Posts tagged paper crafts

Good Tidings

For the last 7 years, my husband and I celebrated the holiday season by buying gifts for kids whose names hung from the trees in the mall. We’d pick the older kids, because they tragically asked for necessity items, like underwear and socks.  Their wishes of survival seemed so much more immediate than the 4 year old who was asking for a Playstation. We did this because we couldn’t think of a better way to spend our money- we didn’t want a tree or decorations; and we spend all year giving to each other, so we never do presents.  

This year is different.  We’re saving for a house and money isn’t going as far as it used to after bills and groceries. So instead of buying stuff for others, we both spent time volunteering.  I went to the Los Angeles Food Bank to help sort donated food and Chris went to jail- a charity puts people in jail and has them call around to raise money for their “bail.”  We both had wonderful experiences.  Mine left me wondering why I don’t volunteer more outside of the holiday season. So I started researching different possibilities, but came upon the roadblock of many organizations are M-F 9-5. I’m considering going to the hospital that’s within walking distance of our apartment.  They ask for 40 hours, with at least 4 hour shifts.  During the weekend, that’s very doable for me, so that’s the most promising option I have.

So, in the spirit of counting my blessings this holiday season, and sharing with others what I have (this year, more time than money) here are the last of the holiday cards I’ve made for friends and family.cards1cards2cards3And some mystery gift images.  I’m hand-making gifts for my mom, sister, and father.  Here are two close-ups of what I’m working on.

mysterygift1mysterygift2I’ve also been baking up a storm, but I keep forgetting to take pictures.  Last weekend I made mint chocolate chip cookies and mom’s peanut butter cups.  The weekend before that I made sugar cookies.  Later today I’m making kiss cookies. I’ve gotten in the habit of baking for Chris’s employees, so I send most to work with him, bring some to work for my colleagues, and we keep some at home. Yum!

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Agradecida

I’m thankful for so many things. To try and begin a list would mean something would invariably be left off and that’s not what I want.  So instead, I’ll catch you up on my latest crafting and cooking accomplishments and let my mind and heart stay thankful for all I have.

I’ll start with Thanksgiving dinner, or in our case, lunch.  We eat our big meal around 1 every year, and then have pie at a normal dinner time.  It’s almost exactly the same meal every year: Tofurkey, corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and mushroom gravy.  We don’t make anything from scratch, except the gravy, and everything is done in 1 hour and 45 minutes.  It keeps up enjoying the holiday (the only one of the two days Chris and I have off together during this time of year), rather than getting wrapped up in making a perfect meal.  This year I made a pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin pie is not my favorite, but I made one, and I actually liked it (more so today, the day after, now that’s it been sitting in the fridge).

tofurkeypumpkinpieEarlier in the week I baked mini potatoes- red, yellow, and purple.  We topped them with cheese, chives, salsa, and sour cream and had them with a fake Italian sausage.

bakedpotatoesI’ve made 8 more holiday cards. I also came up with a logo for the back of my cards.  I’ll post it later once all the cards are finished.  I’ve got 6 more to make.  Then I’ll have to make envelopes and add inserts to write on.  I’m enlisting the husband to do the inside calligraphy.

xmas4xmas3xmas5xmas6I’m really pleased with all of the card so far.  It’s amazing what a girl can do with a little spray adhesive, a 4 dollar pad of paper, and a Cricut.

I’ve not been as diligent with my yarn crafts as I would like.  I’ve worked a little on my shawl.  My friend at work who has been letting me borrow her knitting mysteries brought me a pattern for a simple hat.  I think I’ll frog my ribbed beanie that I’ve started over three times and try it with this new pattern.  After I’m done updating here, I plan to spend some time on Ravelry, updating my finished projects, my WIPS, and my to-do list.  There’s a stack of books next to me, waiting to get cracked open and pursued so I can choose my next projects.  

Now all I have to do is finish the multitude of projects I’m already working on. . .

