Archive for December, 2007

Happy Coincidences

For my family, Christmas Day is often filled with coincidences. Perhaps we all have the same Christmas elves whispering in our ears at night? Sometimes things work out perfectly, and one of us receives a variety of different gifts on a particular theme: though it wasn’t planned, it couldn’t have worked out better if it were. Other times, we aren’t so lucky and one of us gets the exact same gift from several people. One year, everyone gave and received pizza stones. We laughed as the day wore on and pizza stone after pizza stone emerged from each neatly wrapped package.

This year, I experienced a happy coincidence of a different sort. As I’ve mentioned here before, I participated in the Holiday Ornament Exchange hosted by cake & pie and freshly{blended}. Since more than 600 swappers from all over the world signed up for the exchange, we were organized into groups of ten. I received many lovely ornaments, and one of my favorites was a little green fleece Christmas tree from Heather at Bumblebird. Imagine my surprise on Christmas Day when I unwrapped a gift from my brother and his girlfriend to find another lovely creation by Heather! It was a darling little elf this time, but of course I recognized her style immediately– so cute, soft and cuddly. Now the elf and the tree are reunited and will be treasured Christmas decorations always– all thanks to another happy Christmas coincidence.

I hope your New Year is filled with many happy coincidences of your own.


December 31, 2007 at 4:47 pm 1 comment

A Belated Holiday Post, and More Sewing for Charity

I’ve been away from the blog too long!   I had a lovely holiday and I’m happy to report that most of the gifts I gave this year were things that I made by hand.   I ordered a few books, CDs, and DVDs from Amazon, but I actually made it through the Christmas season without setting foot in a single store (well, except for the craft store.)   In the weeks before Christmas, I managed not to stress myself out by trying to do too much, and it felt great.   It helped that I started sewing and crafting several weeks in advance.   My husband and I received many thoughtful gifts, and spent a great day with loved ones.   We are very lucky indeed.

I intended to photograph many of the gifts I made and post them after Christmas so as not to spoil the surprise.   (Aprons, and softies, and pillows, oh my!)    Unfortunately, that task became lost in the flurry of activity around here– hence the quietness of the blog lately.   I thought of a possible remedy today, inspired by this entry on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog.   If you received one of my handmade gifts this year, and you’re willing, take a snapshot of the gift being used in some way.   You can be in the picture if you want to, or you can play shy, whatever you like.   If you e-mail the picture to me, I’ll post it here.   (By the way, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve for some faraway and not-so-faraway friends too… let’s just extend the “holiday” season until the Chinese New Year.  That means I have until February 7th to send out a few more goodies!)

Lately I’ve noticed that much of the traffic this blog receives is from people using search engines to look for charity sewing projects and ending up at this post.   I LOVE that people are seeking out opportunities to give their time and creative talents to help others, and I want to be more helpful in that regard.   Here is a great project that I discovered today via Futuregirl’s Craft Blog :


It’s a handmade baby blanket drive being organized by Khadija at Barakah Life.   If you can knit, crochet, or sew a blanket, then this is for you!   Khadija will be traveling to West Africa and hand-delivering all the handmade blankets to new and expectant mothers there.   If you’d like to send any wishes or prayers for the recipient, she will even create a special gift card for you and tie it to your blanket.   This is just the inspiration and motivation I needed to start a baby quilt.   (Check out the adorable blanket already crocheted by Futuregirl. )   What a wonderful way for a new life to begin– with a small good deed from someone on the other side of the world.   Happy crafting!

December 30, 2007 at 8:59 pm 2 comments

Snow in The Suburbs


Every branch big with it,
Bent every twig with it;
Every fork like a white web-foot;
Every street and pavement mute;
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward, when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
The palings are glued together like a wall,
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,
Whereupon immediately
A snow-lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him and showers his head and eyes,
And overturns him,
And near inurns him,
And lights on a nether twig, when its brush
Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope,
Up which, with feeble hope,
A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin;
And we take him in.

