I hope you all had a very merry Christmas! I didn't mean to disappear for a week, but I'm sure I wasn't the only one with Christmas programs to watch [Big J was the cutest little "angel"], holiday dinners to attend, packages to send out, gifts to make and family time to enjoy. I didn't end up making as many gifts as I had intended to [big surprise, right?] since time got the best of me and it seemed like everyone in our family took turns getting sick [its Baby J's turn now]. But I was able to whip up some of my favorite "go to" gifts--embellished tees for our little friends, pencil + cups filled with sharpened pencils + erasers and custom stationery sets. I still have a few gifts to finish up, but the recipients are already anticipating their "new years" gifts, well, in the new year!
I was happy that I finished our stockings [plain grey wool which will probably get embellished next year] and tree skirt [grey wool with white linen leaves]. And although the decorations were only up for less than 3.5 weeks, we took them all down yesterday morning. It felt good to pack everything away for next year.
We had a lovely Christmas Eve's dinner with friends, but Christmas day was my favorite because it was just the four of us at home. Oh, and we had a WHITE Christmas since it actually started snowing mid-morning.
We were all so excited to see snow on Christmas day!
After opening up their presents the boys played with their new goodies all morning long.
We also played many rounds of Candy Land...
...and Chutes and Ladders [I beat Appah!].
Baby J chose to sit out on the board games, opting to eat a cupcake instead.
My family is coming into town in a few days so I've been in hyper-nesting mode cleaning out every closet in our house. It feels really good to fill up bags of "junk-to-me-maybe-not-to-someone-else". Less is more, right? Anyways, I'm looking forward to spending some time with family, enjoy some down time before the busy-ness of the new year kicks in, take advantage of some free babysitting and prepare for the NEW YEAR! 2008 is going to be a good one!!
One more week until Christmas? Say it isn't so! I was hoping to get a lot of last-minute Christmas gift-making accomplished over the weekend, but instead I enjoyed some good ol' family time. We checked out a few new-to-us places in NW Portland which is always a fun treat since I don't go into the city as often as I would like. I picked up a few stocking stuffers at Canoe, a well-edited modern home accessories shop. I liked so many of their products, like this clock and these notebooks. We had lunch at Besaws and finally checked out Bleuet. A friend recommended this "yogurt boutique" to us knowing that Appah is a Pinkberry-lover. Appah says the yogurt at Bleuet tastes different than Pinkberry [Bleuets serves real yogurt], but we enjoyed the honey yogurt with strawberries and plain yogurt with granola. The boys loved it and Big J has already requested that we return VERY SOON. Appah and I also fiddled around with my new camera while the boys were preoccupied with eating their yogurt. Yes, a new camera my friends, an early Christmas present Appah picked up while he was in Japan.
These photographs were taken by Appah under dark, rainy Portland lighting conditions. Big improvement from my old cybershot. But let's just say I need some more practice shooting with an SLR since it is quite different than a point and shoot camera. I'm learning all sorts of new photography things like F-stop, aperture, depth of field, etc., so hopefully improvement is right around the corner.
Ok, off to tackle this pile of towels and plain tees for a few last-minute Christmas presents and drink some hot tea to fight off my head cold.
Thanks for all the nice words about our advent calendar. The boys love the calendar and we are enjoying our daily activities together. During the holiday season I've noticed how I struggle with trying to make things that are my style, but also not too non-traditional. Although I was born in the U.S., my parents were both immigrants and American holidays were not celebrated in the traditional manner in our home. So, now that I'm a parent I have to make a conscious decision to incorporate traditions that feel significant to us as a family. I definitely don't want to do things just because everyone else seems to be doing them. I also don't want the boys to equate Christmas with receiving tons of gifts, since that is not the meaning of the season for our family. How I see it gift giving is just an added perk of the holiday season.
Speaking of gift giving I have to make the final push this week/end. Gifts for teachers, classmates and extended family are my first priority. I already plan to make some last-minute gifts for the boys and my family [they are arriving a few days after Christmas]. I tend to shy away from buying toys for the boys since they usually receive toys from their grandparents and relatives for Christmas and birthdays. But I've been wanting to buy them a dollhouse for awhile and finally stopped by Grasshopper and found a great one [chalet dollhouse] for a reasonable price. I liked the fact that the dollhouse is actually two separate dollhouses and you can configure it in different ways. It was also important to me that the boys could play on different sides of the house rather than just from one side and this is possible since there are not any true walls on the dollhouse. I didn't buy any furniture or dolls for them because I figure their dinosaurs and cars will probably spend a lot of time in there. I was initially excited to see they sell an Asian family doll set, until I saw them up close and thought they looked a bit cheesy. C'mon, what is up with their matching bowl-cuts? Anyways, the dollhouse is their main gift and I'm beginning to like the idea of buying one pricier gift for Christmas that they can share. I also bought them some books [my favorite gifts to give to them], but I'm thinking it would be fun to get them an old typewriter to play around with. I saw Elly's photograph and immediately hopped on over to Craigstlist to track down a used typewriter. They are both obsessed with the alphabet and phonics at the moment and a typewriter seems like the perfect "toy" to encourage their learning. I need to do some more research though because I don't want to end up with a typewriter that I can't find ribbons/parts for anymore.
