Tuesday, December 30

Holidaze

This year flew by and the last month did especially. Since I've been on an unplanned haitus for the past few weeks, I thought I'd prove pictorally that I haven't actually been lazing about wasting my life away...
Although I'd love to claim this as mine own, this festive table belongs to a work-friend who graciously hosted a few of us for one delightfully Christmasy evening...
Everyone I've talked to in the working world was in the same dilemma this year--how to have fun for the holidays with less than half the budget you were allocated in years prior. At my work, we scrapped the catered luncheon and did the cooking ourselves. We also broke into teams for a table decorating contest. Above was our table--a Woodsy Winter Wonderland. Below, some colleagues who put together a perfectly pitiful Charlie Brown Christmas. The variety was great and it was fun to check out everyone's style...
Next up...

...was eating fudge at a Poinsettia Bowl tail gate party (this is my dad). Then it was off to see some family for Christmas were we played Apples to Apples. I love games that help you get to know people in some way...it was fun! Also, my Grandmother and I learned to knit (but we won't be showing any photos of that at this point in our game, right Grammie?!)
On our way back, we stopped in LA for lunch at Lucques which was amazing and therefore I take back everything I once said... We also checked out the new Heath store, stumbled on IGE (a new favorite) and ended the day at The Grove, and more importantly, the original Farmer's Market at which Monsieur Marcel was my favorite shop. I took way too many pictures of chairs...here's just one...
So that's about it (out of the norm at least)...

Wednesday, December 24

Ho Ho Ho

Brett and I went to visit Santa last week. Since this Santa is my boss, does that mean I'm an elf? Hope yours is Merry!

Sunday, December 21

Sew Mama Sew

What was I thinking making a list of handmade holiday projects? Next year I'll just point you to Sew Mama Sew's amazing collection! Happy last minute-ing!

Sunday, December 14

Handmade Holidays v.6

for the Mama.
What Mama doesn't love to have her kids make her presies? While this list may not equal the treasures created in your childhood, a handmade gift is certain to delight once again!


Kleenex Case from Skip to my Lou

Saturday, December 6

Handmade Holidays v.5

for the sisterfriend.

Otherwise known as your creative guinea pig or cheerleader, the sisterfriend is the most fun to delight and impress. I'm not sure if sisterfriend is an actual word, or a term coined by my girlfriend Kara to somehow describe the bond you can feel with your sister, or a good girlfriend—but I love it and am so lucky to have so many amazing sisterfriends! Who needs Anthropologie when you can make something from this line up?



Kitchen Set

Snow Mum Pillow from Amy Butler
(I am dying to make this one in some funky dahlia-ish print!)

LinkIrish Hiking Scarf and Armwarmers Set
found via Ravelry

Thursday, December 4

Handmade Holidays v.4

for the kiddo.
The lunch bag.
I saw some cute oil cloth lunch bags at a trendy kitchen store, fell in love, and gasped at the price-tag. Instead, the crafty in me decided I'd better try to recreate it myself and was ecstatic to find so many free patterns online.

No pincushions were used in the making of this lunch bag! Using the only clothes pin I had to keep it all together...

I made this simple pattern from Skip to My Lou—and it is adorable. Unfortunately, my old machine did not like the oilcloth (yes Mom, I even used the right kind of needle!). Laying tissue paper over the oilcloth and sewing it that way, as suggested in this Sew Mama Sew article, helped a lot but it was still kind of tricky. Still, I fully recommend this project and pattern. Other lunch bag patterns are available at Spool Sewing (this one comes in a kit which is awesome) or at Tumbling Blocks (this one is insulated for you over-achivers). If you don't have oilcloth at some of your local stores, Repo Depot Fabric has a great selection.

This is my favorite oilcloth of all time...

Another great kiddo gift is a hooded towel. Remember when the only thing that would get you out of the tub was wearing your hooded towel like a cape? I'd love to share this thrill with the kids I love. And, what is cuter than a little frog or duck towel? This one is simple enough to dissolve any excuse—super cute and super easy and you can make it with any towel. This pattern isn't free (which, as you've probably noticed is my goal) but has great variety for some of you grandmas who have multiple kiddos to delight!

Wednesday, December 3

In the "To Make Queue"

photo via thisisloveforever on flickr
I want this. So I need this. Found via these cool chicks. More about Kayte Terry here. By the way, Twilight was so last week, re-purposing clothes is my new craze...

Tuesday, December 2

Handmade Holidays v.3

for the Sweetooth.
(Image from Martha Stewart--see link below)

Giving handmade doesn't always require needle and thread (although I guess we usually call it homemade). Some of my favorite holiday memories were a time when I worked for a restaurant in Napa Valley. My heart was always warmed by the generosity of my co-workers. Most of us were living paycheck to paycheck, yet everyone made little gifts to pass around. I would come home from work loaded down with honeys, jams, quince membrillo, cookies, cakes--all kinds of special treats. I always think about that this time of year and wanted to do a little round up of packaging...
Paper Loaf Pans & Patisserie Cups from Sur la Table.
Monogrammed Candy Gift Boxes from Williams-Sonoma.
Chocolate Boxes from Martha Stewart.

Not quite sure what to bake and make? If you feel like trying something new, check out many ideas from Martha, Pumpkin Bread from Lena, Pinenut Rosemary Shortbread or many other ideas from Heidi, and of course Clotilde has lots of things.

Monday, December 1

Pork Shoulder Braised in Hard Cider with Leeks, Parsnips & Celery Root

This time of year I love cooking with celery root--it has such a great fally-winterish flavor. I made this dish yesterday and it was such a nice contrast to our Thanksgiving feast and leftovers. I didn't take any photos, because frankly, I haven't quite mastered the art of cooking, food styling, shooting photography, setting the table and feeding The Boy a warm meal yet. Besides, who can compete with the team at Martha Stewart?
This recipe is an excerpt from Martha's new book that I found in a Living magazine (I can't remember if it was the November or October issue). The magazine article had a lot of great photographs which I couldn't find online, but perhaps they're in the book and if not, here is the video.

I recommend trying this recipe--of course it will takes hours, but it's actually easy, and it's very gratifying to make a wholesome and aromatic meal on a cold, dark night. I found it to be totally worth the commitment.

Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who responded to our little survey--it was fun to see what our friends and fellow bloggers are up to in the kitchen and in the craft room. Congratulations to lucky No. 9, Kristin, for winning the pear pincushion hand-made by Jamie. I'm not sure which of these she'll be sending to you, but please email us your address and she'll surprise you soon!