Wednesday, December 31, 2008


One final post before 2009. I woke up this morning to a beautiful misty fog. I flipped on my fog lights and drove to the market at 645 this morning for a few last minute purchases before tonight's big party. Have I told you before how much I love the beachy fog? Well I do. When we moved to California three years ago, from Arizona, I was so thrilled to have some real weather; foggy, misty weather. I hope that the new year brings us things we love. So here's to a wonderful 2009, full of the things that you love....even if it is something as menial as fog.

Positive Report

Positive report for the whole Christmas "thing." Christmas eve we went to Ruby's diner and ice skating up in Palos Verdes with our good friends, the Kirts. Did some last minute shopping and then it was time for white bean turkey chili and chocolate chip cookie baking for the big guy. Off to bed for a fitful sleep, before awaking to presents galore, excited little boys, funny dog and sleepy eyed parents.

Christmas dinner was an Argentine dish called "Matambre," which I believe means "to kill the hunger." Flank steak that is butterflied and filled with blanched carrots, fresh spinach, provolone, Italian sausage and roasted red peppers...then roasted and sliced. Ta Da! It was really great.

I goofed and didn't capture EVERY handmade gift that I made and gave this year. Here is ONE that I made for my sweetie. I knit him this ribbed beanie in dark brown Blue Sky cotton yarn. I wrote a little poem to go with it.

Dear hat keep him warm.
Keep him safe in the storm.
He is my tap & drum.
He is my peek-y bum.

Dear hat keep him sweet.
Keep him “vested” complete.
He’s my owl late at night.
He’s my snuggle up tight.

Dear hat keep him strong.
Keep from working too long.
He’s my bathroom serenade.
He’s my new nickname made.

Dear hat keep him strange.
Keep him wonderfully deranged.
He’s my dance on the bed.
He’s the odd voice in my head.

Dear hat keep him smelly.
Keep him cologne, mouthwash, gel-y.
He’s my water un-plain.
He’s my gummy insane.

Dear hat keep him thinking.
Keep him big feet so stinking.
He’s my facial hair change.
He’s my laundry to hang.

Dear hat keep him moving.
Keep him musically grooving.
He’s my leg always shaking.
He’s my low-cut sock taking.

Dear hat keep him real.
Keep him where I can feel.
He’s my lover and friend.
He’s my beginning, my end.

Dear hat keep him warm.

I hope that your Christmas was wonderful. I hope that sentiment won over commercialism and I hope that you are revving up for a great year in 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sugar Rush

Prepare for a sugar rush. I promised more pics of homemade treats from this Christmas season and here is the first installment. This lot of pics is mostly goodies (with the exception of the Advent), but next time I will post some great handmade products. I have two days to finish crafting and I am both excited and feeling the pressure of time constraint. It's all going to be grand, of course! No stress!

This little make-shift clothesline was our Advent calendar this year. I simply took a length of turquoise satin ribbon and strung it on my sweet 50's "slat window" that separates the front room from the kitchen/tv room. I used safety pins to secure different little containers for the goodies and I printed numbers on turquoise cardstock. After the Christmas cards started pouring in (thanks so much to all who sent them, they're wonderful...ours are coming...had to send it two batches...envelope shortage) I simply pulled out the handy dandy clothespins and secured the cards on our line. Viola!

It's all about the packaging! Well....not really, I do like to open a pretty package to find something delectable inside, but I also REALLY appreciate some good packaging. I snagged the tins at Michael's and Big Lots. I picked up the red boxes at Walmart (of all places) in the craft section. It is a Martha product and I think they were so perfect, with their little compartments and polka-dot tissue paper. Thank you Martha, thank you.

Spiced Mango Chutney and Cumin Buttermilk Crackers to be sent to my diabetic daddy!

Time for candy! Pull out your trusty thermometer and watch it carefully!

Aunt Dani's hard tack candy. This year I let the boys choose the flavors. We got bubble gum, root beer, peppermint, orange creme, lemon and strawberry. Delicious!

Hard and salty sweet golden caramel chews. These are to die for!

Classic sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting and festive sprinkles (for Cole's class).

Iced gingerbread snowmen (again for Cole's class).

The French Yule log, Buche de Noel. White sponge cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Isn't it grand. It turned out so well. This was also for Cole's class, they did a Christmas around the world and I volunteered to do most of the baking.

Merry Christmas to everyone, bless you and your families with good health and homemade goodies. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For Jenn

Jenn put in a request tonight, so disregard this post...unless you are desperate for a quick read....

