2 Comments

Christmas 2012 Recap

I am so proud of myself! I just realized that I had remembered to “lock” some photos to my camera before I downloaded and deleted the memory card in Colorado! I had transferred them to an SD card, but they weren’t there when I got home. Luckily, copies are still on my father-in-law’s computer, and he will send me a CD. Until then, I still have some of my favorites!

I often think how Chloe and Leo have no idea how lucky they are. After all, Santa and Mrs. Claus have come to visit them at their grandparent’s house for two years in a row. Can you imagine?! You can see Chloe’s expression when they came to the door here (if there is a next time, I’ll have to get it on video!). Leo, naturally, wasn’t quite as enthusiastic. However, it was great fun, and that night we had an amazing Osso Bucco dinner made by Grandma Sandy. And, as if on cue, we were surprised by the biggest group of neighborhood carolers I have ever seen later that night!

We also did some other fun “firsts” during our week in Colorado, including attending the children’s Christmas mass at the local Catholic church, had a very exciting visit to the North Pole Santa’s Workshop, a storybook-like theme park not far from Colorado Springs, AND went on our very first horse-drawn sleigh ride! Wow! It was crazy to get to play in the snow and go sledding one day and then turn around and hop a flight to Cancun the next.

It is tempting to think the rest of this year will be very boring in comparison, but somehow, I don’t think so…

More photos from this trip are on Flickr.


Leave a comment

Christmas (Yuletide) Camellia

20121208-163043.jpg

Our christmas camellia is beginning to bloom! Must mean we’re getting closer to the big day! This is our first winter with this little bush – we bought it at a local nursery this summer for its glossy evergreen leaves. But seeing the little red beauties with their bright gold stamens pop open at this unexpected time of year is really a treat! Now I wish I had chosen one twice as big! Wouldn’t it be nice to someday dress a holiday table with fresh cuttings straight from the yard? Such a neat way to add to the holiday magic. 🙂

 


2 Comments

Christmas Recap

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

We are spending the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa in Colorado. Sadly, there is no snow to be seen this week, but we did get an incredible surprise visit from Santa on Christmas Day. I’m actually not sure who was more shocked, Chloe and her cousin Paolo, or us parents. Although Chloe has seen pictures of Santa, and waved to him briefly during a short trip to the mall, she was still a little wary and didn’t want to leave the safety of daddy’s arms. Maybe next year. However, both kids made out like bandits in the gift department, including books and much desired Lego sets.

Christmas dinner was also a real treat – Roast pheasant and quail with apricots and dates (caught earlier in the hunting season by Grandpa) and prepared by Grandma Sandy and Chloe’s Aunt Liza, along with wild rice, toasted parmesean bread and procuitto-wrapped asparagus and gruyere. Dessert was freshly made chocolate peanut butter balls using Chloe’s Great Grandma Vera’s family recipe. Certainly a holiday meal to remember!


7 Comments

Free Holiday Gift Tags – Updated Colors

I was hoping to make a brand new set of gift tags to give away this year, but time just seems to be slipping away! Instead, please enjoy this updated color set, or feel free to download the original color set. Why buy tags when you can download and print them for free?!

Also, the following downloads are still available from previous years:

……

Holiday Gift Checklist 2007 / Happy Holidays Card / Printable Snowflake Giftwrap

…

Holiday Gift Tags / Holiday Cheer Board Game / From Me to You for the Holidays

…

Little Bird Notecard Set / Snowflake Placecards


1 Comment

Summation, Holiday 2007


With David (foreground), Aundrea (hidden) and Andrew at Breckenridge

I can hardly believe that it is the first week of 2008 already. Now that things are calming down I feel like I finally have a chance to think, and reflect. The past few weeks have just been so crazy/wonderful. I started receiving a busy stream of freelance work around the end of November, then we celebrated David’s birthday the second week of December in Las Vegas/ Death Valley, on the third week we left for almost a two week visit in Colorado with David’s family over Christmas and New Year’s and the past couple of days have been spent wildly catching up on all the freelance work. I feel like I am just now able to take a full breath after all that excitement!

