Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shabby Chic Gift Tags

I finally carved some time out of my evening to make time for a long-awaited project: handmade gift tags. Sure, I had laundry to do, clothes to fold, a dog to take care of (wait, I still did that one), emails to type, but I'm usually one who does what she feels she should do. Tonight, I decided to do what I want to do. I don't get these opportunities often (when what I have to do in a night absolutely must be done by the next day), but I think that helps me enjoy my time better when I finally have it.

After searching for nearly thirty minutes for a pad of Amy Butler scrapbook paper (which, of course, I didn't end up using), I set up our dining room table, sipped some chocolate soy milk and just crafted and crafted and crafted to my heart's content.

I used some random scrapbook paper, craft punches, ink pads, stamps, ribbon, and one of my new fave craft supplies - Martha Stewart glitter! It's fab - so delicate! I also got to try a new crafting trick - the inkpad edging effect that makes the paper looked aged. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and turned out great! Now I know why everyone does it so much!

Not sure if these would officially be considered "shabby chic", but I didn't know what else to call the gift tag style.

I had a great brainstorm today for a winter craft project, but as I've already been to Michael's nearly five times this month (and JoAnn's twice), I need to:
1. Use the craft supplies I already have
2. Stop spending too much money on craft supplies! I suppose I truly am a shopaholic

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Butterfly Scarf in Green

I've decided to try to handmade all my presents this year. What else am I supposed to do with all of these gorgeous yarns, fabrics, and other crafy goodies, but make something that I can share with those I love? I think there's something extra special to handmade gifts...the heart that goes into each creation is something you can't buy with all the money in the world. Only problem is...I've distributed the link to this blog to nearly all my friends and family, so they'll be able to see their presents before they get them. Oopsie! My saving grace? The fact that they won't know which of the many creations are theirs until they open that box on Christmas Day.

Now that I've completed my first "butterfly" scarf project, I've decided to make more in the same style, but different colors, yarns, and textures. The yarn shop I've been frequenting (too much by the way) has these nifty grab bags in the front of the store, allowing me to afford all the yarns I've been collecting lately. Too bad they never put any of the oh-so-lovely alpaca or cashmerino yarns in those...I'm dying to work with that stuff, but I'm trying to buy yarns for gifts for others...not gifts for me. I think after the holidays are over, I'm going to head straight to the yarn store and get me some of the chunky alpaca yarn and some of the uber-cuddly cashmerino in black or off-white and make myself a shrug. I don't know how to make one, nor do I have any patterns, but with all the practice I'll get from these Christmas-gift-scarves, I should be able to figure it out. Yea baby!

Worms? No Thanks...I'm a Vegetarian.

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful one and for everyone else, I hope you had a lovely weekend. I spent Thanksgiving with my fiance's family this of several beautiful family get-togethers I've been fortunate enough to participate in. Don't get me wrong...I love my quiet, simple dinners with my immediate family, but with my mom from the Philippines and my dad from the north, we don't have a lot of "other family" near-by. We used to celebrate with some cousins of ours but haven't been able to connect as of late, but hopefully, we'll all get together soon. Anywho, every once in awhile, (maybe it's just me) but, I look forward to one of those big family celebrations with lots of friends and family everywhere. Very holiday-esque, no? My family has always celebrated traditional American holidays, but the older I get, the more I want to celebrate the holidays. The more I want to decorate, to bake, to cook, to gift wrap. I can't wait till my SO and I get a house so I can really get started decorating and maybe even host a holiday dinner. I'm taking notes from my Martha Stewart library...just in case.

We celebrated a traditional Thanksgiving with Turkey, dressing, gravy, dry dressing (a secret family recipe), macaroni & cheese, green been casserole, mashed potatoes, salad, I forgetting anything? I mean, obviously, we had dessert (my fave part of any meal): pumpkin gooey-butter cake, brownies, ice cream, and apple pie. If you can't tell from the photo, I celebrated Thanksgiving with quite a few of my SO's family - his aunt & uncle (the hosts) and their two sons, his mom, his brother & his son, his sister & her husband & their son & daughter.

