Monday, December 31, 2007

The Tradition Lives On

Since my mom is from the Philippines and my dad is from the north, we don't have a lot of family living nearby (here in the south). Luckily, when I was young, or possibly even before I was born, my mom became good friends with a distant cousin of hers who also lived in the states, and our families began hanging out since I can remember. They lived in Canada, but would make long trips in their big van to visit us all the way down in Florida. They are a full-Filipino family (my Dad is American, so I guess that makes us "half") so it was really nice for my mom to have someone to talk to in her native language and someone to cook the familiar foods that they grew up eating. Not sure if you know any other Filipino people, but we like to eat...a lot. I mean, we really, really like to eat, so it was always a fun family foodfest whenever our two families got together.

Eventually, around the time I was in middle school, my cousins moved to Atlanta, GA, so we started taking trips to visit them (a few times a year). We would play video games all day and take trips to theme parks and water parks. It was the best...some of my favorite childhood memories were spent with my "distant" family. My cousins, especially the one my age, became like my brothers. We had the best fun just being kids together exploring those water parks, playing board games, and even playing their keyboard (my cousin was extremely into music and still is to this he prefers to play guitar) to the pre-programmed sounds, like House of the Rising Sun and Hey Jude.

Every time we visited them in Georgia, we had this tradition that we would go to the Dim Sum restaurant for a goodbye lunch. We'd get there very early...before the restaurant was even open. You have to do that with the good Dim Sum restaurants because you will not get a table if you don't go early. Dim Sum is like a Chinese brunch with tapas-style, family-style food. It's much more authentic than many American-ized Chinese restaurants and it's absolutely delicious. Anywho, every time we went to Atlanta, we had to go to Dim Sum. We would get one of the big round tables they had for large families, we'd share food off of the huge lazy Susan in the middle of the table, and we'd eat and talk and eat and laugh and eat all afternoon. I have such fond memories of our Dim Sum outings, so when I found out there was a Dim Sum restaurant in my SO's hometown and that my SO's sister liked Dim Sum (it's not for everyone and not traditionally popular with Americans), I hoped that we would be able to go this past weekend and we did!

For anyone who's never had Dim Sum, here's how it works:

Check reviews or with locals to see if the Dim Sum restaurant is good (has a good reputation). If it does, you will need to get there up to an hour before they open. Get there at least 30 minutes early if you don't want to have to wait for a table to open up. People often will sit and eat all afternoon.

Once you get your table, the waiters and waitresses will push little carts around the room and stop by your table to show you all the yummy foods they have to offer you. Many times, they will not speak English, so you may have to choose your dishes by looks only. This picture features a cart with steamed foods. Inside these containers are a variety of delicious dumplings. You point at the ones you want, the waitress places your selection(s) on the table and marks your check. There are three parts of the check for the various dishes, which are priced by size: small (around $2.75), medium (around $3.75), and large (around $5-ish). They mark an X in the appropriate box(es), which will be tallied up when you check out.

In this picture, you can see some of the dishes we selected: sauteed brocollini, calamari, eggplant & green pepper, turnip cakes with pork, and steamed pork buns. Towards the back, my SO's sister is opening a grapeleaf package, which contains sticky rice with an egg, pork, and shrimp filling.

Same dishes as before except towards the front are some steamed shrimp of my favorites.

My plate...with a bite taken out of the steamed pork bun (another one of my favorites) so you can see the barbeque pork filling. It's not barbeque like you'd probably be familiar with, but it's a slightly sweet me, it's good and one of the first Dim Sum I started eating as a too-picky-kid, so it would be a good one to start with.

Though it may not look like it, this is dessert - sesame balls. Balls of dough covered in sesame seeds, deep-fried, and with a yummy bean paste inside. The paste is sometimes yellow-ish, but the red bean paste is the best!

