We came back from Mt. Hood yesterday morning and zipped right into packing and IKEA-ing and getting things ready for the move to the new house… oy. A million thanks to Diane, who tirelessly packed my craft room with me for hours yesterday — she is a rock star! If you can believe it, 40+ boxes later my craft room looks a lot like this:
Tonight is a Blazers game on the radio while I wrap up my Enid Collins bags and Temporama, and this weekend is the big six-block move. See you next week!
It snowed all night last night and we woke up to this prettiness:
I feel totally and completely spoiled — I think the last time I saw any snow at all was on our day trip to Yosemite in spring 2005, and glancing over to the window is like a Christmas card come to life. So we have one more day of movies and fires and snowy views and then it’s back to Portland to pack boxes like there’s no tomorrow. But I do have a few fun things planned: a quick visit with Cathy while she’s in town, and hitting the big sale at Cool Cottons! I just got an email about it:
This week we are having a “WE DON’T FEEL LIKE COUNTING IT FOR INVENTORY” sale. Over half of our fabric is on sale for just $6 per yard!! Some select fabrics just $4 per yard!
Look for the fabric marked with a red dot… prices effective Wednesday Dec. 26th through Sunday Dec. 30th.
If you go:
2417 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland
Andrew and I are up at the cabin on Mt. Hood and it snowed yesterday! So today is my first-ever white Christmas and I have to say it is very nice after 32 straight of the non-snowy variety. It’s gorgeous and clear out and the trees across the river are all snowy and pretty. I hope you are having a lovely Christmas, whether you are celebrating with a tree and a fancy dinner, movies and Chinese food, or watching the red-and-green Blazers game… we’re doing a little of all three with some long-distance phone calls thrown in.
I thought I’d post some photos from our visit to the cabin and then I better get back to lying around reading, watching movies, and looking out the big windows at all this pretty snow!
Thanks so much for the sweet comments and emails about our new house!! We get the keys this afternoon and I’m so excited. Moving I’m not so excited about, but it’s only six blocks from our apartment so at least the whole process will be pretty streamlined…
Things have been insanely busy lately — I have a huge work project due tomorrow, all the pre-holiday and Crafty Wonderland stuff has been fun but ridiculously hectic, and the house details have just taken over every other waking moment. But yesterday morning Andrew and I decided to steal just one evening back from the craziness. So we ran over to the Rose Garden to get last-minute Blazers tickets for the game that night, and it was just the thing.
I can’t say it was a pretty game, and a lot of the second and third quarter left me wincing, but the Blazers sure turned it on at the end! Everyone was screaming and cheering and it was so much fun. Nine wins in a row! I wore my lucky charm: my gorgeous Charcoal Designs sewing machine-and-thimble earrings. Every time I wear them to a game, the Blazers win! I think it must be the red that does it.
What can I say, I moved to Portland in 1997 and fell for the Blazers immediately. I never cared about the NBA before, I was a college basketball fan through and through, but it was so fun to go to home games (you could get $10 tickets!) and hang out with a big group of people to watch the rare TV game. But I think the turning point for me was the disastrous three-way trade that exiled Brian Grant and stuck us with spendy, under-achieving Shawn Kemp, closely followed by the Blazers snapping up a sex offender just as the Sonics dropped him in disgust. Suddenly the team was pretty much all guys you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley: several relentless animal abusers, the aforementioned wife-assaulter/babysitter-rapist, a millionaire deadbeat dad/coke addict, and a handful of habitual DUI-getters. I stopped watching and stopped pulling for them and just gave up on them for a couple of years. Never mind that they couldn’t get close to .500, I would have stuck with that, but they were a bunch of thugs.
Then this year we finally dumped the last of the Jail Blazers and got some guys who are actually nice, fly their parents and grandparents to Portland for Christmas, take the whole team out to dinner when they win Western Conference Player of the Week, and who are just so much fun to watch! And I am back on the Trail Blazer bandwagon. Oden in ’08 is definitely worth the wait!
If you’re a fan too, don’t miss Blazer’s Edge, a daily blog with super engaging, intelligent posts and comments, and as insightful a take on sports as I’ve ever read anywhere. I just found it this month and I’m reading it every day now.
The next home game is Friday, and then there’s a fun one on Christmas day — the Blazers (in red) will host the Sonics (in green!). I wish we could go but we’ll be up at Mt. Hood (yay!) and watching it on TV! There are still tickets though, if you want to grab a couple!
