Christmas Wreath a la Kel

This week the Dare to DIY challenge is to Deck that Halls! Now, I LOVE Christmas. How much do I love Christmas? Well, I had a Christmas themed December wedding!! That should tell you something. I actually don’t have that many Christmas decorations. Before our big move up to Boston last year I purged all the cheap apartment decorations and decided to do it right when we got a house. Well….we got the house this year, so that means round 1 of ramping up the goodies! Here’s the wreath I put together for our front door:

I got all the supplies for this little puppy at Michael’s on mega-sale, so I think the whole thing cost me about $6. Nice. My only disappointment is that the dark green doesn’t show up too well against our black door. But, we’re planning to get a new front door (no clue yet what color), so we’ll see how it looks next year.

We also have a new tall skinny Christmas tree for our tiny living room! I think it looks pretty nice. Although, a bit sad that I didn’t get garland for the banister, or finish crocheting the puppy’s Christmas stockings.

I love my tree mostly because of my fabulous ornaments! We got a lot of gorgeus ornaments for our wedding and this is the first year we’ve had a tree since then, so it was super exciting to put them up. Here is a selection of the collection:

My digital Christmas

Yes, we are taking the leap to the digital reading frenzy! I just ordered Terry and I each an Amazon Kindle 2 for Christmas. I have scoffed at these things since they came out, but I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Here’s why:

  1. Now that we commute on trains to work, we read A LOT! Seriously, I’m sure Barnes and Noble has seen a sales boost from us. While we will still have to pay for the electronic Kindle books, it is cheaper. New releases (i.e. ‘Hardbacks’) are $9.99 significantly less than the usual $25, even taking into account the ‘member’ discounts.
  2. Terry is tired of finishing a book on the train and then having nothing to read until we make a trip to the bookstore. We tend to ‘stock up’ at the bookstore, but we read a lot of series and if they are missing one book in the middle, you’re stuck until you find it. No more I say!!!
  3. It’s ‘Green’ YAY for saving a few trees!
  4. Less books around the house = less clutter/stuff to store = a ‘neat’ bookcase (something I have personally never had).

So there you have it, a few reasons why we decided the Kindle was a good purchase for us this Christmas. We’ll get them in before Christmas, so we’ll be able to take them on our trip home and give them a test run on the plane. Of course, I still have 2 paperbacks already purchased that I need to read first, so depending on how long that takes I may make the switch after.

So, does anyone out there Kindle? Do you like it??

Dare to Give Homemade Gifts!

Like the cookie eating, I mean cookie ‘baking’ Dare to DIY, this is one I can definitely handle! I love making and giving homemade gifts! I love that it takes time (sounds CRAZY, I know, but it’s true!). That’s time you spend thinking about the recipient, thinking of how they will use/enjoy what you are making,Β  and thinking back on your friendship/relationship with the person. Or, in some cases, time wondering if they will know what it is (!).

While I do have a pretty awesome (if I do say so myself!) holiday gift in progress, it is a bigger undertaking than I originally thought (typical), so it might end up being a 2010 birthday present, opps! But since I need to keep that under wraps, I thought I would share a few other gift ideas with you:

Le Floof Scarf: made from a dreamy super fluffy, or floofy (technical term), yarn. This one took one ball of yarn for the scarf + tassels with a smidge left over! It is a simple garter stitch with large needles to give a lacey effect. I think any lady would love to wrap up in this!

Le Floof Scarf

Crochet Flower Brooches: I love these! I could wear a different one every day of the year and not get bored with them! #1 is made with handspun wool yarn and features a vintage button. This is definitely the ‘dressier’ of the two and features a variety of colors, from chocolate brown to peach, YUM!

Crochet Flower Brooch 1

#2 is made with handpainted yarn and features lavender, teal blue and a nice rusty orange. Definitely a striking combo that I think would look GREAT with a khaki blazer and teal sweater. (And teal pumps. Obviously I haven’t thought about this AT ALL.)

Crochet Flower Brooch 2

Oven Mitt and Angel Washcloth: I made this for a holiday gift swap I’m participating in. Both items are crocheted with 100% cotton yarn that is plied with a metallic thread.

Oven Mitt and Angel Washcloth

Toddler cap: a fair-isle style knit cap in two colors. In this case, I choose a family favorite, LSU purple and gold! I think these are GREAT because they are super fast and the two-color design makes them amenable to any sports team’s colors!

Toddler cap

Mittens: As you may know, I started a pair of Bella Mittens recently. I hoped to finish them this weekend, but alas, I was too busy for knitting! I am on the second one and it’s going well. I think these may actually become a gift for a friend……..and I already have yarn to start another pair for me!