Overall, the Dim Sum was excellent! Just as good as I remember from my childhood. I had such a fun time chatting with my SO's sister and her husband and my SO. I had told my SO's sister about my family tradition with my cousins and she had a similar tradition with her friends growing up. So, as we were finishing our brunch, I was thrilled to hear her say, "Maybe we can start a new family tradition?" I quickly resp0nded, "I would love that. Let's do it!"

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You Like Me...You Really Like Me!

We went back to my SO's hometown this past weekend to see his sister as we had to work the day after Christmas and she wasn't coming to town till later in the week. I, of course, wanted to be there to see her open the quilt I made for her daughter. All during last week I built myself up for the worst case scenario. Not everyone likes, wants, or appreciates handmade stuff quite like the many talented people on the craft blog scene. I tried to prepare myself prior to the weekend that they may just open the box and say, "Hey, it's a blanket. Thanks." (note there's not exclamation in that quote). I did keep hope that they would love it...especially since my SO's sister is such a sweet & caring person overall. All my worries disappeared the moment they opened the quilt. As you can tell from this photo, she liked it! Phew!

See how it's all laid out on the ground like that? She did it all by her wee-little self. She opened the box with her mom, took the quilt, and carefully spread it out on the ground, bit by bit. Then, she sat right in the middle of the quilt and touched the various fabric pieces. So cute!

Then, she laid down on it and rolled around. Thank goodness she liked it! I usually like to keep the "first" of things I make (first quilt, first crocheted scarf, etc), but sometimes the better event is when you can give something so special of yours to someone else special and hope they can appreciate it as much as you would. I think we're good to go here, folks!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Accidental Goodbye

Well, it's finally here...tomorrow is my last day on my uptown project. I've been working at the bank since Valentine's Day now...a relatively long project for a consultant, but with the end of the year comes the end of my assignment. I'm not sure if you've every consulted before (or maybe just job-hopped), but it's kinda weird going from project to project sometimes. If you stay long enough, explore your surroundings, and take the time to talk to people, you can get really, well, cozy. You make friends, find your favorite places to eat and places to shop.

I'll definitely miss the convenience of working uptown. There's a whole world out there hidden within those tall structures and behind high glass windows that you would never know about unless you worked in that environment. Tunnels and covered bridges span from building to building and you start creating paths that wind you in and out of buildings, unwittingly crossing several city blocks in one trip while you check out the little boutiques, shops, over-priced convenience stores, and cafes. It's kind of funny...walking down these long, over-crowded halls...there is just so much inside these buildings that you can't even see from the outside. From the outside, you think, hey, there's an office building. I guess bank people work there. Inside, the bank people are scurrying from their desk to grab some fast food, choosing from Einstein, Sbarro's, Chick-Fil-A, and Salsaritas all in one hallway, so they can scurry back to their desk and get back to work, all the while not caring one bit about what street they're technically on or what's going on outside.

Yes, they "scurry". You start to notice...there are the "scurriers", the "Sunday walkers", and the "loungers". I guess you can say I'm a scurrier (is that a word?) because I like to walk quickly. I get frustrated walking behing the slow "Sunday walkers" even when I'm not in a rush...isn't that silly? I get this feeling like if I don't get around the slow people I'll be stuck walking down that hall forever! Walking these uptown halls can be like driving down a multi-lane highway. You have to wait for a "lane" to open up to pass. Sometimes the halls are so full with people walking this way and that way that you just can't quite squeeze through, so you have to wait patiently taking slower-than-normal steps until you can make a move. Ahh...the silly quirks of a work environment. I guess I'll miss that whole everything-you-could-possibly-need-within-five-minutes-of-walking convenience.