Speaking of tickets, I have to add one last plug: Andrew is downright evangelical about the Entertainment Book and the many, many deals and discounts within, our copy sees serious action. And in the 2008 Portland version, page G1 offers 3 coupons for buy-one-get-one-free Blazers tickets! We got half-off $49 seats [section 301, row B, seats 20 + 21] for last night’s game, by far the best view I’ve ever gotten there, and used another coupon for dinner at Chino Saigon just up the street. So awesome.
Well, I can finally announce one of the things that has been keeping me busy lately: Andrew and I just bought our first house! It’s in the neighborhood here in Southeast Portland, my favorite part of town. We signed a kazillion documents today and we get the keys on Thursday! I can’t wait.
Here it is!
It’s very sweet inside — it was built in 1949 and 1950 using plans from the Oregonian back when they used to sell house blueprints, which I think is so cool! My favorite parts are the sunny yellow kitchen, the beautiful pink princess-y bathroom, and the super fun downstairs rec room… and one of the upstairs bedrooms is earmarked as my craft-room-to-be:
Hopefully this will explain some of my preoccupation lately, I haven’t been updating as often as I’d like to. Once we are all settled in I can’t wait to post some new craft projects! Next week I’m going to finish up our Christmas stockings, which are all cut out and ready to fancify with felt and glitter. Pictures to come soon!
I’m happy to announce that I’ll be at the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale this Sunday!
I’ll be sharing a table with Lee and we’re right next to Jenny of CRAFT: magazine. Please stop by and say hi if you have a chance! I’ll have skirt kits, ornaments, Bead Simple kits, and signed copies of Super Crafty for sale.
It should be a fantastic sale — I’m really looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!
I’m so busy this week that I thought I’d do a re-post from last year’s (Dec 06) getcrafty column with the list of fun handmade holiday projects I put together then. Disclaimer: I haven’t had time to check to see if every single link is still active, so forgive me if you hit a dead end somewhere! I’ll keep adding fresh ideas to the top, starting with a few I really loved this week:
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I keep seeing all these great handmade tutorials all over the place for making everything from cards and holiday decorations to presents for everyone on your list… so I’ve put together links to a bunch of free online how-to projects for you to check out, if you haven’t already spotted them. Happy DIYing!
*now updated with new projects at the top of the sections, with more to come!
The CRAFT blog has cool new tutorials for making paper stars, a video for stylishly wrapping presents with fabric, DIY gift tags, and fun-fur mini tabletop trees. And One Hour Craft is offering a gold star for the top of your Christmas tree how-to.
Crafty Chica created a new collage wrapping paper project that’s super-customizable! Kiddley has a ton of cool kid-friendly decorations to make: a gumdrop wreath, paper garlands, Christmas pinatas, a pom-pom garland, and a paper doll/ornament.
Natalie has posted some amazing new projects over at the CRAFT blog — a Santa peanut ornament, stenciled holiday cards, crocheted snowflakes, photo ornaments, Star Wars holiday collage cards, and a MAKE magazine podcast on making woodcut cards… wow!
Alicia of Posie Gets Cozy wrote up a beautifully photographed tutorial on making your own Santa Lucia dolls this week. And Cake + Pie has a very cute stockings how-to, including the finishing touches.
Hillary Lang has posted a Wee Wonderfuls Stitchette elf pattern on her site… so adorable. She’s also shown how to make adorable ornaments and decorations using cotton balls, of all things!
Kathy Cano Murillo, AKA Crafty Chica, has a gorgeous round-up of past holiday projects on her blog — everything from mini mirror garlands to glittered cards, ornaments, and boxes to make your holidays sparkle!
CRAFT magazine’s site has a projects page with free downloadable how-tos and patterns — the bird stencils would look great on cards or windows! You can even get their new patterns automatically delivered podcast-style via iTunes. Plus, the holiday projects section of their amazing blog has all kinds of ornament how-tos — I love the Star Wars dreidel and ornament especially!
And Sunset magazine has put together a lovely mix of articles on making wreaths and garlands, easy ornaments (I love the photo ones in particular), mod paper ornaments, centerpieces and table toppers, creating your own gift wrap, and making a modern menorah and advent calendar. Sunset is one of my favorite magazines — it’s very crafty!
One Hour Craft has a tutorial for making a quick, adjustable bracelet, and Vickie Howell added a new holiday-themed knitting needles roll to her site this week. And Christina Loff wrote up a great snow globes how-to using miniature figurines and baby-food jars.
Cutting Edge is offering a pattern for a fleece pocket scarf, appliqued with snowflakes. And Laural of thimble.ca has an inspiring project index, offering tutorials on some of her cutest projects, from a zippered pouch to a super-simple belt. Check out her recipes, too!
