamie was nice enough to share some with me. (I am not sure I am nice enough to share cupcakes, but she is a sweetheart.) I had three different flavors: Red Velvet, Lemon Blossom, and Apple Cinnamon.

My favorite out of the bunch was probably Red Velvet. I am a red velvet junkie. I think I could eat Red Velvet cake or cupcakes everyday for the rest of my life and not grow tired of it...yes, my sweet tooth is that big and I really do love some Red Velvet desserts. Have you purchased or baked Red Velvet cupcakes or cakes that you would like to recommend? The blog comment box is always open for baked good suggestions and comments.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review Wednesday 10.19.11 "Sewing Green"

Book of the week: Sewing Green by Betz White

Betz White is awesome. I love, love her website and blog. They are filled with inspired and inspiring ideas and projects. In our disposable culture, it is truly refreshing to see someone whose work advocates the opposite. She really does live by the manta "reduce, reuse, recycle." Her latest book, Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed and Organic Materials, is full of projects that give new life to old items. The variety of projects in the book include: an apron, coasters, lounge pants, pillows, and a wrap skirt. Two projects that I am pondering are the "woodland draft buster" and the "breezy sundress." Living in an old condo building means that every door and window in the place is drafty. I start each winter thinking that a draft blocker would be helpful and never quite get to the store with that in mind. The breezy sundress is just adorable and would look so summer-y and perfect on my little bird. Attempting this project might require some sewing lessons with my mom or with Kristin at the Craft and Sew Studio. If nothing else, the book reminds me that repurposing can be fun and fabulous. Check out Betz White's work and see what you can repurpose this winter.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

This Moment 10.14.11

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (From Soule this tradition so I am striving to do this as well...I need to take more time to savor and it will be such a treat to look back and remember these moments)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review Wednesday 10.12.11 "Felt Jewelry"

Going to take a break from highlighting knitting books for the next little bit. I could probably write about different knitting books everyday of my life, but variety is, as they say, the spice of life.

Book of the week: Felt Jewelry by Teresa Searle

This book includes 25 different projects using a variety of felting techniques. A few of the projects are a little too over the top for my jewelry taste (I am not a fan of large felted flower bouquet necklaces or felted flower headdresses.) I would love to tackle a few of the other projects, including a tye-dye necklace, bangles, and a bird brooch. I have never actually felted something so I am going to keep my fingers crossed and attempt a bird brooch. This book seems like it would please felting newbies and pros alike. The leaf shadow scarf, inspired by a photo of clematis vine, seems like it would be a great challenge for experienced felters, and is just gorgeous. If you are interested in felting and jewelry crafting, take a look.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Winding our way through VA wine country

Okay, so obviously the Charlottesville area of Virginia is no Napa Valley, but it has plenty of wineries, cool shops, and restaurants to discover and it is a whole lot closer to me than California. Virginia wine country is also home to a wonderful piece of our nation's history as well- Jefferson's masterpiece-Monticello. I journeyed west with a few friends for a winery bachelorette weekend this fall. 
The weather forecast was gloomy (the bride-to-be packed rainboots), but it turned out to be a beautiful weekend full of wine, food, and good times with some of my favorite people. I will let the photos speak for themselves. If you live within driving distance to a winery or two, I highly recommend planning a winery weekend getaway. It is nice to taste wine with knowledgable staff to describe what was used to create the flavors and it is also great to see the winemaking process firsthand. We also visited Blue Mountain Brewery for lunch one afternoon. I tried some of their beer and brought some back for my beer loving better half. Don't you just love the flip flop wine glass holders? Adorable. While we were driving between locations I did manage to squeeze in a little crafting and cast on a hat gift project. (Christmas is still coming) Cheers to great adventures with the girls!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Review Wednesday 10.5.11- "Knits Men Want"

Book of the week: "Knits Men Want: the 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man" by Bruce Weinstein.