I'll even miss our strangely efficient elevators. Instead of up/down buttons, like normal elevators, ours have a touch-screen panel where you choose your floor and the system tells you which elevator to take. You hit the button for the 7th floor, the panel directs you to elevator #4, you hop on elevator #4 and you're off and to your floor in a matter of seconds! No waiting for the floors below you (well, sometimes the system will couple them)'s quite nice, actually. Not hard to get used to, but hard to get not-used to, if that makes sense. I went to my consultant company's office recently, pushed the up button outside the elevator, got on the elevator and stood there. Our elevators are extremely slow, so it took me a minute to realize that it had not gotten slower, but in fact, wasn't moving at all! Heehee...oopsie! Good thing no one saw that!

I'll miss the constant hustle and bustle around the trade floor. I'll even miss the super dressy dress code. (Button-down shirts and dress pants aren't that bad, afterall) And, I know I'll miss the people. Isn't it sad to say goodbye to people that you know you very well may never see again? I don't like "goodbyes" and I don't like "nevers." They're so finite. A good friend told me once that he always said "Later" to his friends instead of "Goodbye" because "Later" means he'll see them again and "Goodbye" is forever. I've tried to avoid the word "Goodbye" ever since and when I accidentally tell a friend "Goodbye", it makes me, what if I never see them again? Sometimes, I'll even follow up the accidental "Goodbye" with a "Later" know...just for good measure.

I'll miss my comfy window seat with the great view of the sunset. Here's one I snapped yesterday. The sun was just peeking from behind a gigantic blue curtain of clouds and there was an amazing golden peach spreading through the sky.

I mean, how lucky, out of a building of thousands of people, am I to get a window seat? I was talking to a woman on my floor the other day about how I was leaving and she should try to take my seat when I go, since it's a good spot. She said she'd been asking for a window seat for years but hadn't gotten one yet. Years? What? The conversation made me want to go to my desk, pack it up, and hoard it somehow to keep it safe. What if my company sends me back? Where might they put me? Eek!

Today, I started packing my desk. That's the worst part of moving...whether it's jobs or houses. The packing up, the goodbyes or "laters" you share with friends, the finality of it all.

And yet, with an end comes a new beginning, right? I'm scared and curious and hopeful of where my company will send me next. I hope not too far, yet at the same time, I don't know if "far" wouldn't be good? You never know what's out there for you until you stumble upon it, you know? Cross your fingers it's somewhere good. Till next time...Later!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas-ing Around the South

It was Christmas-ing around the south for us this year as we visited both my parents and my SO's family for the holidays. We spent the weekend before Christmas with my family. My mom is a neonatal intensive care nurse, so she only gets every other Christmas off. I guess it works out well now that my SO and I are sharing the holidays between both our families. Only problem is, with so few days, you don't feel like you really get to spend good quality time with either family. Don't get me wrong, a couple days with each is precious time, but I love my long, lazy days hanging out with family and doing nothing but eating, resting, and whatever else I feel like. Maybe next year? Anywho, my parents loved their gifts - my mom loved the scarf I knit up for her! Yay!

At my family's house, we had a traditional turkey dinner, but with non-traditional table decor. Doesn't matter one bit to me...turquoise is my favorite color anyways!

Oh yea! Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, steamed veggies...yummy! We even had pumpkin pie and a delicious chocolate cake...mmm...

Last week, I was recounting all the Christmas presents I had hoped to make and came to the awful realization that I didn't have time to get them all done. EEK! I only had time to get a couple done. That was...I thought I had time to get a couple done, and then, the orders for D Celestine started pouring in out of no where! I had some online orders and even had a few custom orders to make with some local friends, which is always a blast, but no time for my homemade Christmas gifts. Luckily, I packed up my knitting supplies and all the yarns I had intended to use in my gifts and knitted up a storm all weekend, and Christmas Eve, and even Christmas Day to complete two (yes, two) more of those butterfly scarves. I finished the second one about an hour before we were supposed to head over to my SO's aunt's house for dinner. Did I mention I had offered to prepare a panettone bread pudding before we left? Phew! What a busy day Christmas was!? Everything came together in the end. The panettone bread pudding was very much enjoyed, and I gave the two butterfly scarves to my SO's two aunts and they LOVED them. Phew! My first major, handmade Christmas gifts were a hit! I've got to come up with something good for next year now!