I didn’t write a lot about the holidays, too busy enjoying each and every day I guess. Although I didn’t get to spend it with my own parents and sister, spending time with David’s family was really great. I feel very lucky to be able to say that. I didn’t miss grey and rainy Portland hardly at all. Yes, it was super cold, but there was snow, too. Lovely, white, sparkling snow tempered with lots of sun and blue skies.

David and Paolo
David and nephew Paolo (love that chicken hat!) on the 4-wheeler.
Old Colorado City
A quick stop through charming Old Colorado City

Christmas gifts this year were simply astounding. Lots of precious handmade items along with amazingly thoughtful and useful ones. I really hope the recipients of our presents (many handmade, some purchased) felt the same. I wish I had thought to photograph some of those things, but that’s okay. Actually, if I had the time, I’d catalogue each and every thing I received. Seriously. I feel like each item holds that much specialness. It’s a good thing that I’ll never expect to have another Christmas exactly like this one.

Am I starting to sound a little gushy? I can’t help it. It’s really how I feel. Each day was an adventure. And lest I forget, a short list includes: attending mass, snowboarding at Breckenridge, watching butterflies, spotting deer, eating delicious meals, enjoying the snow, watching indoor skydiving, learning to knit hats, driving the 4-wheeler, driving a brand new Honda Civic, sewing my first slippers, cooking a soufflé, seeing fireworks on Pike’s Peak, making cookies, watching movies (notably Ratatouille and Surf’s Up), playing games, reading (Kite Runner), and so much more.


Sunset over the mountains

At this moment, I feel completely blessed. And reminds me of a saying in one of our new gifts, a 2008 calendar with photos of the family (including pets!) along with dates for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions given to us by David’s brother, Andrew, and his fiancée Aundrea:

“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.” -Democritus


4 Comments

Free Holiday Cheer Board Game

Holiday Cheer Game

Holiday Cheer Board Game – download free pdf here

A couple of weeks ago while I was shopping at Michael’s I made several spur of the moment holiday purchases, including 2 foamy-style rubber-stamp blocks and 3 packages of epoxy stickers. I have no idea what made me pick these items up because I don’t stamp, or use stickers (much). There was just something pretty and tactile about them that made reach out and place them on the check stand. (Actually, I was just going to buy one stamp, but it didn’t have a sku tag, so the checkout girl asked if I could grab another. Then I heard myself saying “I’ll just take that one, too”). Thank goodness they didn’t cost much!

So I’ve had these foamy stamp blocks on my desk for a while now. David asked me why I bought them and I guiltily mumbled something about probably returning them, or using them for… something. Later, I found myself tossing one around and noticing how it bounced merrily before settling. Then I thought Eureka! I could design a holiday game for my nephew with it! (Okay, so I didn’t say Eureka!, but that word perfectly described how I felt. As in: Whew! If I can make something useful/fun, then I can be excused for making an impulse buy. After all, it must have been fate at work that day, right?).

This picture is misleading. These are the two stamps I bought, but only one is used for the game.

How to Play: Here was my thought process. The foamy stamp block would work like a die that you roll (there is a snowman side, a snowflake side, a kid’s face, the words “Let it Snow,” and two blank sides). Whatever lands face up is the icon that you’d move your game piece forward to on the board. Sounds pretty easy right? The only kicker is that when you roll a blank side you lose that turn and don’t get to move forward. I designed the whole game board with this idea in mind.

I should mention here that I don’t know anything about three and a half year old boys, or any kids at all for that matter (although two of my good friends are now expecting!). Paolo, our nephew, lives in Austin and we rarely see him. I could be totally wrong about skills at that age or his interest in something like this. However, the other night when I explained this game to Marcy, she said it sounded like Candyland, which I looked up and is rated for ages 3+, which is perfect.

To make a long story short, you can download my Holiday Cheer Game here. It’s pretty large, with a full size of 17 x 22″ so it has to be printed out (or tiled) in four sections if you’re printing it out on regular letter-sized paper, like I did. Then I pasted the sheets to a larger piece of thin cardstock for durability/foldability.