This is a Cub Scout project that I had the cubs do for their moms. It is a VERY easy project, but I have found, in my year as the den leader, that the easier the better for this age of boys! Attention time is limited. We used yellow grosgrain ribbon, safety pins (found in the bead section at Joann's), and blue beads. The boys put the beads on the safety pin, cut the ribbon and pinned the beaded pin to fasten the "necklace" together. This will be used as a gift for each Cub Scout's mother, for a place to pin all those great awards we get as mothers when our cubs earn their badges. A few pics:

The boys also made a little gift box to put this in by cutting and Mod Podge-ing cool wrapping papers onto cute little boxes. They loved that...sticky and dirty.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Christmas!

Yeah! It is Christmas! I am so happy that it is cold and winter-y. I am so happy that there are Santa Claus's all over the place, lending their laps and "ho, ho, ho's" to us for the season. I am so happy that it is acceptable to make a baked goody every single day and nobody thinks you're an addict to sugar (did I just confess?!). I am so happy to send and receive adorable cards in the mail. I am so happy to attend multiple Christmas parties. I am so happy to get presents for those I love and to find boxes of unknown treasure on my doorstep (thank you my sweet UPS Santa). I hope that you are all just as happy as I am about this whole wonderful, sweet, holiday that is upon us! Yeah! It's Christmas!

My handmade wreath. Delicious spice drops, toothpicks, a floral wreath form, floral wire and satin ribbon. Ta Da!

See how Christmas-y it is! Can you see the decorated tree in the background? Ignore the sunshine, sunglasses, short sleeves and frozen yogurt in my hand. It is Christmas!

Ewan standing in line to visit with Santa in Manhattan Village Shopping Center. He was so excited and did smashingly, even posing for an adorable photo that I couldn't resist buying. iSanta. Ewan was mesmerized by this Santa in the Apple store window display. Can't blame him, it is pretty cool.

Chocolate Santa. Had to get one at Godiva. Hollow and smooth. He is my favorite Santa of all!

Our Police Department strolls Santa and his helpers through each street, playing Christmas carols and letting all the kids take a picture with Santa. He gave them a candy cane and told them to continue to be good. Cole and Ewan were in the bath (of course) and ran outside in towels as I chased them down with pajamas. By the time he got there they were dressed and waiting. I should get the "dressing-wet-kids-in pajamas-at-the-speed-of=light" award.

The first of many handmade goodies. These are my grandmother's orange cookies. They are my favorite and I only make them around Christmas time. The cookie is delicate and cakey, but not too sweet and the icing is flecked with orange zest and just melts in your mouth!

My sweet friend, Susan, is a makeup artist and graciously came over to "doll" me up for my husband's work Holiday party at the Glow Lounge in Marina del Rey. It was so nice of her and it made me feel like a million bucks! Who knew a little makeup could do such wonders?!

Tim and I got a sitter and spent an evening out. The Glow Lounge was beautiful, the food was delish and getting to be with my husband was wonderful. I got my bronze party dress at Shabby Apple and that amazing sweater at Anthropologie.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One of Many

Here is the first post of many that will be displaying some of my handmade Christmas gifts. This hat was made for my dear friend, Holly, for her birthday (the 17th). It was made with soft, wool-blend yarn that my back-tack partner sent me from her fab yarn shop. I crocheted the hat in a shell stitch. Then I added a few crocheted flowers on the side, for flare!

Psst...I used the same pattern to make one for Jodi for Christmas. She got it and loves it! So...when you see her around town, looking gorgeous in her white cap, you'll know where to order one for yourself.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

In the Strangest Places

Steeping a cup of herbal tea, I stumbled upon a wonderful sentiment. On the box.

" is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us." - Isaac D'Israeli

I'm thinking that will be my motto for 2009. What will yours be?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Highly Recommended

I recently was part of a swap. Let me explain. I frequent some fantastic crafting blogs and found out about a "swap" called "back tack." You sign up, promise you will do it and do it well, they assign you a partner, you create wonderful things to send to them (and they to you), you mail it by the deadline, you post pictures of it on Flickr. That's it. The theme for this swap was Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. It was so much fun and I really lucked out getting an unbelievable partner. Here is what I made to send her way:
For the Gold gift, I made a memory board with vintage gold buttons and sparkly gold handmade cards.
For the Frankincense gift I made Alfajores de Dulce de Leche (the most delicious cookie ever invented...think shortbread with caramel center...mmmm) and packaged them in a vintage tin.
For the Myrrh gift I hand knit and felted a bowl and make three ornaments (one for each member of her family). I sincerely hope she liked it!

She did me a great service and I received the most wonderful package on my doorstep as well. In fact, I think that I will go to bed now and write a small blurb in the moleskin journal (that is gently surrounded by felt o-so-delicately), as I sip a warm cup of spicy hot cocoa, followed by a much needed rest for my tired eyes; under a wonderfully pampering eye pillow. All these luxuries made possible by the wonderful back tack swap and my generous partner (I didn't even mention the two skeins of yarn, handmade ornament AND felted stone). Thank you Cate! Life is great!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Crafty Crow

Have kids? Check out this site for some fantastic ideas.