I'm Loving This Quilt

Well, here it is...the day I thought would never get here. Mommy fiiiinally finished the pretty baby quilt and I have to say, I've thoroughly been enjoying it.

Wait...WHAT!? What do you mean I have to give it up?

Can't I keep it, mommy...pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease? You wouldn't say no to a face like this, would you?

Oh fine! Just take it! You better have some good treats for me leftover in that stocking, though! I'm just sayin...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Tunes & Binding

So, tonight was another step towards completing the baby quilt - my first try at binding. I've been avoiding blankets and quilting for awhile now because...well, I've been afraid. Afraid of the quilting...and especially afraid of the binding. I'm one of those people who visualize everything in my head and I couldn't quite wrap my thoughts around how the binding was supposed to work. I. just. couldn't. imagine. how. it. worked. I've been putting off binding projects like a 10 page research paper for school, but tonight, I said, "No more excuses" and dove right in.

I have to admit, while sometimes tedious, and definitely hard work, I'm very much enjoying this project...even though it's starting to get kinda fugly. Not overally fugly, but if you look at it closely and pick out all my mistakes...or if you're a quilt connoisseur, you'd probably deem my quilt unworthy. I made loops in my stipling (which I read you aren't supposed to do b/c the stiches aren't supposed to cross), my squares don't line up right, and when I squared my quilt off, I realized it was lop-sided and had to trim longer pieces of some sides making the border uneven. But, hey, it's the imperfections that make it handmade and therefore special...right?

Anywho, tonight, I turned on the Christmas radio stations, googled some binding tutorials online and pinned and sewed and pinned and sewed till the binding was all the way around on one side. Tomorrow night, I plan to finish the quilt...yay! I can't wait! Now, I just need to get some good hot cocoa so I can really get in the spirit!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If You Can Read This...

I'm not sure if everyone out there is as random as me (probably not, as that would be pretty hard to do), but I was driving to work, half-asleep, without any caffeine in my system, and the most random memory popped into my head, seemingly from nowhere. I'm sure I must have heard something on the radio that triggered my memory, but who ever knows? Alls I know is I suddenly remembered being 8-ish. My friend Dee-Dee (such an 80's name, no?) snuck into her big sister's room to snoop around. I don't remember much, but I remember posters (probably New Kids on the Block and Cindy Lauper), perfume bottles, lip glosses, nail polishes, cassettes, pastels...and a collection of buttons. I remember reading one...the text was so small, it was hard to make out. I squinted to read it, but the words made out eventually but sloooowwwwwly. "Iffffff you can read're stannnnnnnding too damn close." Oh my goodness! I thought. That button is mean...yet strangely funny. I think I loved it instantly, even though I knew it was wrong. At 8-ish, you think "bad words" are so terrible, no? I wonder what that says about me, finding that button so fascinating at what seems like such a young age? I wonder why that memory popped out of the blue to give me a quick giggle on my way to work? Perhaps my brain was pissed off at me for staying up so late working on that silly baby quilt. Why, oh why, did I decide to do stipling for my first quilt?

I guess I like a good challenge...and "challenge" it was, indeed. I must have started and stopped a dozen times...breaking string, sewing over the extra edges of my backing, pinched know...all the newbie mistakes. Can you tell from the photo that I didn't really know what I was doing? Either way, I really wanted to finish the stipling for this quilt and made myself stay up until it was done. Phew...done it is...but now I have to do quilt binding for the first time...yikes! Luckily, there are some good tutorials out there! Tonight was dedicated to Christmas shopping for the SO...maybe tomorrow night I'll finish the quilt? Wish me luck...I think I'm going to need it!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jewelry Party

I had a mini jewelry party at my house today. I was supposed to have it at a clubhouse, but thank goodness I was able to do it from the comfort of my home! I'm feeling much better, but I'm still pretty tired. I actually had to leave my company holiday party early last night! Waaa. Ok, enough are some photos from my party today:

Hmm...this appears much more cluttery than I thought it did earlier today. What can I say, but it's Murphy's law that the one item I leave put up will be the one thing someone wants, right?

