Whatever your feelings about this holiday, I couldn’t resist sharing a few darling vintage Valentines from my collection with you! Wishing you all the sweetest things today!
I’m still alive and kicking–and working through these last weeks of pregnancy (five weeks to go!), taking care of things that need to be done before Miss Blueberry arrives. The nesting instinct has hit with a vengeance, and it’s meant you can find me up and about at all hours tinkering, organizing and cleaning. It’s more than a little disconcerting how much energy I have at the moment (I know–enjoy it now!). But that means Miss Blueberry’s nursery is nearly finished (finally!), and the last touches on a few outfits I’ve been sewing for her are being made. Not to mention the house is getting cleaned and reorganized from top to bottom–which is never a bad thing when you’re a bit of a pack rat like me. hehe!
Hello! Apologies for the radio silence the last week… Sailor Husband just returned home from six weeks of training, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied spending time with my favorite guy. We’ve baked cookies, finished unpacking his uniforms, went to see Christmas lights at a local botanical garden, and generally been catching up on what we’ve missed over the past weeks apart.
But I wanted to do a little Christmas-themed post before it got any later into the season (I keep forgetting Christmas is this weekend!). I’m usually so excited about Christmas and traditionally have a slew of themed posts. But this year between the move and SH being away, I just didn’t really get into the mood as much, sadly. (If only Christmas were still a month away!)
Let’s talk about what I did get into this year: wrapping! I usually like to come up with some sort of theme and keep things fairly coordinated for packages. Which is fairly obsessive, I know, but I figure this is the one time of year I can indulge my love of matching things. This year I had a huge stack of packing paper from the movers, and desperately wanted to use it as wrapping, rather than just send it off to the recycling center. I loved the unbleached color and knew it would be perfect!
For the tags and trimming, I was originally planning on cutting out gingerbread men and stars from some leftover paper shopping bags. Until I discovered that the holiday Trader Joe’s bags had printed tags for you to cut out. So much easier than my idea! Yet another way I’ve been able to reuse something rather than waste… I also raided my stash of leftover yarn bits and pieces for the string. Which means everything is tied up nicely!
It’s not my most inventive Christmas wrapping, but considering I’ve been a bit preoccupied the past few days, I still think it’ll look fantastic under the tree!
What are some of your favorite “recycled wrapping” ideas?
please click the above image for the sources of this week’s favorite images!
The time has come for me to put up my final post for 2010. I decided this year to take the last two weeks of this year “off” from the blog so I could focus fully on spending time with my family and close friends during the holidays. I kept waffling back and forth about this for quite awhile, but I think a break and some r&r to recharge my “blogging inspiration banks” would be good for me–as much as I will miss posting. But don’t think I’ve left you all high and dry for the next two weeks! I have several guest bloggers lined up–some of my favorite gals kindly agreed to post in my absence! I hope you will enjoy their posts; I’m really excited (and completely honored!) to have them posting here.
I also wanted to take a moment to thank you for reading my ramblings this past year. The blog has grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined even a year ago, and I am very honored to have you as a reader. Even if you’ve never commented or emailed, know that I really appreciate that you stop by to read this blog! It’s been a true joy to get to know so many other gals and guys who share similar interests or even just appreciate the vintage aesthetic. Thank you for making my life richer and offering your insight and thoughts into so many things I’ve posted about! I’m really looking forward to what 2011 will bring–especially that sew-along that we’re scheming over right now!
- I am loving this beautiful, eclectic home interior over at D*S
- I love before and after comparisons, and seeing these (part 2) of the Red Velvet shop is so neat!
- Make your own vintage-style braided rickrack trim.
- Gertie rounded up resources in one post for doing bust alterations on sewing patterns.
- The in’s and out’s (and how to’s) of burn testing fabric to determine fiber content.
- Laura emailed me this week about a really interesting UK program called Ration Book Britain . Unfortunately those of us outside the UK can’t access the video, but for those who can–enjoy!!!
Edited to add… Tilly asked me a bit ago to do an interview for her Stash Amnesty series, and its now live! She said some very sweet things about me… Thank you so much, Tilly!
I’ll be back shortly after the new year with lots of new things to post about. Wishing you and yours all the brightest and most blessed of holidays and New Year!
What is life without a little excitement? A little racing against the clock and defying even your expectations about how much you can cram into one evening? Picture me, a couple nights ago, fervently hoping I could get my last-minute caramels done and in the pan before I tumbled into bed for the night. I usually don’t wait until late in the evening to make candy (especially since it tends to be so darn messy!), but this was the only time it’d work for my schedule and still give the caramels enough time to set before slicing them up. Let’s just say that boiling sugar and a half-asleep Casey is an interesting combination. Thankfully it didn’t result in disaster, either to myself or my kitchen. lol. However, the caramels themselves did not turn out as expected… I’m not sure if this was operator-error or just fate, but they had to be scrapped at the last moment, which was disappointing…
The boxes have been assembled and the tags finished. I decided to drop the peppermint meringues I wanted to make; those were my “if I have time/energy/inclination” goodies to make, so I’m not in the least bit dissapointed. Because frankly, the boxes are stuffed to the brim:
- iced sugar cookies (using this cookie and this icing recipes)
- cherry-chocolate cookies (so, so yummy and got two thumbs up from Sailor Husband! recipe here. I swapped out the cranberries for cherries.)
- black and white cookies (recipe here.)
I think that should keep all the recipients happy and occupied for a bit, no? As usual, I probably made too many cookies, but at least this year I don’t think we’ll have cookies in the freezer until the summer… lol. I think my favorite were the sugar cookies–I just really enjoy icing and decorating them. Although my decorating is certainly not super fancy, it’s fun and I got to add sugar glitter to everything this year!
One thing that became woefully apparent with this year’s goody-making is that I lack several essential tools in my kitchen. If I had to do it all over again, I think I’d entirely overhaul what we added to our wedding gift registry several years ago… There are a lot of things I’ve found that I really would have used more than others. Gadgets like a cookie scoop–or several in various sizes. Scooping cookies the old fashioned way with two spoons makes for exciting results after they spread and bake. The black and white cookies ended up slightly mismatched and varying sizes, despite my valiant attempts to scoop out “standardized” bits of dough. I also need a candy thermometer. The first year I made candy (tasty marshmallows), I figured I could get away with just using the old ball method. However, considering I’ve continued to make candy–and not just at Christmastime–I think a thermometer would be a wise investment. Plus they don’t take up a lot of space! (My usual reason for not getting whatever kitchen gadget is currently tugging at my pocketbook.) Finally, more mixing bowls. The heavy, earthenware sort that don’t skitter across the counter top easily. I like the metal bowls that I got from my grandmother when she downsized–they are great for things that need to be chilled quickly or working as a double boiler–but they are lightweight. Which presents accident-prone me with some problems! lol.
So tell me: what are your favorite kitchen gadgets? Particularly for dessert and cookie making?