Food = Love letterpress poster ($40) over the bar in my living room.
As the dark afternoons start to get me down I turn to two things; buying amaryllis plants (I love watching them grow and bloom in this darkest season) and planning my advent calendars. Before I had a kiddo I’d make them for all the ladies in my life. Now, Alex is the sole beneficiary of my Advent love. Last year I made an advent calendar from stripped paper bags from In The Clear — Alex loved it (so did Martha Stewart!). I’m gearing up to do it again this year. The hardest part is finding cheap toys — last year I scored at a used toy sale in Westchester. This year I’m going to use stickers and some Etsy finds plus some small $1 toys from my favorite West Side Kids.
If Alex was a little older, Garnet Hill sells a set of 25 stocking stuffers that would be perfect for this project for $36.
I’m really getting into the holiday this year (maybe because the sleep exhaustion of a new born is fading!). I made Alex an advent calendar and am really looking forward to the next 26 days. I used red and white striped bags from Etsy seller In The Clear ($7.50 for 50 bags) and stick on numbers from Staples. Inside the bags are a variety of small toys and stickers. Most of the toys came from a great used toy and book sale in Westchester of all places. I think I spent $5 dollars on the toys and $5 on stickers.
I’m longing for a nap right about now. It almost goes without saying, but hosting Christmas in NYC when you have a six month old baby = exhausting. However, traveling with said child would have been murder, so, I think we came out ahead.
Due to a lost baggage nightmare, the stockings my mother had made for our Christmas went to Washington-Buffalo-Philadelphia-Tampa before finally landing in Laguadia, at midnight on Christmas. This necessitated some quick sewing on my part; using some Josef Frank fabric ($5 at a Brunschwig and Fils sample sale) I had squirreled away in my fabric stash. I used this great (free! printable!) pattern from The Purl Bee. I really like how festive and modern they look. Hope everyone is staying warm and dry.
Orange is going to my color in 2010. I really want this and this as a start. I’ve been rocking red (see: glasses, clogs, computer cases) for a decade and just feel the winds of change blowing. Proof point: instead of red amaryllis, this year I busted out kumquat and oranges arrangements for our tree trimming party this past weekend. See my inspiration, above, from Martha Stewart Living a few years back and my own arrangement below. The arrangement cost about $25 — I bought the kumquats at my local deli for $20 (and yes, one of the joys of NYC is being able to buy kumquats at your local deli), and the apothecary jars were $10 each at TJ Maxx. If you don’t have a TJMaxx handy you can buy these apothecary jars for $27 each. I snipped some pine off my tree to use as greenery (the Martha folks used eucalyptus) and like how it looks.
I love glittered reindeer, but at $17 dollars each, they fall into the category of Christmas decorations I somehow never get around to actually buying. Thanks to a genius tip from my neighbor Stephanie, I bought two toy reindeer at Michaels ($4) and with some Aleen’s Tacky Glue ($1.59) + a small sponge brush (.59 cents) + some Martha Stewart silver glitter ($5) + some dried moss, I created a mini winter wonderland in under 10 minutes. The display case is vintage and a total ebay folly — I got into a bidding war last year and spent much more than I had planned ($70 bucks!). I’m glad to finally have found a use for it. Anyway, I use the search term “antique glass front box” and you can find similar ones here. I particularly like this one (currently $62).
I happened to find two vintage wooden picture frames in the trash outside my building (this never happens to me in NYC) and so am going to transform them into bulletin boards for two lucky ladies in my life this Christmas. Cost: Roll of cork (around $11 a roll at Staples — you can get about three bulletin boards out of a single roll), foam core backing ($5) and duct tape ($0 since I have an almost endless supply).
I’m still thinking about managing photos and am taking a stab at some of your great suggestions in an attempt to get the situation under control. The first step is pulling the close to 1,000 images off my camera’s memory card and organizing them into folder by month (great suggestion from Kate). I’m still trying to figure out if it is worth doing a separate Flickr for personal shots. But in the process I discovered that Tim took some action shots of me quilting on our dinning room table and I just thought they were a) cute and b) you can see my brand new hair cut!
Here is a shot of the finished quilt (with its beautiful lavender border) which I sent to C. yesterday. Major congratulations are in order as she delivered her beautiful baby girl yesterday morning at 11am!
Ta da! Here is the almost finished baby quilt I’ve been working on. I finished free motion quilting the quilt last night (and boy am I sore today!). Free motion quilting means that instead of sewing in straight lines you move the fabric in organic, rolling lines. I’ve never done free motion quilting before and was really proud of myself for figuring it out. I just have to bind it and in the mail it goes to C. I think my favorite part is the strips of her father and her husband’s dress shirts bound into the backing. PS This is the quilt that inspired it all. Alissa was so nice and answered lots of my silly quilting questions. She has a great sewing blog with lots of great projects.
This is one of my favorite DIY projects I’ve seen in a while and a really nice way to personalize cheap frames (and use up that fabric stash!). I’d love to do this with IKEA wooden frames and rad vintage fabric (or wallpaper, actually). Someday I’ll get around to doing this….. Has anyone tried this? Any tips?
A dear dear friend is having a baby in early October and I’m sewing a baby quilt for her! I’ve only made one quilt before, so its been an adventure, but a fun one. I’m so much more disciplined than I was last time I quilted, which has sort of made me feel like a grown up.
I bought these fabrics at Purl Patchwork where they were so nice and so helpful. Also, the prices are pretty fair, especially when you factor in shipping costs. In addition to the fabrics above, I’m quilting in old dress shirts from her father and husband as a way to fit an extra bit of love into the quilt. The photo below is the quilt that I’m basing my design on. I’ll post it when I’m done, of course!
Oh and this Alexander Henry fabric, “Zoo” is what I’m using on the back.