I've actually been working a lot of de-cluttering my displays because I have a tendancy to put too many jewelry designs out, but I like having a good variety out.

I love this little art frame to display my earrings. I made this with a wood frame, some corkboard, some fabric and satin roping. It took a long time, but it was worth it.

When I first started my jewelry business, I said that I would never put anything on "sale". How long did that last? About a year or two...I did pretty good, but sometimes you just want to make room for pretty, new designs.

Anywho, we had snacks and stuff. Next time, when I'm feeling better, I want to have really nice, handmade snacks...even if I have to buy them from a local bakery. I want my guests to feel extra special!

Love these napkins!

Christmas, Ornaments, and Running Late

Christmas is a funny time of the year, isn't it? You can be running late and be completely early, all at the same time! For example, I was reading a magazine the other day, I think Ideal Home's Christmas edition, and it said that you were supposed to bring the Christmas tree in on Dec. 15th (hey, that's today!). Of course, I brought my tree in nearly a week ago. See? Early! But then, on the other hand, I don't really have any Christmas gifts ready yet, and I've been planning on making all of mine, though, I do need to head to the mall for my SO's gifts (can't make his), and I really don't want to deal with all the traffic. Between going to the mall and not having made all the presents I'm planning to make, I think I can safely say that I'm running late. Boo. Hey, at least the tree is looking good.

Isn't this tree skirt pretty? It's one of the Martha Stewart items I got from Kmart last weekend. It's a bit bunched up, but we couldn't chop off the bottom branches of the tree, since it's so short, so the skirt doesn't quite fit.

As for running late, perhaps I should have spent less time making ornaments and more time making gifts? Although, I have to say, I think my ornaments are looking mighty fine in the tree. Yea baby!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cozy Crochet Scarf

I finally got to my most awesome Christmas gift from last year - the Cozy Crochet Kit...uh after a beginner crochet class at a local yarn shop. I think I could have taught myself, but:
1. The first crochet row was really messing me up - I couldn't figure out which loops to pull up!
2. Classes are more fun and you get to meet a lot of cool people. Like my teacher, who (whom?) I see every time I'm in the yarn shop and who always helps me so much for FREE...just because she's nice. Aww

This is the first crochet project I decided to tackle. It was a level 2, but I like a good challenge and I ended up really liking this scarf. I think I'm gonna make me a couple more...for Christmas gifts, of course.

Anywho, I highly recommend this kit to anyone just learning to crochet. I think I first fell in love with the name (how could a cozy crochet kit go wrong, right?) first, but the patterns inside are super fun. Especially this scarf! Can't wait to try some others out, though.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Knitting for Christmas

I meant to post this yesterday, but I was sick sick sick with food poisoning...ick! Today, I still feel very weak and I haven't been able to eat solid foods yet, but yesterday was just not pretty one bit! I faded in and out of sleep all day and just felt so...uncomfortable! I wanted to knit or crochet something b/c I find that so very relaxing and comforting, but it was all I could do yesterday to sit upright.

Anywho, on to happier knitting!

I've been working on this simple stockinette scarf for awhile now, and finally finished it this past weekend.

I've seen people pin their knit items down, but I never knew why...until my stockinette stitched scarf started curling up and my friend at the yarn store told me to pin the scarf flat and spray it with water. I patiently waited all day for my scarf to dry and when I pulled it curled right back. boo! I guess the trick only works when you work with natural materials, like wool or alpaca. Oh well, it's still pretty cute and will make a great Christmas gift...I hope!

