Monthly Archives: December 2010

sew much to learn!

well this christmas break has been one of much needed rest, time with family, and fun with some new crafting. i wanted to give you all some updates on a few things before the new year…

first of all, i hope each of you had a very, merry christmas with your families, friends, and loved ones. my family had a pretty quite christmas day together with my grandparents. started off with a delicious breakfast lasagna (dad says calories don’t exist on christmas- gosh i wish that was true!), opened a few gifts, shared a few laughs, and ended with pj’s still on and “a christmas story” marathon. my sister and i did manage to find an ugly tree 2 days before christmas. check it our for yourself:

apparently this type of tree (a silver-something?) is grown near lake shasta and people either love it or hate it. we loved it. we knew this is how the tree is supposed to look, and we thought is was pretty ugly- therefore is was perfect. this getting-an-ugly-tree-last-mintue thing is turning into quite the tradition in our family. we’ll see how it continues to be carried out over the years :)

next, i have started sewing!! my grandma (aka sewing instructor) has been ever so patient with me and my little machine. we (more so my grandma than myself) figured out how to wind the bobbin and thread the machine. and then i had the chance to practice sewing. my lines were crooked and terrible! but it was fun :) i played around with my decorative stitching and all the fun designs. here’s my machine!

i bought a sewing book by amy butler. it might be a little advanced for me, but i’m taking it all one step at a time. i finished my first project from the book. i made a potholder… ha, it’s kind of a lame first project, but i thought it would be a good place to start- lots of straight lines. here’s the finished product:

it came out pretty nice. i didn’t love hand-stiching the back side of the bias (the colorful stripped part, around the edge) so it might be a while until i make another potholder. but my grandma tells me i’ll need to make at least one more to have a pair. but now that this first one is finished, i don’t think the others will be too complicated.

i’m anxious to continue sewing. i’m just not sure what exactly to make. i’m realizing that i am definitely a beginner and i might need to take it a little slower than i thought. i think my next project will be the scrabble letter pillows… my grandma says that pillow covers are a lot easier than potholders :) i’ll keep you posted as the projects continue.

well, my dad and my sister have been working on some new year’s eve gumbo. the house is filled with delicious cajun smells and warm sourdough bread. i think i’m in heaven. celebrating the new year with some friends tonight. i can’t believe 2010 is coming to an end! i’m looking forward to another year of learning and growing, celebrating and continuing to show up to the here and now.

the lovely kristin ritzau wrote a great piece on expectations going into the new year. i love her writing, storytelling, and hearing her thoughts as she goes about her life. in trying to write about her post, i find myself stumbling over words and not knowing how to say what i want to say- so i’ll stop. and let you read the article for yourself… enjoy.

be safe and happy new year!


*next post- a reflection on 2010… and a happy 1 year to “this adventure called life”!! :)


trader joe’s bag: part 1

well, this all started off as a bit of a joke… but as time went on, i thought this was actually a pretty fun idea! i’m starting a “mini-series” (if you will) on the things you can do with a trader joe’s bag. after all, it says right on the bag: “reusable and recyclable”. these great, sturdy bags have come in handy for numerous things lately. and i thought i should share with you!

the first DIY: a christmas card! the bags have been re-designed for the winter season and i love all the doodles and pictures on them. since i love paper and hand-making things, i thought- instead of buying a bunch of christmas paper for cards, i’m going to buy one set of christmas diecut embellishments, use the bags, and some other paper/embellishments i have sitting around. so today i present to you… my trader joes christmas cards :)

this look familiar??

here’s the side of the bag!