I had a funny conversation with one of my SO's nephews, Alex, while he was playing with this fish toy that had a worm on a pully that when you pulled made the fish's tail swim while the worm moved closer towards the fish's mouth. The conversation went something like this:

Me: What's that in the fish's mouth?
Alex: A worm.
Me: What's the fish doing with the worm?
Alex: He's eating it.
Me: Do you eat worms?
Alex: NOOOO! I'm a veg-e-TAR-ian! I don't eat meat!

It wasn't the answer I was expecting, but it was really too cute.

The weather was a bit chilly, but beautiful. The fire-colored leaves looked so brilliant against the blue-blue sky.

Bailey is really loving all the leaves. He loves to eat them...or pick them up in his mouth at least...

...even leaves waaaay bigger than his head, which is pretty cute.

Oh yea...and he likes sticks, too.

When we got back home from visiting my SO's family, we had a simple soup...gotta eat healthy after chowing down on all that turkey, right? This is the Chicken Provencal "Stoup" by Rachael Ray (click here for recipe). I thought the recipe was pretty good, but if you try it, be sure to get the olive tapenade. I was hesitant to buy it because I don't like olives, but a teaspoon-full stirred into my soup added a lot of flavor, and it didn't really make the soup taste too much like olives. It just added depth to the flavor overall.

Oh, and did I mention that we also got to celebrate my SO's mom's b-day? Happy birthday, you-know-who!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Caterpillar to Butterfly

My little caterpillar has finally grown into a butterfly! Ok, not really, but wow! How satisfying is the completion of your first project in a new medium? After two beginner knitting classes, and many hours silently & happily knitting, I've got a beautiful scarf that I can actually use. I'm so excited!

It's funky and fun...but, mainly, I picked it out for it's casual style, so I could more esaily hide my mistakes...heehee

Even Bailey wanted to help me model my new scarf!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quilt Kit - An Update

As you can imagine, I've been pretty swamped with potty training and house-breaking the puppy...uh...and I may have spent just an hour or so on play time...yea, there may have been an hour-ish spent on play time *hee hee*

But, I did manage to make some progress on the quilt kit.

I laid out all the pieces and figured out how I wanted them to look and I got all the squares sewed into rows.

Of course, by some sort of not-so-much-stroke-of-genius, I managed to sew the first two rows together upside down, which threw off my entire layout, so I had to re-arrange a bit...oopsie!

I'm also not sure on how to machine quilt this bad boy yet, either...I was thinking stich-in-the-ditch would be easy, but now I'm hearing I should just stitch some loose waves...I'm leaning towards the waves...especially since these squares aren't lining up the way I want them to. Not bad for my first try, though...I mean, so far, so good. Now, I just need to finish it up. Too bad I'm starting to get addicted to this.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pretty Puppy Tarts

We took Bailey to a local canine cafe today to get him a special treat. This place has the cutest gourmet doggie sorbets, puppy petit fours, puppy tarts, and more.

Bailey picks his treat out...

...and we take it home so he can enjoy it

We also got some puppy training treats that the cafe bakes on site. They have a bakery downstairs of the shop and bake healthy dog treats with organic goods and other special ingrediants. The puppy training treats are especially healthy b/c they're so tiny, we'll be able to give Bailey lots of them while potty training him and working on other training tricks.

Something tells me we'll be back there soon!

Knit Caterpillar...Update

My knit caterpillar is growing and growing every day.

I'm hoping it will turn into a butterfly one day soon. What do you think?

Handmade Doggie Bed

I thought it would be a good idea to make Bailey a dog bed...even though we got one w/ the puppy kit we bought when we picked him up from the pet store. I figured it'd be a cinch...I could do a big square and stuff it with poly fill. No, even better, I could use a foam padding I have and do a poly-filled tube to sew on the padding. Well, my "simple" project kept me up past midnight sometime mid last week and then we decided not to use it that night. What?! Why did I work so hard to complete the project that night? Oh well. He seems to like it pretty well either way.