I've got lots of other great knitting ideas for Christmas presents, but I suppose I'm really running out of time, aren't I? I need to get knitting!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chicken Vesuvio and Tree Trimming

Thanks to the wonderful Sarah of Misadventures of Mama and Jack, I decided to take a trip to Kmart to check out the Martha Stewart holiday decoration collection. You have to understand, going to Kmart isn't a simple 10 minute drive down the street, it's more like a 30 minute drive to the other side of town...and it's near a mall, which is always "fun" this time of year. Martha is usually so dependable for chic decorations, but you never know just what a store will be sold out of or not carry. The whole way over, I was keeping my fingers crossed that my trip would not be a lost cause. I have to say, the Kmart was not the most organized place I'd ever been. I couldn't figure out where the holiday decorations were and couldn't find anyone working there to help me. I just walked in circles in complete confusion. Can you tell I don't frequent the Kmart much? Nothing wrong w/ Kmart...I'm just too lazy and too busy to go so far for stuff I can get closer to home. I finally had to ask someone at the checkout (while they're were checking someone else out) where the holiday decorations were. Turns out they were in the Garden wonder I didn't see them when I was circling the store. Anywho, by the time I finally made it to the decorations, I was slightly irritated, but that all just melted away when I took one look at the beautiful Martha Stewart ornaments and trim. Every doubt I'd had when I was driving over, fighting the mall traffic, and feeling completely lost in Kmart instantly disappeared as I started oohing and ahing over all the lovely decorations. I found way too many things I liked and bought far too many ornaments for my tree. By the time I got back from my shopping spree, it was nearly time for dinner. I made one of my favorite Everyday Italian recipes - Chicken Vesuvio

This is a super yummy dish with a light yet tasty flavor. The dish contains chicken, potatoes, artichoke hearts and the sauce is made with white wine, chicken broth, and butter

I've made this dish a couple times and must offer up that I usually only make this with two bone-in chicken breasts, though I keep the liquid ingrediants the same. Also, be sure to watch this dish as it's cooking because the high heat usually burns my chicken and 10 minutes for both the chicken and potato cooking times is too long.

Anywho, I had a lovely evening of enjoying delicious food, sipping wine, and trimming my tree. I think these new ormanents will go great with my sparkly snowomen

And look! My Christmas present came early this year and already unwrapped!

First Time for Indian

Can you believe I've never had Indian food before? Well, I guess that's not least, it's not true any more! I tried Indian food for the first time last week and it was soooo yummy! I went with a few of my co-workers and some of them were Indian...thank goodness b/c they were able to help me pick out what to order. I ended up getting Morgh Tikka Masala (sp?), which is chunks of chicken in a creamy tomato sauce...but not like Campbells creamy tomato - it's like Campbell's with a kick (it's actually not at all like Campbells, but I have to compare it to something "familiar"). You must try it! I think trying new foods can be so amazing sometimes. When you try a new spice or herb or dish or food or flavor, the sensation of that new taste hitting your tongue can be so exhilarating! I mean look at that color! Something so beautiful must be delicious! I'm here to tell you it is...and I wouldn't lie to you...would I? :)

We all started with a tomato based soup that was slightly sweet and slightly interesting combo

Here's my vibrant Tikka Masala - the sauce has cream and tomato and cilantro and tikka, which is a spice, and lots of other good stuff.

Steamy basmati rice

All served with some warm flatbread...I can't wait to go back! Hmm...maybe I can talk someone into going tomorrow?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Oh Where, Oh Where Can My Ornaments Be?

I am so disappointed with ornament options...why are there no light turquoise ornaments anywhere? WHY? I don't want light blue, I don't want bright turquoise...I want a light turquoise, almost "robin's egg blue" color ornament, in a simple, glass ball. Is that so much to ask for? Apparently, it is...because I haven't seen any anywhere! I guess I will continue to make my own in the meantime...they're super fun to create and craft, but would be much more enjoyable if there were only more hours in the day. I enjoy making my ornaments either way, but it would be so much more enjoyable to work on them without worrying about what I should work on...ah well...such is life, no?