Playing Cards: Unless you happen to find the same stamp block at Michael’s, the best way to play is to print out a second set of pages and cut out the squares from the game board to use as cards. Instead of rolling a die, you would set the stack of “cards” face down and each player would draw a card and then move his or her game piece forward to the nearest icon indicated. You would also have to cut out some “blank” cards to use as “lose a turn.”

Holiday Cheer Game

These are the simple plastic playing pieces I made . I would have preferred something more 3D, but they seem to work okay.

Game Pieces: I made game pieces out of Shrinky Dinks plastic (I am having such fun with that stuff!), but any small objects will do. Playing pieces from another game, a set of erasers, coins, bottle caps or anything that will fit on the squares should work.

Advanced Play: Depending on the level of the players, you can make the game harder by adding additional rules. For example, instead of two players sharing a square, maybe the original player gets kicked off his space and moved backward to the nearest same icon. Or maybe he moves all the way back to start! It’s up to you.

Have fun!


37 Comments

Free Holiday Gift Tags

Free Holiday Gift Tags

What happened to this past week? I could swear I blinked and suddenly it’s Monday. I’m happy to report that the working from home business has picked up quite a bit in the last few weeks (thus hardly any real posts from me). However, I was able to whip up a page of free holiday gift tags to share with everyone tonight. I printed the set shown above on plain white cardstock from our laser printer and I have to admit they turned out pretty damn good for such a short turnaround. Hope you guys enjoy them too!

Download the above pdf with outlines or this pdf for a version with cropmarks.

Be sure to check out the other free downloads listed at the top right sidebar if you haven’t already!


5 Comments

Free Download & Print Holiday Giftwrap

Free Download & Print Gift Wrap

Isn’t giftwrap fun? All the colors and patterns. I love how it looks so festive and promising. I especially enjoy the process of wrapping. If I had a dream house, I’d have a gift wrapping station complete with ribbon organizer. However, in our small house, we have to be more economical and limit ourselves to only a few rolls (not including the enormous one that a friend gave us, that will literally last our entire lifetime). Also, one major perk of being a graphic designer is that printers always give away free sheets of wrap around the holidays. I love that.

This week, I’m providing the two printable designs shown above – Giftwrap 1 – sapphire snowflakes on chocolate and Giftwrap 2 – tiny blue-grey snowflakes. The files measure 11×17″, but will work on letter size sheets. They can also be overlapped (or “tiled”) to create a larger sheet.

Tip: The most useful giftwrap-related item we have is a jumbo roll of white curling ribbon. It sounds pretty simple, but it never fails to look good and work for every single occasion.

See the upper-right sidebar for links to the previously posted goodies.

snowflake giftwrap

snowflake giftwrap


8 Comments

Free Holiday Greeting Card

holiday card

free holiday greeting card

The free offering for this week – a Happy Holidays greeting card. Made of simple shapes and modern colors, it’s just in time to beat the holiday mail rush. Just download, print, fold and trim!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am planning to provide a free download each Sunday Monday from now until Christmas. It’s my way of saying thanks and giving a little back into the blogosphere this holiday. All offerings so far are listed in the upper right of this page. Feel free to check back next week!


9 Comments

Free Holiday Gift Checklist

checklist

checklist

I am a big fan of list-making, and with the holidays coming up I thought this Holiday Gift Checklist would be an handy way to get organized. It’s a single-page printable pdf that you can use to plan out recipients and gift ideas while keeping track whether the gift has been purchased or made, wrapped, and given or shipped. Plus, in the upper right I’ve included a small at-a-glance calendar for November and December. This way you can see where you are and how much time is left for shopping, crafting and/or shipping. Hope you find it useful!

Next week: Free Snowflake Placecards

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am planning to provide a free download each Sunday from now until Christmas. It’s my way of saying thanks and giving a little back into the blogosphere this holiday. Feel free to check back next week!