I started by sewing a rectangle a couple inches larger than the width/height. Then, I stuffed it with a foam piece I had in my stash.

I finished the rectangle part by sewing up the edge.

Next, I made a big tube and stuffed it with polyfill.

Then, I just had to sew the tube part onto the rectangle. I'm sure it looks nice from this not-too-up-close photo, but it's actually a bit of a mess. It was really hard to get the tube part under the sewing foot to be able to sew them together, and I'm sure I could have done something better to get the corners down, but I just kind folded and scrunched it and sewed over it. Hey, it works. lol.

Someone sure seems to be enjoying it and that's all that matters. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bailey Visits the Vet

We took our little trooper to his first vet visit today, and he did great! Luckily, I got a good recommendation on the vet clinic and everyone who worked there was super sweet to Bailey. They definitely did a great job of making him as comfortable as possibly while do his vaccines and other checkups. Thanks guys!

Waiting for the vet

Uh-oh...check-up time! I'm scared!

All done! Yay! Do I get a treat now?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the...Well, No Ugly Here

Here are a couple videos I took of our new corgi puppy this morning:

The Good

Just walking around - he doesn't like going down curbs just yet, but his legs will get bigger and it will be easier for him to get down. I think it's so cute how he walks with those short little legs of his!

The Bad

Chewing his leash - he doesn't know what "No" means yet, but we're working on it. We're also thinking of putting something on the leash to keep him from chewing it. Someone told me earlier today to soak it in tobasco sauce (not sure about that one) or that there may be a spray you can put on it. Maybe the spray is the same stuff they use to keep kids from sucking their thumb or biting their nails?

Anywho, we may have the good and the bad, but there's no ugly here!

NOTE: Movie image source not known - if you're the owner and object to it's use, please email me at shopaholicd at gmail dot com and I'll take it down.

Knitting a Caterpillar

Well, after two beginner knitting classes, I've managed to create this beautiful knit caterpillar:

Ok, so that's not true...I'm actually working on a scarf I saw in a craft magazine that I bought this weekend, but it does look kinda like a caterpillar, no?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Me Day? Not So Much...

Ok, so I know I promised that I would take a "Me Day" today since it's a bank holiday so I could work on that quilt kit, but how can you say no to these eyes?

So, yes, to answer the question you may be thinking, we got a Corgi puppy today! He's a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and he's absolutely adorable!

Ok, here's the scoop:
I've been trying to talk my SO into getting a dog for awhile now. My German Shepherd (RIP Teddy) died a couple years ago, but my SO has a dog at home, so it's been a tougher decision for him. Fiiiiiinally, this weekend, he told me that he was thinking about getting me a dog for Christmas. Good thing I'd been researching puppies for a few months now. Since we live in an apartment right now, we have to keep the dog's size under 30 lbs. So, I'd been looking into

Shiba Inus

and Corgis

Both are medium sized dogs that I would feel relatively safe walking around by myself (yea, I'm paranoid...especially about being mugged, and yes...even in my neighborhood). Both are smart and have good temperments. Both have a lot of qualities my SO and I were looking for in a dog. We also considered rescuing or adopting a dog and while it breaks my heart that we didn't get one, we feel like our new puppy sorta picked us. We visited a couple pet stores this weekend and saw a couple puppies we liked, but nothing that jumped out at us. But, today, when we found out there was a pet store 30 minutes away that was selling one puppy of each breed we were interested in, we knew we had to check it out. We were actually planning on visiting a couple shelters today, but they only do adoptions on weekends and we had already missed the Saturday boat. I'm still brainstorming other ways I can help out a pet organiziation, but back to the story...we got to the store this afternoon and immediately looked for the Corgi. He was in a circular bin that had an open top, so I leaned over to get a better look and the little Corgi puppy reached up and kissed my was a had to be, right? We asked to play with the puppy and instantly felt a connection. He was so bubbly and friendly and soft and cuddly...after roughly 20 minutes of play time, we knew he was coming home with us. We even got him on a Veteran's Day sale...who knew they did holiday sales for dogs? Anywho, to make a long story short, we and our new puppy picked each other out today and the rest will be history. Now, we just have to figure out a great name...we're thinking maybe Bailey or Duke, but we're not sure. We looked through a couple Welsh Names web sites, but nothing else has really jumped out at us. I'm sure we'll figure something out soon...can't wait!