Here are, I think, my fave ornaments so far - they are sparkly snowmen...although, perhaps the little flowers make them snow-women. snowomen? sno-women? I think you catch my drift (get it? drift? snow drift?'s a knee slapper)

I actually came up with the idea to put the "carrot" nose on the pins...cute, no? I figured they would stay on better if I could attach them to the styrofoam bases with pins. I made the flowers and leaves with craft store felt.

Hey ladies! Ready to pretty up my tree?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

...And the Winner of the Handmade Gift Tags Is...

..."Sarah and Jack" of Misadventures of Mama and Jack! She won the contest to get these festive gift tags I made a week-ish ago:

Congrats Sweetie (email me your shipping addy at shopaholicd at gmail dot com)! And thanks to everyone who played! I'm hoping to have one more giveaway before Christmas so stay tuned.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

Although I don't have a house yet (though I desperately want one), I am so thankful to have my own little apartment and the money to be able to get my own Christmas tree. I got a tree a couple years ago, but I feel like I'm in this transition phase of life, between living and home and living on my own, where my home is where my parents live, but it's also where I live. It's kinda tough spreading out like this and being unsure about what is what, but what I do know is that both places are my home, so I should be happy to have them both! Anywho, there's this weird period of time between graduating high school and getting a few years into your career (maybe it's just me) where you are so extremely broke, you're living in whatever is cheapest and eating whatever is cheapest and you don't have the time, space or money to worry about things like Christmas trees because you can barely take care of yourself and furnish your tiny space. Now, a few years into my career, I think I'm worrying too much about my Christmas tree...but I suppose that is just the way of the perfectionist.

My SO and I went Christmas tree shopping Tuesday night...after much bugging on my end. I think I asked for nearly a straight week, every night, to go Christmas tree shopping, but see! It worked!

We hit up a local Christmas tree vendor who has been selling at this same spot for nearly 50 years!

They were so prepared, with tons of wreaths and bows and even Christmas tree stands (thank goodness b/c we tried Tar-jay first and they were sold out!)

See! I told you they had tons of wreaths and bows

A nice man (possibly the owner, but we didn't ask) helped us pick out our tree. He walked us around to a few of the many spots of their setup with the mini trees (we don't have space for much else), and he helped pull out this tree for us to check out. We decided it would be ours and asked him to help take the temp wooden stand off the bottom, which is what he's doing in this photo. He was really so kind and helpful...I love supporting these types of businesses - local (I think they're local) businesses comprised of hard-working every day people with genuine hearts. I only met this man for 15ish minutes, but sometimes people have a look in their face and a way that lets you know? I hope we can visit them again next year...hopefully for a tree for a house!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Glittering Bailey

I've had quite the glitter production going on on my dining room table lately. Good thing we don't usually eat on it! I've been creating all kinds of sparkly creations to hang on our Christmas tree, but I swear, it's like I'm not working hard enough or something. I feel like I've been crafting ornaments for hours and hours and I only have a few creations to show for it. Oh well, at least I've been having fun and I'll have custom-made ornaments when I'm done! Yay! But, seriously, I think Christmas just snuck up on me this year. It was like, one minute, it's spring and the next's Christmas! What the hay!? Anywhosier, here's my next batch of ready-to-hang ornaments, straight from the craft room dining room table:

I paired Martha Stewart glitter with red ribbon and added a little metal hoop on top

As you can imagine, with this much glittering going on, I've basically got glitter everywhere! Even on Bailey! Poor little guy. I accidentally sprinkled some on him when I was walking past him with some ornaments. Oopsie! Mommy will try to be more careful!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a Sparkly Christmas