3 Comments

Thoughts on Sewing + Handmade Holidays

pin cushion

New pins and cushion on a separately purchased yard of Amy Butler’s Nigella Water Lotus from Bolt

I had a really nice day today. It wasn’t too out of the ordinary, really. This morning my husband and I went to a meeting and afterwards I had a doctor’s appointment (I ended up getting a tetanus booster, and not to be a baby, but it still hurts). I worked from home this afternoon and tonight I just finished a batch of Chocolate Chip Truffle Brownie cookies that turned out heavenly (tip: buy a box of Truffle Brownie Baking Mix from Trader Joe’s and follow the variation on the side). It was all I could do to stop myself from eating more than a few spoonfuls of batter alone. No doubt I’ve reached my quota of calories for the remainder of the week.

Next to the doctor’s office is a fabric store, so of course I decided to pop in for a moment. Now that I’ve finished my 1st, 2nd and 3rd projects I felt like it was okay to pick up a few basics I didn’t have – a pin cushion, a seam ripper and threader, a measuring tape and some glass-head pins. Who would guess a tiny box of those pretties could be so expensive? I adore them, though. So dainty and colorful. I immediately stuck some in the little cushion once I got home.

Now I am thinking about the next project. I have to tread carefully here with my limited skills and experience. I don’t want to tackle anything too difficult, because I don’t want to frustrate myself into quitting. I don’t want to do anything too boring, because it will feel like a waste of time. I also don’t want to make something that will just sit around unused. Our house is so small that things “lying about” can quickly get out of hand. If it were up to my husband, our house would more resemble a monk’s cell, than a comfortable home.

I’m also beginning to think about Christmas gifts. Every year I think to myself maybe this year I’ll only give handmade (or recycled, or organic, or local). But each year I chicken out. I have given some though – a set of greeting cards with vellum for my mother-in-law, a hand knit scarf for my mom, homemade dog treats for Barkley and his best friend, Mia. Maybe this year will be the year. I know that some people around the blogosphere are already making that commitment. I’m just not sure I’m ready.

However, one site that I’ll be checking out everyday for the next month is Sew Mama Sew’s blog (based in my area, as a matter-of-fact) that is featuring Handmade Holidays: 30 Days of Gifts to Sew. Today’s inspiration was all about aprons, including links to tutorials. Check out this awesome list:

November 1 ~ Aprons
November 2 ~ Pincushions & Pins
November 3 ~ For the House
November 4 ~ Lunch Bags
November 5 ~ Tote Bags
November 6 ~ Blankets for Baby
November 7 ~ For your Purse or Pocket
November 8 ~ Whimsy
November 9 ~ Fabric Ornaments
November 10 ~ Ties and Belts
November 11 ~ Reading & Writing
November 12 ~ For the Table
November 13 ~ Placemats
November 14 ~ Kids’ Clothes
November 15 ~ Warm those Toes
November 16 ~ Gifts for the Crafter
November 17 ~ Purses
November 18 ~ For Baby
November 19 ~ Tech Gifts
November 20 ~ Gifts for Organization
November 21 ~ Pillows
November 22 ~ Fun for Hair
November 23 ~ Soft Toys & Games
November 24 ~ Sachets
November 25 ~ For the Kitchen
November 26 ~ Embellishments
November 27 ~ Gifts for Warmth
November 28 ~ Drawstring Bags
November 29 ~ Fabric Boxes
November 30 ~ Gift Compilations


1 Comment

A Modern Gingerbread House

modern gingerbread house

This is the coolest gingerbread house, ever! Hard to believe that no one has thought of it before (at least that I’ve ever seen). I came across it here while perusing Redenvelope.com“Every bit as edible as the original, this isn’t your grandma’s gingerbread house. We gave the classic holiday treat a mid-century makeover, complete with garage and rock garden. A unique gift and sure-fire conversation piece, it comes assembled and ready to enjoy.”

It’s a little spendy at $78 (for an extra $10 you can add personalization, like in the photo above) and it makes me a little sad that you can’t assemble it yourself. Isn’t that the fun part? Seeing this makes me think about trying to re-create one of my favorite modern houses, maybe Michelle Kaufmann’s Sunset Breezehouse or maybe an iconic Portland-area Rummer home, complete with melted hard candy glass windows (see recipe here). Wouldn’t that be so awesome?!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...