I hope your holiday preparations are coming along nicely. Big J helped me put up some more decorations this morning [man, this boy LOVES decorations] and I'm working on some simple wool stockings and a tree skirt. And then on to the Christmas present making and buying [hopefully more making than buying, but hey, it is already December 13 so I'm trying to be realistic].
I was working on another advent calendar, but half-way through I decided I didn't like it [this happens more than I care to admit]. So, here is advent calendar #2. It is a simple wall + pocket made out of charcoal linen and a cotton canvas print. I made four rows of pockets to hold 24 little number cards.
I printed numbers on white textured cardstock, cut a small piece of clear vellum to create a pocket, sewed up the sides and inserted various activity cards inside.
I'm saving some of our favorite activities to do with the boys until after Appah returns from Japan [oh yes, he has already made a trip to the fabric store and bookstore for me].
I think during the off season, this wall + pocket will be hanging on one of my studio walls. Speaking of my studio, I am determined to buy a worktable and some shelving in the next two months. My poor ironing board has been doubling as a packing station and the little piles of "stuff" everywhere is starting to drive me batty. I would love a worktable like this and shelving like this, but will probably settle for whatever I find at good ol' Ikea.
Tomorrow I'm going to start working on checking things off my Christmas "to do" list. Can't wait!
:: new packaging sets in the shoppe ::
:: brown bakers + boxes :: 100% biodegradable ::
:: little bakers + bags ::
:: pencil + cups ::
:: in different sizes ::
Sorry for the s-l-o-w update this afternoon. I was hoping to add a batch of patchwork + towels, but time got the best of me. I'll be adding them to the shoppe in 2008. I'm looking forward to moving on to Christmas presents and spiffying up our home with more holiday decorations. I finally finished our advent calendar so I'll be sharing photographs shortly. Happy Monday!
:: the main Christmas gift for the boys is taken care of :: phew! :: thinking of adding a few smaller gifts :: would like to buy supplies to make a dinosaur terrarium [Big J would LOVE something like this] :: and maybe some new pillows with handmade pillowcases :: trying hard not to feel panicky that it is already december 6 :: trying really, really hard ::
If I could hire one person to work for me, I would hire a personal chef. If I could hire two people to work for me, I would hire a personal chef and a clothing designer. Is it just me or does it seem like finding the right piece of clothing--in the right size, color, style is difficult. I think I have also gotten pickier as I get older, I'm not as willing to pay for something I don't love. I also really dislike buying something everyone and their mother is wearing. The biggest turnoff for me is when a salesperson says, "Oh, this is our most popular [fill in the blank]." When I hear those words I usually won't buy the item. But enough complaining from me because recently I've been very happy with the pieces added to my wardrobe.
I don't really know how describe my "style". I tend to favor clothes that are simple, modern and feminine. Last month at Amy's booksigning party a few people recognized me because of the tunic I was wearing, even though I hadn't posted photographs of it before. I used my trusty ol' Built By Wendy pattern you may recall I've used many times before. This time around I put on the dress sleeves and lengthened the shirt so it looked more like a tunic. I chose a crisp black and white gingham inspired by Jenny [oh, and the fact that it was 50% off in the remnants section]. So needless to say, I really love the versatility of this pattern. Speaking of Miss Jenny, I am now the proud owner of two Wiksten pieces which are so well-made and fun to wear. The detail on these pieces is amazing, I literally gasped when I opened up my package. And now Jenny, Hannah and I are triplets!
:: wiksten tova dress ::
:: wiksten tova shirt ::
One of my favorite things to wear is a black dress. I love black dresses that have just enough detail to make them interesting--like the lantern sleeves on my new-ish [store bought] dress.
Ok, enough clothes-related talk. I'm off to Mariko's cookie party tonight with pizzelles and cupcakes in tow. In case you're wondering I'll be wearing something loose-fitting.
[Update: The black dress is from Old Navy. Mariko's cookie party was REALLY fun. Everyone brought delicious treats to share. Unfortunately our cupcakes didn't make it to the party due to an accidental slip down the stairs by a certain 4-year-old carrying the cupcake container. His sad little face was priceless.]
Last weekend zipped by so quickly. Not enough hours in the day, I tell you. Our Christmas tree is up now [thank you, Appah], which magically makes it feel like the holidays in our house. The boys started decorating the tree [which means there are decorations only on the lower 1/3 of the tree] and we'll finish up this weekend. I actually like the tree with just white lights, but I think with children the "less is more" school of thought is not very popular. It would be nice to have two Christmas trees to decorate--one for me and one for the boys. Hmm...maybe we'll pick up a small tree this weekend.
I found these Amy Ruppel window decals at Target a few weeks ago. I don't think I've ever purchased window decals before but I thought these were pretty cute.
And Big J has taken it upon himself to start decorating the mantle.
I'm almost finished with our advent calendar, it is quite non-traditional, but I'm sticking with it. Yes, I know it is December 4th, but I figure better late than never. I actually have a set of mini wool stockings I made a few years ago, but I'm tired of them and opted to make a new advent calendar. I spent most of the weekend putting together packaging sets and packing orders from the shoppe. [All paid orders have been shipped.] I'll be stocking the shoppe with some new packaging sets later this week/end and then having my final shoppe update of the year on Monday, 12.10.07 at 2pm pst. [Please note the holiday shipping deadlines over at the shoppe.] Ok, back to sewing!