I've always loved sparkly things. I remember a kid's movie I fell in love with a looooong time ago, called, "The Secret of Nimh" (the book was waaaay better, and if I remember correctly, pretty deep for a kids' book). The movie had a goofy crow character who always said, "Oooh...a sparkly!" I say that sometimes when I see sparkly's silly, but I can't help it. I think my love for things that glitter helped influence me to start my jewelry business. At least, it helps influence the materials I select and the ones I put in my designs. I always like to add a little sparkle to each design. Anywho, with Christmas coming up and my nesting kicking in (and me finally having more space for decorations), it was a no-brainer that there would be a lot of glittering going on in my home. I've got quite a few things in the works, but glitters and glues and paints can take some time to dry, so here's the first set that's ready:

They're little embroidery hoops - I sparkled the edges in red (Garnet, if you want to get technical) Martha Stewart glitter and added some light turquoise fabric stretched across the hoops. Not quite the right fabric color, but it's really hard to find the kinds of Christmas colors I'm looking for. Oh well...I'll wait to see how they look in the tree with my other ornaments. I can switch the fabric out pretty easily later. Now, back to sparkling!

Don't forget to enter into the contest!

Gift Tag Giveaway

I've really been getting into making the smaller things in life extra-special, especially now that the holidays are here. I remember in college, if I had time to gift wrap (because I was an over-achieving workaholic with little time), I was usually throwing something in a decorative bag with tissue paper or throwing whatever holiday gift wrap was closest to me on any boxes I needed to wrap. Not that simple gift wrap doesn't say just wasn't saying "special" for me. I've been getting into adding little details to my gift wrap and thinking through my gift wrap color themes and stuff, and one of the things I've been wanting to add to my packages are decorative gift tags. My family has always gotten those cutesy sticker tags with images of snowmen or Santa, but I've really been having fun creating gift tags for some recent swaps and want to make some for myself.

I made these gift tags yesterday with the traditional Christmas color scheme, but I'm not going for "traditional" with my Christmas color scheme. I'm going for traditional with a twist. Anywho, that means that I need to give these babies away. One set will be for a swap (those aren't pictured), one set will be for a Christmas gift, and one set will be given away to one of my dear readers (or guests).

I am giving away this set, with the glittery gift tags including: red rectangle on holiday print, red swirly circle on green striped print, a hand-drawn holly berry bit, off white rectangle on green print, hand drawn/glittered swirl on red swirl print with off white paper print, poinsettia on cream/red rectangles on holiday print

This set (with the Santa gift tag) will be showing up in someone's Christmas gift (only the first set pictured will be given away)


Two Ways to Enter (and you can do both if you want to enter twice!):
1. Leave a comment on this post (only one comment per person, unless you do #2, too) and say which tag is your fave
2. Do a post about the contest on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your post (if you do a post about the contest, you may use the first image of the gift tags in your contest post)

All entries must be received by Friday night (12/7/07), as the winner will be selected Saturday morning.

Happy Contesting!

Happy Handmade Holidays

I know I mentioned wanted to make all my presents this year, but I've been getting into making my decorations, too. I've really been working on brainstorming the perfect color scheme and found some great inspiration in my Martha Stewart books...only problem is...where does she find all those amazing colors for such regular items as gift wrap, ribbon, etc. Thank goodness she opened her own aisle in Michael's so I can finally access some of her pretty colors in scrapbook paper and tissue paper colors! I think my fave color of her collection is her "Feldspar" - it's like a pale blue-green...not quite "robin's egg blue" - I think "Feldspar" has a bit more green to it...but any-hoosier.

I found these cute and cheap ornaments at Michael's the other day when I "went in for one thing." I'm sure you guys know how that goes. Anywho, I figured they'd be a simple project to paint up and sparkle up...and they were! The little crevices were a bit difficult, and you can see I painted the light turquoise color on the snowflakes a tad, but I figured they'd be covered with glitter. There were also a few black marks on some of the ornaments, but again, I figured they'd be covered with glitter, so who'd ever know...except you guys now.

Painting the background light turquoise

All done! The tops were painted white to accent the snowflakes and I added Martha's White Gold glitter to the tops.

Now I just need a tree!