Saturday, December 26, 2009

The stockings were hung...

The night before Christmas Eve, I realized Ari didn't have a stocking! Mine is the Leopard print boot above (made by my mom) next to Matt's blue felt stocking. I quickly ran to a craft store to find a similar, simple felt stocking, but I felt sad as soon as I looked at the selection. My mom always handmade special holiday decorations like our stockings and I want to do the same for Ari. Living with cancer makes me even more driven to make holidays memorable for my family.
So, I headed to one of my favorite vintage/consignment stores in town and picked up some very inexpensive scraps of red fabric and the some green material that makes me think of the '50s and the Jetsons all at the same time. Ari loved his new stocking and I loved making it for him.

On a health note, the chemo has made me lose quite a bit of weight but, I'm happy to report, chemo is no match for Christmas cookies! I have gained a pound just in the last week alone. I can't give all of the credit to butter, my scan last week showed that my tumors have been reduced significantly. My husbands sums up the visuals like this: in September, we saw about 80% tumors and 20% healthy liver. This week, we saw about 70% healthy and 20% tumors. All of that healthy liver is giving me more and more energy and we're really enjoying life around here. I hope you all are too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

under someone's tree will be...

story time games

gingerbread dolls

memory games

doll slings

wooden spool snakes

bleach pen art pillows

wooden cars

tea cup pincushions

fishing games

Horse and fences

fairy crowns

freezer paper stenciled t-shirts

chocolate covered candied orange peels

Wow! Seeing all of that in one place even impresses me and that isn't even everything! I am so happy and proud of my crew. They have worked so hard and feel so much better about giving these gifts than any previous year. Hand made is definately the way to go.

Now I just need a nap!

Have a very, very blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baby blocks

Life has been so busy lately, I forgot to mention that Ari has a new baby cousin. We welcomed our nephew, Tesher (which we learned means "Gift" in Hebrew) about 2 weeks ago now. My husband, Matt, and I are really giving small, simple gifts this year since I am out of work, so I decided to sew Tesher some fabric blocks. I found a fun twist on the basic pattern in a wonderful little book, Sweetly Stitched for Kids. The patterns are simple and easy to follow, but also creative. I like the "turtle tee," a really simple pattern for adding an applique and the sleeping mat that's more complicated, but very dreamy.

The general twist on these blocks is that you back your fabric squares with batting and then use pinking shears to finish the edges. Here's maybe a better view:

I love these retro-ish fabrics I splurged on from my new favorite local quilt store. To wrap the blocks, I just safety pinned them together and tied a little a little "Handmade by Kelly/Spot wash only" note to them. I hope he enjoys them!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fun sites!

As you can see, we're busy around here painting wrapping paper for last minute presents. I have to admit that we have more wrapping paper than presents to give this year. Thankfully, Ari's artwork is an appreciated gift.

Even though Christmas is just around the corner, we're still looking for projects and inspiration. Love, love, love this site my sister, Erin just found called Design Sponge. Take a second to check it out and make sure you scroll down so you don't miss the really cool suitcase artwork. I also love all of the wreaths. I feel like it's never too late to decorate so, since I'm feeling much better right now, I will be decorating wreaths next week and will be sure to share.

Erin also found a blog aptly named lovelydesign. This blog is also written by a creative mama with a design business. You'll love the tutorials and patterns.

OK, two more--my sister's been busy on the web.

Townmouse and Fancy Elastic (don't you just love that name?!) both currently feature fun advent calendar projects right now. Other sites/projects you just love right now? Please share!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My first quilt!

I can't believe I finally finished this little quilt! It took me an entire week, but I feel proud of the accomplishment. This quilt came in a kit with all of the pre-measured fabric and directions. I still needed to do all of the cutting, which was good practice. My mom waited until the very last minute to break the news to me that the back of the binding is hand sewn. ARGH! I am such a terrible hand-sewer. It was good practice, though and I'm committing to practicing the blind stitch on anything laying around to get better.

My mom really helped me understand the directions and various steps so that I feel confident to take on another quilting project on my own. My mom went home today to the Seattle area. It was very sad after having her here for two months, but It's also a good thing because it means I'm feeling much better. Next time she's back, it's to do more projects together and, of course, to enjoy her grandson as she always does with such enthusiasm.

Also this week...

