Thursday, December 30, 2010

They can't all be winners

As pleased as I was with the way Christmas-gift-making went this year, the two projects I was most excited for were complete disasters.

First, the river rock bath mat for Aunt Micky, for which I've been planning and saving good stones for a year. I had them all plotted out on their plastic backing, glued them down right nice, and was mighty pleased with the results. Until I went to wrap it and the second I picked it up, the rocks began to fall right off. I suppose I needed better backing and stronger glue.

And second, this great idea, which I was totally stoked about. I even went out and bought a metal stamp set retail, which you all know indicates that I meant business.

But alas, though G and I scoured 3 different thrift shops, we couldn't find spoons flimsy and soft enough to be stamped. So now I have a lot of flat, unlettered spoons. I think the trick here is using real, old, at least partly silver spoons. We had a bit more success with the fancier spoons we tried.

At least they make really nice, heavy duty bookmarks!

Love, J

PS~ How good are the Harry Potter books?! I finally started the series last week, and am much loving them! And I don't at all regret waiting until now to read them, because it was easy for me to get all 7 from the library, and I would have hated not being able to grab the next book as soon as I'd finished the last, if I'd been reading them one at a time as they were released.

It snowed

And everything has taken on the hushed, dreamy quality that accompanies a foot deep blanket.

Love, J

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Homemade present roundup

There are a couple more to finish up last minute, but here's everything I haven't posted yet:

The hubs got some close-ups of his brothers' and dad's favorite things.

Monogrammed handkerchiefs for Grandpa.

Flower pattern here.

I made these long enough ago that I can't remember where I found the pattern. The little one rattles, courtesy of an empty floss container and some flax seed.

Personal portrait of a certain cousin's puppy.

Love, J

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

T-shirt yarn belt

Inspired by this, I made these as Christmas gifts:

And I now love knitting with strips of old t-shirts. It's stretchy, soft, and super-absorbent. I also used it to make some washrags for the kitchen.

Love, J

PS ~ Something else I've learned from Alabama Chanin: a dress worn over a skirt looks pretty cool. I've been using this trick to stay warm!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Times are changin' - and also not so much

This photo makes me smile.

It also makes me realize how little has changed in my life since freshman year of college, at least as far as the details go. Hubs and I have married, finished school, bought a house, blah blah, but our evenings look remarkably similar to those we spent together in the university dorms.

Laying around in our sweats, watching movies while he draws and I scratch ideas and plans into my notebook. Pizza for dinner.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

Love, J

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Another gift topper

I liked mom-in-law's ornament gift label so much, I had to make one for dad-in-law too.

Is it just me, or does everyone find french knots to be the shiz?

Love, J

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snowflake flowers

I've been using this pattern from un jardin de hilo to make Christmas gifts for everyone and their mom.

It's a good thing I have way more gals than guys to make things for, because dainty, delicate projects like this are so much fun.

Love, J

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Almost no creature is cute from this angle

And yet, I think these two manage to pull it off. They've been camped out under the couch like this all morning, warming their little rumps on the heat register. Normally Sarah lays right on top of the register, so it's nice to know she'll scoot over for her boy.

Love, J

Friday, December 3, 2010

Just some things

1. Raking off the roof is really fun.

2. Probably we should invest in a roof sturdy enough that it doesn't need to be raked constantly out of the fear it will cave in and crush us. Probably we should do this soon.

3. Looking at this photo of me in snowpants, I realize that a good way to make a fairly short person look even shorter is to dress her in pants that have a crotch that falls somewhere around her knees.

Love, J

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Brick" be gone

Did you think our house was brick?

I did.

When we first drove past it, on one of our evening tours of cheap-houses-for-sale-in-The-Valley, I was sure there was a typo in the listing. There was not a chance such a stately, brick house, with such a beautiful, huge lot was in our price range. But a call to the realtor confirmed that yes, the price was right.

We made an appointment to see it the next day. And I spent the night telling my grandmother all about the pretty brick house we had found.

But when we approached the house the next day, I saw that it was not brick.

It was something even better.

What is this stuff?

I have never seen this kind of siding on a house before. It's like roofing material, but with a faux brick pattern.

It's hilarious, and tacky, and I adored it. Plus, because I'd never seen it anywhere before, it felt fancy in a limited-edition kind of way.

But I only enjoyed it so much because I knew it was temporary. The hubs is unable to appreciate the tackier things in life. So while replacing it was towards the bottom of my to-do list (somewhere just after installing a fireplace and getting a tire swing), it was right on top of his.

To be fair, the fake brick seems to have been original, and our house was built in the 40's. The siding had not aged very well.

And, after about a month of working in the rain (him, not me), I now present to you, our house:


This isn't quite the big reveal I was going for, as the paint is still in buckets in our basement. We didn't beat the weather (lesson: don't start a huge weather-dependent project in early November) so we'll be painting it as soon as it warms up in the spring. All those caulk lines surpass even my greater-than-average tolerance for tacky.

Good job sweetie! You're the handiest guy I know, and I'm always impressed with your mad housing skills!

Love, J

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So many happy things

I just ordered good snowboots online. When they arrive, I'll zip them on and trek out to the yard and take better pictures of the lights.

In no particular order...

1. My husband = Awesome

2. Our house is all bedecked in Christmas lights, even more so than last year.

3. Grandma gave my hair a much-needed trim yesterday, and I'm no longer scrappy.

4. Today I begin my volunteer position with my
dream organization. I seriously idolize this group. So much so that I get butterflies in my stomach whenever I encounter one of their staff attorneys at a training or seminar. They are basically the rock stars of the legal aid world. And in an hour, I will head out to go work with them! Swoon.

5. We had the hubs' corn chowder for dinner last night. (This is really a subsection of #1, above.)

6. I am ridiculously overloaded with fantastic Christmas present ideas this year, and for once I have the corresponding time and enthusiasm to make them all happen.

7. I was going to cap this list with the winter wonderland snowfall we're currently having. Then, halfway through writing point #4, my cell phone rang. It was the hubs calling from the garage to tell me his patrol car won't start and can I put on some boots and come jump start it?

Over an HOUR later, I made it back inside. The snow made it impossible for us to fully push the patrol car out of the garage, and much shoveling (and an admirably small amount of cursing) resulted.

But you know what?

I can't hold it against the snow.

Because it's just too darn pretty.

And also, I came inside to find this little scene:

Happy things # 8 & 9. #10 & 11 are asleep on the bed.

So I'd be hard pressed to think of anything bad to say at all right now.

Wish me luck with the rock stars! I'll try not to embarrass myself by asking for autographs or anything. At least not on my first day.

Love, J

PS~ #12: The grocery store is carrying satsumas.