and the final product…

well, what do you think? not too shabby, huh? the back side of the cards still have some of the trader joe’s logo and stuff on them. but that just lets people know that they are truly handmade and recycled :) these cards are pretty quick and easy to make. so if you don’t have a lot of time or maybe you need to deliver a “belated” christmas card- try one of these! they would be great with a plate of homemade cookies or tied on top of a little gift box…

one last look…


christmas is in three days! holy smokes!!! i’ve got a few gifts to wrap… oh, and a christmas tree to get! my family’s house doesn’t quite match the christmas spirit of the house my roommates and i live in :) my family has come up with this tradition in which my sister and i get a tree a few days before christmas. last year we got a “charlie brown tree” and are hoping to do the same this year. our motto- go ugly or go home. so we’ll see what we can find and muster up before christmas morning. i’ll keep you posted!

well, this is probably it before the big day- so MERRY CHRISTMAS!! may love, peace, and joy be with you and your family this season…


*next post: my first sewing lesson :)

Wrapping and Sewing!

ahhh, i continue soaking up all the goodness of this lovely Christmas season. my roommates and i are having a little gift exchange on sunday and we’re all so giddy about our time together. our Christmas tree has been a hit! all our visitors love it, and i must admit- walking down the stairs every morning to the glorious smell of the tree is just so wonderful.

speaking of gifts, i have always loved the wrapping part. i remember one year i wrapped ALL the presents for my family. maybe that’s where my love for paper began… but Christmas is just another opportunity to get creative with packaging. i have not wrapped a single thing yet this year, so i have nothing of my own to show. but here are a few images with amazing ideas:

via birch and bird

via cakies, check out that happytape!

you HAVE to check out the post on design sponge! they have a great section on wrapping…


well, today i also wanted to share my exciting news- my latest crafting tool… a sewing machine!! :) :)

it was shipped to my parents house in northern california, so i haven’t had the chance to use it yet. but i am so anxious to get home and get sewing (and see my family, of course)! i have been brainstorming all of the things that i’d like to sew! here’s a few ideas:

via bedbuggs

via sewingwithme3

via shopdirtsa

via dottieangel

and i’d like to make curtains, stitch on paper, make seat cushions- oh the possibilities are endless!! i am just so excited! i don’t know how to sew, so i have A LOT to learn! any of you sewing pro’s- i’m open to any and all advice. my grandma and my aunt are both very talented, so i hope to learn from both of them. i also am looking forward to browsing around barnes and noble for an instructional book. i will keep you posted as the projects come along… it might be a rough start, but i’m looking forward to a new crafting challenge :)

8 days until Christmas!

*next up- creative, last minute, DIY christmas cards!

christmas time is here!!!

i can’t believe that Christmas is 12 days away! WOW! i think this 85 degree weather is making it a little difficult to believe that it’s December… but i won’t be fooled, the joyous season has arrived!

i wanted to update you on our little house decorations :) i am so proud and honored to live with such creative women. our decorations were a collaboration of all our minds together and everything turned out beautifully! each one of us had a vision to do something and all of it combined together just makes our house that much more wonderful. we started out with a fun-filled “Christmas Day”, as we called it. we ran to errands to make sure we had all the necessary items to make our home feel like Christmas. this included purchasing a tree- just the four of us girls :) it was comical and overwhelming and amazing.

then, the decorating fun began!

our tree turned out so lovely. we wrapped it with lights, raffia, and wooden garland beads. we decorated with lots of ornaments we’ve collected over the past few months. one of my roommates created the most adorable ornaments with some chalkboard paint. and we had these little pearl things (i really don’t know how else to describe them!) that were part of a floral arrangement we received last year, so we placed those sporadically on the tree- i have to admit, it’s one of my favorite parts. our tree somehow got the name Piper and we all talk about how great he smells and how happy he makes our home.


okay, on to a couple crafts… i finally got a hold of some baker’s twine. and i love it! i wanted to make a banner similar to the one i made for thanksgiving. i had some extravagant plans for this banner with gold stamps and embossing- but in the CRAZINESS of the end of the semester i only managed to find a little time for this simple one. doesn’t mean i can’t spice it up later though!

i also was able to grab these cut off tree stumps when we got our tree. i’m still trying to figure out exactly what i want to do with them, but i think they look so neat!