I finally learned how to burn a CD (sad, I know) so I had to make CD covers for some gifts I wanted to give. Kandyce--thanks for this idea of sliding a piece of cardboard into an envelope. I then cut the side to fit the Cd and used Modge Podge to reseal the side. Then, I just found scraps of paper around to decorate with. I really need to take a picture of the one Kandyce made for me--it's decorated with handmade paper and a pressed leaf and is beautiful!

A week of Gifts....

I have to tell you about the very special gifts I received this week. Actually, the bees wax ornaments you see above were given to me a few weeks ago by Garden Mama. Aren't they so sweet! I need to add some color to this tree--really a Rosemary Bush--but first I need to save it from dying. My husband and I traumatized it by moving it into this giant pot. Please make it to the Spring so I can move you outside! for some reason., I'm good with my outdoor garden, but I kill every plat that comes into this house.

In the same package, Nicole at Garden Mama also included the lovely postcards that are now available here on her blog. You will look at these postcards everyday, I promise, and will have to force yourself to think about giving away. I just want to frame them and put them all around the house.

The biggest gift of all this week was a new site that Garden Mama (and sneaky Kandyce) set up called The Wellness Tree. It's a site that is bringing mamas together to send me love and support while I face my current treatment and future with cancer. I can't describe how much this site means to me and my family---it's just a simple, yet meaningful outpouring of support. Please take a second to go see the handmade ornaments that crafty mamas are making--they're beautiful and inspiring. I don't think I would have had such a fun, healthy, crafty week without all of this inspiration.

Garden Mama's Giveaway!!

She's done it again. Nicole at Garden Mama is having yet another awesome give away. Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

advent no.1

In the darkness of the early, early, early (like 3AM early!) morning, I am waken to, "Mom, is it morning yet?" Well technically, Yes, but... "No, son. Go to bed." I know it is a futile request. I hope Christmas doesn't go this way, as well, but odds are not in my favor :)
In spite of starting way to early, St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6th is a lovely celebration during the Advent season for my family. So lovely, I didn't even think about taking pictures :( Shoes were placed in front of the fireplace with the anticipation of being filled with good things. This year St. Nicholas brought gingerbread cookies, chocolate coins, warm fuzzy pajamas and snow.

Advent thus far...

purple and pink paper maiche ornaments to hang on our tree
(made before the snow arrived)

garlands adorned with purple ribbon

Mary and Joseph moving closer to Christmas
(sorry about the quality, it is right over a window :)

Advent lanterns hanging on our branch
(please ignore the compressor in the corner, house construction underway)

We have had so much fun this Advent, more than any other year I can remember. This handmade Christmas thing is great. I love it. Though I must confess, a few purchased presents did sneak their way onto the list. In my defense, I didn't have the time or know-how to make a Waldorf doll. That's an acceptable purchase, isn't it?

I thought so, too :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Simple Gifts

First, I have to tell you about a book my sister read over Thanksgiving and left with me. It called 29 Gifts and it's by a woman named Cami Walker. She wrote the book because she has MS and had a very difficult time with the diagnosis and symptoms (I'm sure she still does to an extent). At a particularly bad time, a friend told her she was focusing too much on herself and recommend she give 29 gifts for 29 days. The gifts do not have to be materialistic or big, but her friend did suggest she journal about her experience giving.

I really like this book and the challenge the author describes herself experiencing. She also set up a website you can check out by going here. I have started try to give gifts everyday mindfully, but I haven't found the mental space to journal yet, so I'm not officially starting the challenge. I thought I'd sprinkle some posts into this blog to share a few simple gifts with you that I have received lately. Oh, there are so many wonderful gifts to share! Here's my first :

My mom gave me this purple warm fleece when I started chemo because I was always cold. She just brought it home knowing I needed it:

Shortly after I received the jacket, my good friend, Beth, sent me a warm card with this silky patch enclosed. It's from a feminist group that supported a local Mountain Keepers event. (Beth, if you're reading this, leave a comment with more details. I can't find your card that I put in a special place with this info. The special place, I guess, is a little too special). I love the patch so much, my mom suggested I sew it onto the jacket I wear every day.

Great I idea! I used fabric stabilizer and the zig zag stitch on my machine for the first time and it turned out great. A little crooked on one side, but you can't tell:

It meant so much to me that Beth thought about me at an event I would have loved to attend and that she took the time to send me this simple gift. It makes me smile and feel strong.

I also love that it got me to my sewing machine--even if it was just for a few minutes. I need to warm up because I've cut my fabric for my little quilt and the sewing begins tomorrow!