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Absent

It’s been an interesting school year so far.  I’m exhausted and feel like I’m on a roller coaster.  One day is amazing and the next is horrible.  I took Friday off to clear my head and rest my nerves.  I feel way better, so I thought I’d come here to to update.

I’m trying to get back into exercising more frequently.  When I do that I tend to cook more often, or rather plan meals to be cooked.  My husband and I have a sort of unspoken argeement that the person who gets home first makes dinner.  Recently, that has been him, because I’m up to my neck in meetings and paperwork.  When I’m trying a new recipe, though I’m eager to come home and cook. We’ve been eating go-to meals for a few weeks now, waiting for things to settle down- spaghetti, veggie burgers, etc.  This week we bought garlic naan at Trader Joe’s to make with those vacuum sealed Indian curries.  The next day my honey made veggie meatball subs on garlic naan.  The bread was chewy and yummy and delicious! I couldn’t resist taking a bite before getting the camera!

meatballnaanI’ve been yearning for autumn weather for a while now.  It’s hard to be thinking Thanksgiving when it’s mid-80s outside.  I’m not complaining, just wishing for a little cool down.  Since this weekend was forecasted to be cooler (mid 70s), I broke out the crock pot today and made potato soup from The Simple LIttle Vegan Slow Cooker cookbook. I stirred in some colby-jack cheese when I served it (so much for vegan) and had a veggie Italian sausage and green beans with it.

tatersoupFor lunches I’ve been having chickenless nuggets, apple slices and grapes, vegan chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s, pita chips, a hard boiled egg, and string cheese. I don’t eat it all at once. It’s spread through the day- snack, lunch, after school snack.

nuggetbentoI’m still reading the Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.  I’m about half way through and I still love it.  I highly recommend it! I’m also still reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I haven’t gotten too far in it, because I took a break to read a knitting mystery that I borrowed from a colleague.  That’s right, a knitting mystery. It was simple, and quick, and made me want to knit.  It was particularly interesting or well-written, but it’s the first in the series and I’ve already started the second one, so I guess I got suckered.

knit_160bI’ve also been spending a lot of time playing Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir on my Nintendo DS.  It’s a hidden picture game.  I’m totally addicted. I could play for hours at a time. My honey brought it home for me because I loved Professor Layton and the Curious Village so much.

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Today I worked on my holiday cards.  Since we’re looking at moving in a few months, my husband and I are sending homemade Christmas cards out as gifts, rather than getting anyone anything.  Just sending our love through time spent on crafting.  Here are the first four I came up with with a little help from scrapbooking paper, charms from the dollar store, and spray adhesive from the Japanese market.

xmas1xmas2I spent a good part of the morning updating my ravelry account.  I’m not even close to filling out all my projects, WIPS, ideas, and stashes, but I added a few things, including my finished Windy City Scarf! I love finishing knitting projects.  They just go so slow, it feels like a big deal to finish something!

windy1I’ve also made some progress on my shawl. It’s increasing pretty quickly. I’m not sure how long I’ll make it. I bought enough yarn to make it LARGE, maybe it’ll be more of a throw.

knitshawl2I’ve been doing a little crocheting this weekend, as well.  We’re currently obsessing over the TV show Jericho. We’ve had it on DVD for a long time and never watched it.  We started it a few days ago, after finishing Painkiller Jane. So I’ve been trying to crochet during the new box set, but it’s one of the few shows that I’ve seen recently that has kept my attention. 

I haven’t cross-stitched or embroidered in a while, but I never posted my most recent pics of the big cross-stitch project. It’s starting to look really nice, but I’m out of practice with counting my stitches and the last time I sat down to work on it, I made a ton of mistakes.

xstitchI’m still working on my ribbed knitted hat.  I started it over and made the rib smaller. But I think my focus for the next few weeks will be crocheting and making cards.

Next post will be after Thanksgiving, so have a happy holiday. I hope you get to spend time with family and friends and delicious food.