i came up with this for now. they’re almost like little coasters :) and gotta love those mason jars! not 100% sure how i feel about the doilies and twine… i think i like them, but i’m wondering what they would look like with a few of the christmas tree stems or maybe some holly leaves? it’s safe to say i’m definitely still playing around with them :)

well, i am exhausted… these past few weeks have been so long and so busy. i will do my best to post again in the next week, my projects and ideas for the season aren’t quite finished. especially because there are still presents to wrap!! but for now, enjoy a peppermint mocha, Ella Fitzgerald’s Christmas cd, and some dancing Christmas lights! it’s a beautiful season :)


*next post… my latest crafting tool. or machine, rather :) stay tuned!

hope in the advent season

i really felt the need to write all this in a separate post, as it was unfitting with the last… but i spent some time art journaling and listening to worship music tonight and was feeling so heavy thinking about situations of dear friends. i spent some time in prayer, and as tears fell and my heart ached, i found myself thanking God for His faithfulness. times are really tough for a lot of loved ones in my life- but i believe with my whole heart that God is in control. i believe that nothing is impossible and nothing is too hard for Him.

this song by Tommy Walker has been one of comfort and one that has brought me to my knees. i pray that these words meet you where you’re at. download the song on itunes or listen to it on youtube, but please listen to it. it’s amazing.

Lord I run to You
No one else will do
Lord in troubled times I will run straight to You
Though my heart and flesh may fail
You’re my very present help
My tower of strength
My portion evermore

Lord I run to You
No one else will do
Lord You said we’d face trouble pain and fears
But to be of good cheer be of good cheer
For You have overcome overcome the world

I lift my eyes up to the mountains
Where does my help come from
It comes from You Lord
You are the Maker of earth and Heaven
And there is nothing that’s too hard for You


i got to thinking and reflecting on the advent season we are entering into. this is the season of Christ’s coming. and He came to bring HOPE. in this first week of advent, we are reminded of that. God did not have it easy coming into this world. but His coming meant hope for every single one of us.

and while times are more challenging than we could ever imagine, i pray that we would all cling to the hope of Christ. He absolutely loves and adores you. as it says in Ephesians 3, His love is longer, wider, deeper, and higher than we can fathom. i pray that you can grasp that love- a love that surpasses knowledge. and that you are strengthened in your inner being by His power and Spirit. God is in control. nothing is impossible for Him. and He LOVES you more than words can describe. may His Spirit dwell in you and bring whatever it is that you need deep in your soul. amen.

it’s december!

wow, it’s really here! i can’t believe we are now in the last month of 2010… what a year it’s been!

i wanted to start off with a planner update for the lovely month of december!

as i was drawing in more lines in my planner, my roommates were reminding me of how crazy i am to be hand-making this thing. and i have to agree with them. this project has been tedious, but it was something that i wanted to do and something that i am still determined to finish. although, i will admit- i have already decided what i’m going to do in NEXT year’s planner. and it does not require me hand-drawing lines :)

so, i also wanted to tell you that i finally bought some happytape!! it is beautiful and lovely and i am so excited to have it! i only bought a black set and a white set, because quite honestly i could not decide on what colors to get! i just want them all!! it’s bad. i also went to michael’s today and found some awesome stamps. all their stamps were 40% off and i stood in that aisle for a good 10-15 minutes. here’s a picture of the beautiful new things that i’m adding to my collection of art/craft supplies…

just an fyi- i’m pretty much obsessed with the mason jar stamp… i can’t wait to think of more things to create with it!

another great purchase- gift wrapping paper from anthropologie!

and next on my list…

i used the paper in my planner and also in my art journal. not sure if i’ll really use it to wrap gifts, but we’ll see! that time sure is getting closer! and as for the bakers’ twine- i have a number of ideas :) i think i’m going to have to get over to anthro this weekend…

well, my roommates and i are decorating our sweet little home on sunday. we are getting a REAL tree! and i know each one of us have some ideas of what we’d like to do. i will most definitely keep you all updated on that. that’s it for now!