So, I think I have mentioned that I have a husband who is generally extremely supportive of my crafting habit. He goes with me to the supply stores. He listens to me talk (at-length) about yarn, and patterns, and projects. I thought I would be nice and try and make him something this Christmas...until I showed him this book and actually asked him if he wanted me to knit him something. He didn't seem that enthusiastic...after reading this book I realized that he may never be enthusiastic about getting a knitted garment from me. It is just a fact of life that most men don't care much about what they wear. Let's get on to the business at hand.

Book Review: My favorite quote from this book speaks to a truth I have discovered along the married way-- "Men like three things: simple designs, muted color, and soft fabrics. And to hell with what the magazines, fashion columns, and yes, even their women, tell them they should wear." The author lays out his ten rules to accompany various projects that should please all men. My favorites were "Rule #2: Men Resist Change" and "Rule #10: When in doubt, make him something basic." Rule two accompanies a great pattern for a basic pullover and rule ten accompanies a watch cap pattern. I have given this a lot of thought and I think I am sticking with #10. Knitters can rarely go wrong with simple hat gifts. Who doesn't like a nice, soft hat? Now I just need to find a nice, soft, muted color yarn to fit this project and I think my husband and I will both be pleased with the finished product. If you are considered making a knitted gift for a man in your life, pick this book up. The advice is honest and the patterns are well laid out. This is a great addition to the vast array of knitting books out there because most do not specifially address the tricky subject of knitting for a man. Definitely worth a look.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apples, Apples, and Apples, Oh My!

I decided to drag myself out of my city-fied grocery store comfort and head to an apple orhard this fall. Little bird looooooves fruit of any variety and has a daily fix of apple juice. I thought she might get a kick out of seeing where apples actually grow. We went down to Carolina to visit family and squeezed our orchard adventure into the trip. Just down the road from my in-laws is this great place- J and A Orchards. After a very happy and loud "Apple" exclamation from our sweet girl, we got busy picking and filled a 1/2 bushel bucket.

I got home with this big bag of apples and was suddenly struck by the fact that I didn't really have any concrete plans for said apples. A busy week of work and party throwing went by and the bag was still sitting in my kitchen staring me in the face. I decided to tackle the bag with a variety of apple creations. I made:
an apple pie, of course, because one can never go wrong with pie
apple jam (recipe taken from the Jansdotter book I reviewed recently)
apple sauce (slow cooker recipe from
apple pumpkin muffins (also found here on

I am just about apple-d out. I love apples, but I think I will create a more concrete plan for the picked apples creations before we go again next year.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

CSA Goodness...oh the vegetables

My twelve year old self would say "oh the horrors" when looking at this photo. All those vegetables. Our summer community supported agriculture program (CSA)through the Five Points Market is wrapping up...I have enjoyed the "what are we getting" anticipation that comes with this program. It is nice to have someone else corralling local and regional fresh fruits and veggies, but we are going to skip the fall CSA.

Our fall plans include several trips down to NC, wedding showers, trips, and ceremonies, festivals, running, and about one trillion other things. I just don't see it as a good option when we will be out of town and running like mad. I am looking forward to the butternut squash risotto that my husband will make from the last of our summer CSA. Looking forward to seeing the CSA peaches and berries next summer(or apples as my daughter is currently calling every piece of fruit she sees)!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review Wednesday 9.28.11

Book of the week:
Paper + Craft: 25 charming gifts, accents, and accessories to make from paper
Authors: Minhee and Truman Cho

Authors are owners of business Paper + Cup, based out of New York. So many cool businesses and bakeries exist in New York City, it really is a shame that the frenetic pace of life there scares me. I could never, never live there. Maybe the reason "the city" is so choc' full of creative and baked goodness is because it never is always changing and growing. At any rate, let's get down to business and talk about the book.
I loved this book. It has accessible projects that would be great for paper crafters at all skill levels. I particularly loved the birdie mobile, the animal drink markers, and the silhouettes. I love that the authors encourage others to not just follow the directions word for word, but to use the projects as a jumping off point to explore the reader's creative side. The authors' introduction includes this great quote that I had to include in the post: "The allure of crafting is that it fills the mundane with substance, and regardless of the imperfections or irregularities that will happen along the way, it is still entirely "yours," no matter how simple the object."
After reading through the book and browsing the projects a few times, I plan to adapt the birdie mobile bird pattern and use them for future party decor or a few handmade cards. They include a project with paper mustaches that is so adorable. I don't know where or when, but I want to take some silly mustache photos. I love the sense of whimsy in this book. The projects are fun and light. Any craft book with a cover of a dog in a chair chilling out in a party hat is worth exploring. Buy it if you are looking for some fun paper projects to add to your never ending crafting project list.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Moment 9.23.11