–Thomas Hardy


December 20, 2007 at 9:24 pm 1 comment

I’m a Winner!

I won a giveaway on one of the cool blogs that I read, Small Fox in a Big World. I am so impressed by the generosity of bloggers who share the benefit of their talent and experience in the form of tutorials, patterns, and even their own work! That last link, by the way, is my prize. Yippee! Now I’m dreaming up my own giveaway… it will have to wait until after the holidays because I have way too much to do as it is, but stay tuned.

I’m still a sewing novice. I know my way around a sewing machine at this point, but it seems that almost everything I sew involves some kind of “first”– my first zipper, my first dart, my first bias strip. Because of this, I lack the ability to determine at the outset of a project whether it will be easy or difficult. Several projects I have started, thinking they would be simple, have turned out to be rather time-consuming and confusing. I grumble about it and then try to remind myself how quickly the project will come together the second time I do it.

Here is a project that actually was quick and easy, even the first time! It took only about an hour, including hand-stitching the eyes and mouth. (The rest is sewn by machine.) I made it from a pattern in the wonderful book, Softies, by Therese Laske. I had considered buying this book and then I saw it at Urban Outfitters last week for half price, so that was that. There are several cool projects in this book that I look forward to trying, and here is my first:

Yes, it is what you think it is.

Okay, I guess it takes a certain sense of style and humor to appreciate this one. It also helps if you have a pet who leaves you little surprises around the house. See how nervous he looks? That’s because he knows how mad you’re going to be when you find him on your chair.

December 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm 3 comments

Holiday Ornament Swap ’07

While stranded by some nasty winter weather this weekend, I crafted up a storm! I don’t dare post about most of my projects because they are Christmas presents and inquiring minds who read my blog will want to know.

Here’s something I can post about today. I mentioned a while back that I was participating in Cake+Pie and freshly{blended}‘s Holiday Ornament swap this year. I mailed mine out on Saturday, and here they are:


I designed these myself based on Japanese kokeshi. I have a small collection of kokeshi, and my mother suggested them as an alternative to the matryoshka ornaments I was thinking of doing, which, while very cute, seem to be everywhere at the moment.

They didn’t come out quite the way I’d imagined (as things seldom do), but I’m happy with them… and happy they’re done. Many thanks to my fellow swappers in Group 44… the ornaments I’ve received so far are fabulous, and it’s been so much fun opening those packages!! Once I’ve received all of them, I’ll post a collage.

December 17, 2007 at 5:19 pm 3 comments

Thousand Words Thursday

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree…


How lovely are thy branches!

December 13, 2007 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Bazaar Bizarre Boston

I went to Bazaar Bizarre Boston this afternoon. I didn’t buy much but I really enjoyed seeing what all the local (and some not-so-local) crafters are up to. If you weren’t able to make it, here are some of my favorite vendors from the event. They all have websites where you can check out their wares.



This table was very popular. There were lots of cool monster stickers, magnets and pins with a crafting theme. I picked up some monster stickers with sayings like, “I Make Stuff” and “I Deserve a Cookie.”


My Paper Crane

OMG, so so cute. Cuddly food toys. I love the ice cream sandwich and the sticky bun. I cracked up when I saw the toast that was sad because it was moldy and green!


Pepperberry Crochet

I loved these adorable crochet creatures– especially the octopi, gingerbread men, and bunnies. There was even what appeared to be a bloodthirsty zombie, which somehow managed to be cute too. I just noticed on the Bazaar Bizarre website that this crafter lives in Salem, Massachusetts. So do I… shout out!!


Sewing Stars

I loved their apple-head dolls– they even had a kit for you to make your own. They also had very nice zippered pouches.


So Softies

Cool crocheted creatures and cards. I loved the card with the peanut butter toast saying to the jelly toast, “We belong together.” So sweet.


Soto Softies

Lovely, modern, and very original softies.

What a gathering of talent and creativity. I will definitely be back next year!

December 9, 2007 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

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December 2007