 

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Sands Through an Hourglass

Summer is slowly slipping away from me. I know because rather than crafting, I’ve been planning for the start of school.  On Wednesday, Hubby and I fly to Wisconsin, where I thought I’d have copious amounts of crafting and reading hours. From recent talks with the in-laws, we’re learning about all kinds of plans that have been made for us. I’m sure I’ll fit in some crochet, cross-stitch and reading somewhere, though!

I’m up to 23 small circles for the Galaxy top, but I need more yarn to keep going.  I finished off the first skein for my blue baby blanket, so it’s about half way done.

I made a card for my dad’s birthday from a template from Card Positioning Systems.

This week we’ve had some yummy dinners, courtesy of various magazine recipes.  One was breakfast pizza from Family Circle. As you may know from reading this blog, we’re big fans of breakfast for dinner in my house. I used veggie sausage and added chopped onion and pepper from the farmer’s market. Otherwise, it’s reduced fat crescent roll dough, with shredded hash browns, 3 eggs scrambled and some cheese. It was tasty.

Also from Family Circle, I made corn fritters. I’ve never fried anything before in that much oil, except when I was a kid and my mom used the fry baby. But wow! Now I get why Americans are so obsessed with fried food! We served the fritters with a salad, as if that would off set the fried yumminess.

 

Then last night I made a Korean BBQ marinade from Vegetarian Times for some tofu.  The recipe called for 6 cloves of garlic. I put in 5, and the house still smells like garlic. It was tasty, though.  I used garlic and pepper flavored tofu because the store was out of extra firm. I sliced it and froze it and made the marinade.  When the marinade cooled I let the tofu sit in it for 30 minutes.  Then I seared it over high heat and we served itwith our left over salad. The tofu tuned out so delicious, I had two slices and Chris polished off the rest (yes, my meat and cheese husband ate 3/4 of a brick of tofu).

 

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Inspired

Going to the nail salon and looking through all the different shades of nail polish inspires me to be crafty.  The blues and oranges, many hues of pinks, red, purples.  They all look so pretty together, it gets me thinking about colors and shapes.  Anyway, in an effort to improve my card-making, I started searching for card layout ideas.  I came across the Card Positioning Systems blog and it’s been an inspiration! The author and guest card designers publish a sketch per week and people make cards based on the sketch for a contest.  I’m not nearly ready to be competing against die hard paper crafters, but the resource is invaluable for those of us just starting out.  Under the current sketch being worked on is a link to the past sketches, so there’s a library of layout templates to get creative with. With the layout in mind, your creativity can run wild!

So here’s the sketch I chose:

 And this is what I did with it  (you’ll see the front, back, and the card with the envelope I made):

So, you can see I took some creative liberties, but isn’t that what layouts are all about? It’s kind of plain, so I can see why people who make cards also get really into stamping.  I just don’t think I’m there yet.  I’m still gluing everything together with Rubber Cement that I’ve had for 5 years, since I can’t be bothered with real adhesive. I’m sending the card to a friend that I’ve known since Kindergarten.  She and her husband just moved and I thought they’d like to get some friendly mail!

I read my embroidery book from Tuesday Morning last night.  I’m excited to get to work on a project.  I’m only working Monday and Tuesday this week, so I think on Wednesday I’ll take the bus to Joann’s and Michael’s and pick up some supplies.  

I bought a t-shirt today to make the galaxy top from Crochet Me.  I love love love this top and it doesn’t seem too complicated.  I picked a purple shirt, though, instead of white, because I don’t really wear white. And I think rather than matching the top with the shirt, I’ll do a contrasting color- maybe green?

Not making dinner tonight.  The hubby is in Redondo Beach for his comic artists meeting, so he’s bringing home a Special C (for those not in So Cal- it’s two delicious and gooey bean and cheese burritos and a drink from like 4 dollars) from El Burrito Jr.! Though for the week, I’m thinking stuffed eggplant, grilled cheese and tomato and artichokes, and maybe curry of some kind.  Or maybe just a salad-  I really need to look through my recipes and find some light summer fare.

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