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (From Soule this tradition so I am striving to do this as well...I need to take more time to savor and it will be such a treat to look back and remember these moments)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review Wednesday 9.21.11 "Crafting a Meaningful Home"

Crafting a Meaningful Home: 27 DIY Projects to Tell Stories, Hold Memories, and Celebrate Family Heritage

Book of the Week: Crafting a Meaningful Home: 27 DIY Projects to Tell Stories, Hold Memories, and Celebrate Family Heritage by Meg Mateo Ilasco

My review: Love, love this thought included in the author's introduction "the homes I find most interesting and comfortable- the ones that really resonate with me- are the ones that reveal stories about the people who live in them." This book is a collaborative effort highlighting projects from 27 very different artists who work in a wide range of mediums and make very personal items for their homes, ranging from plaster cast replicas of Phillipine folk art to hooked rugs made of fabric scraps to a fridge decoupaged with old maps of London. I did find one project that I absolutely loved:  the Sihouettes on Canvas made by Haile McCollum of Thomasville, Georgia. I have never made a silhouette before, but am thinking of trying this out. I love the way this artwork blends past and present. Silhouettes capture a moment/stage in a child's life and are incredibly visually striking. Let's add this to my project list. How long is my project list now? I don't want to know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sweet hair bow holder

In 2009, I chose some absolutely adorable nursery bedding for my sweet baby girl from Pottery Barn Kids. I didn't find any artwork for her room that thrilled me, so my mom and I decided to just make our own using some old and new fabrics in her stash and mine. We covered two canvas frames with this fabric and then created the birds and trees. I love the finished product...they are kid appropriate and not too cutesy.
We have been purchasing bows for her slightly unruly hair (I hope she got more of my husband's hair genes or there is no hope for her hair...), which presented a storage issue. We had bows all over her dresser, under her dresser, in her diaper bags. You get the idea. My mom came to the rescue and took the lead on the solution: a wall mounted bow holder. She used the remainder fabric from our wall art project and made this adorable bow holder. I am pleased with how it looks and how it will help us get a little more organized with the bows. Now, if I could only organize the rest of my life to be so beautiful and functional...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Review Wednesday 9.14.11

So for those of you that don't know me well, in addition to collecting craft projects, I also collect things to read. I love to read. Newspapers, websites, magazines, random publications at the grocery store, blogs, and books. Lots and lots of books. I come across a lot of really cool crafting/knitting/gardening books and have randomly posted about a few of them. This fall I am going to start posting a blog every Wednesday about a different book...this will help me keep track of the many projects I am wanting to start in each book and hopefully help you stumble across a new book or two that interests you. If you know any crafters/artists, some of these books would make great gifts.

Book of the day: Handmade Living: a fresh take on Scandinavian Style by Lotta Jansdotter

Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style [Hardcover]

Review: Totally swedish and totally cool. She includes multiple photos of her work and personal living spaces to highlight her work and life philosophy. She has merged her Swedish heritage with American urban life and the result is a really cool book...I love that she mixes cool vintage furniture with cheaper IKEA pieces. She works with textiles and includes photos of such beautiful linens. (I think I need some new tablecloths and napkins...). I love that she discussed the Swedish tradition of fika, which is stopping for a coffee break. I need to stop and refresh with a friend and a coffee drink more often. I am definitely going to try her recipes for Apple Jam and Cinnamon Rolls. Her website is also worth a look.
Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time