NOTE: Shiba Inu and last Corgi photo found on the web - if you're the owner and object to its use, please email me at shopaholicd at gmail dot com and I'll take it down.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tomorrow I'm Taking a "Me Day"

I'm such a workaholic...most people are, really, I think. If they're not working too-long-days or too-long-weeks at work, they are full time mommies, or passionately putting in hours towards their own business(es) (or a combination of me...except for that mommy thing). For me, there's always something on my to-do list...just always sometime to do. I don't get as much fun time as I like. In fact, I like to think of myself as a crafty person, but while browsing through my blog posts lately, I've realized that I don't make much craft stuff. Not nearly as much as I'd like to...or think I do, really. Even my extra holidays (bank holidays) are spent running errands and what not. Well, not tomorrow! Tomorrow I'm taking a "Me Day." Tomorrow, I'm not going to worry about what I should do...I'm going to do whatever I feel like doing. I'm planning to make my first quilt. And what better way to make my first quilt than to start with this lovely quilt kit:

I got this from Kelly McCaleb on Etsy - click here

Wish me luck!

Comfort Food: Pot Roast & Molasses Cookies

I don't know what's with me lately, but with all this cold weather, I've really been getting into comfort food lately. Today, I knew I'd have a full day - brunch with the girls, bead show shopping (this always takes a few hours, no matter how hard I try to zip through), and then jewelry making so I'll have some new creations just in time for Christmas. I decided to do a simple, yet tasty pot roast

I've also been itching to make these molasses cookies I saw on one of my Martha Stewart DVDs - Martha's Favorite Cookies

I've been collecting the ingrediants for the recipe for a couple weeks now, bit by bit...I never made a list, so I kept forgetting a couple ingrediants here and there.

Sift the dry ingrediants, then add the wet ingrediants.

Mix and add rolled oats

Use an ice cream scoop to form balls - this is a dry dough, so I recommend patting the dough into the scoop to firm it up a bit. Dip a cup into sugar and flatten each cookie.

Bake, cool, and enjoy!

Now, which Martha Stewart cookie to make next? Hmmm...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sew Pretty Tote

After seeing some cute sewing craftiness over at Thrifty Goodness, I was inspired to purchase the book she said she used for her creations, called Sew Pretty Homestyle. I've been really inspired by sewing books lately that have simple ideas for projects - especially the ones that don't require patterns. If they start out with squares, that just makes my life easier...I'm sure patterns aren't hard, but cutting out squares is just less complicated and intimidating for me, the beginner sewer. I the only one who thinks that the word "sewer" (as in one who sews) is too easily confused with the other word "sewer," which refers to something entirely different? Turns out that they're spelled the same, but I'm a person who sews...not something that carries off sewage...ick. But, I digress...back to the project! I've finally made something cute that I can actually use!

First, I had to pick my project. This was easy because I instantly fell in love with the tote on the front of the book, so that left me only having to pick out fabric. I didn't actually use all of these fabrics, but maybe I'll use them on my next one?

Using a dinner place to mark the curved corners

Sewing on the curve wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. After slowly going around the first one, I thought, problem. I learned, however, that I need to work on that curve thing a bit more, because I tried zipping along the second curve and it wasn't quite as on-the-line as the!

Isn't turning the fabric a funny thing? For a few moments there, it just looks like a gigantic blog of nothing.

Ok, almost there...

One handle hand-sewed to go...

All done...what do you think?

Hanging out on the door...get it? Hanging? Har har har...

The best part of this project is I had a purpose in mind when I made this. I finished my project just in time to use it for my first knitting class! Woohoo! I figured, if I went to the knitting class and I was terrible, I could just hold up my bag and say, hey...I may not be able to knit, but I can make something...see! I made this this weekend! lol