Bella Mitten

So there you have it. A selection of gift options! Now, back to that knitting….

(PS Blog formatting in progress, so my “Leave a comment” button is really really really tiny, but it’s the hyperlinked thing below!)

Sha-Recipe Holiday Swap

This year I participated in the Holiday Super Swap for the Sha-Recipe Ravelry Group. In this group we do a recipe swap every month with a different theme, but then every so often, we do a ‘Super Swap’ where we share recipes, a fun kitchen gadget, and a handmade item. Well this weekend I received my surprise swap gift in the mail all the way from Australia!!!! Here is the awesome package my partner sent me:

Here is a list of all the goodies (clockwise from bottom left):

  • a set of tea towels
  • mixed jelly candies (these are SO GOOD!!) You can’t see the top of the bag in this picture….but it was already open πŸ™‚
  • a snowflake cookie cutter
  • cafe style paper muffin wraps
  • silver and gold mini-muffin cups
  • the coolest ever little set of measuring cups that are magnetic! I’ve never seen any like this but they are awesome and nest inside each other to store!
  • cupcake and cake stencils. I can’t wait to try these out!!
  • Two (yes, count them TWO!) checkerboard-style pot holders in green/white and red/white. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these because they are cute and festive, but not overtly Christmassy, so I’ll use them all year πŸ™‚
  • And on top of all that, some fabulous yarn!!! I nice mossy green color in a wool/bamboo/silk blend that is yummy and soft (I keep petting it!)

What a fabulous gift this was! I was just shocked at all the generosity when I opened it. My partner definitely went above and beyond the call of duty on this one, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

December 2009 Goals

I can NOT believe it’s December. Seriously. Like, pick me up off the floor because where has this year gone?!?! There was so much I wanted to do and so much I actually did. I am planning even more for next year, but first I have to get through December. I’m changing things up a bit and I hope to update you on it all!

1-Finish our custom DIY cabinet for the kitchen – We started this over Thanksgiving but it’s going much slower than we hoped. That’s OK, we’ll get it done. I hope it comes out as good as I think it will!!

2-Christmas shop – obvious….got to do this!

3-PARTY!!!! Here is a few of our upcoming shin-digs:

  • Christmas dinner for the Friendship of Salem volunteers, Sunday Dec. 6
  • 2nd Anniversary, Tues, Dec. 15
  • Work Christmas party, Thursday Dec. 17
  • Work super awesome say-goodbye to one of our best ever technician’s who’s going to physician’s assistant school party, Friday Dec. 18
  • Belated Anniversary day out on the town, Saturday Dec. 19
  • Christmas trip home, Dec 22-28

Wow, that’s a lot of partying!!

4-Start new tradition with Mom- we’re making a Happy Birthday Jesus cake with my nephew for Christmas Day. She wants to do this every year.

5-Be merry! For me this is a month to enjoy, so a short list is right up my alley πŸ˜‰

November Wrap-up

What was on this crazy list? Let’s have a look-see:

1-Bloggidy-blog makeover: Looks OK with the new header, but I would like to do more

2-DIY Blog party: LOVING IT!

3-Kitchen updates: I really need to install the knobs/pulls on our kitchen cabinets and seal the granite countertops.We have everything to do both, but haven’t. FAIL! We are working on things slowly, but these are still on the to-so list

4-Holiday crafting: I absolutely must get cracking on the gift list. These currently include:

  • crocheted pillow -FAIL!
  • pillow pal- FAIL!
  • kitcheny goodness for Sha-Recipe holiday swap partner- CHECK!
  • ornament(s) for my December 07 Nestie swap partner- purchased
  • Christmas stockings for the puppies- one down!

5-Weekly Weigh-Ins: Well….I tried. But, alas, our scale is psycho. Or, just doesn’t does work well because our floors aren’t perfectly flat so if you move it by an inch your weight will change by as much as 2lbs

6-Craft room bonanza: I have a plan. It is in the works. I did clean up somewhat but nothing blog-worthy yet.

7-Try a new recipe: DONE!

8-Spinning: In progress! I also have a new spindle on the way because the one I have is in a sad state, so hopefully things will pick up soon.

9-Plan winter ski trip: We have a plan but haven’t booked anything yet.

10-Puppy training: Mickey is now a PRO at sitting, but we are still having difficulty with ‘down’

So, I guess the bad news is that there is not a lot of ‘dones’ but the good news is that there are very few fails!!! We really just have a lot in progress, but that is going in the right direction!