Sunset also has recipes up for cocoa in a jar — classic, Mexican, peppermint and mocha. Don’t miss their Gifts from the Kitchen section — spices, liqueurs, and delicious things to bake. And then there’s a fun soaps projects to make, too.
Check out the Craftster winter holidays forum for lots of ideas, too. And of course there are inspiring how-tos all over the boards — check out this row-counter bracelet tutorial by skutterat — the perfect gift for all the hard-core knitters in your life!
Speaking of knitting, why not try making Aunt Purl’s Easy Knitted Felted Bracelet Bag? It takes less than two hours, start to finish! Ansley of Bleu Arts has posted a Rolled Brim Boyfriend Hat pattern too, as well as a great lip balm tutorial. If you want to whip up some bath salts or salt scrub to go with it for a whole bath and beauty package, I just posted an easy tutorial for making two kinds — coffee-cinnamon and green tea-ginger.
One of my favorite sites for inspiration, CraftyPod, has amazing podcasts and projects, including plenty sorted by type: check out all the Holiday Crafts, Bead Crafts, and Paper Crafts Sister Diane has put together.
The wonderfully redesigned not martha site has a great things to make section, including projects like wineglass charms and party crackers. And for the sewers on your list, how about a darling little wrist pincushion from My Little Mochi?
Maria Binns’s One Hour Craft has an incredible array of quick projects to make — look through the categories (like the All Time Favourites and Great as Presents sections) for projects like Kanzashi cloth flowers and customized stamps.
I just added a few gift wrapping 101 ideas for recycled present packaging.
Adorn has some pretty handmade projects up from their print issues, too — crochet some little flowers or make some paper-covered boxes… perfect to add to your handmade gifts. Also, be sure to take a spin around Nice Package on flickr for tons of inventive ideas on wrapping and packaging all your presents this year.
I would love to update with more ideas so please e-mail me (susanstars at yahoo dot com) or comment and I’ll add your suggestions… happy handmade holidays!
Just wanted to mention over here that I posted a mini-interview on the Adorn blog with Nancy Flynn about her new craft book, Jeaneology, this afternoon. She and her publisher have generously offered up five copies of the book to readers, so head over there and comment for a chance to win!
In sad news, I read last night that Blueprint is vanishing after the January/February issue. Apparently some of the content will be folded over into Martha Stewart Weddings, and the Bluelines blog and Blueprint site will stay active, but the print magazine is done. I’m really disappointed — I loved the magazine and the look of it was just gorgeous. I’m treasuring my back issues!
And I do love all things Martha, but I’ve been married for two years and I don’t particularly want to buy/subscribe to MS Weddings and flip past all the engagement ring and white dress ads and reception features to get to the lifestyle stuff. (And from the comments on these entries, apparently a lot of Apartment Therapy and Blueprint readers feel the same way!) I wish Blueprint could live on independently, become part of MSL, or go quarterly… it really was amazing and it really wasn’t very wedding-y.
Here are just two of the zillion ideas I loved from the December/January issue:
The gorgeous pink Christmas tree, love those glistening soap-bubble glass orb ornaments!
And such a cool spin on displaying vintage costume jewelry… subtracts all the preciousness.
I’ll miss you, Blueprint!
I made a pretty gigantic batch of vegetable soup last week and just finished the last bowl today. It was such a nice color — a crazy vivid beet pink! Two quarts went out to friends, and Andrew and I polished off the rest handily.
If you want to make yourself some too, this is my very easy, very flexible recipe:
1 cup barley + water for cooking it
3 containers of vegetable or chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch of carrots, chopped
1 bunch of beets, chopped
1 can of corn
1 can of Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Bring water to a boil and cook the barley for 40 minutes until it is nearly done. Drain the excess water away and add 1/2 container of broth and the onion, carrots, and beets. Bring it back to a boil and simmer it for 10 or 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and corn and stir in the rest of the broth, bringing it back to a lively simmer. Let it cook until the vegetables are a nice consistency, and serve with Parmesan.
Makes about 10 servings and freezes well. Like most soups, it’s even better the next day…
ps: don’t forget, if you want to enter to win the Adorn craft book contest, tomorrow (Tuesday 12/11, by 5 pm EST) is the deadline!
ps 2: a warm welcome to beautiful baby Wren, who came along this morning! I have never been so happy to edit a post!
Okay, unlike most (many?) 33-year-olds who celebrate Christmas, I’ve never put up a tree before. Andrew and I have always gone to visit our families on the East Coast for the whole holiday stretch, so we never bothered. But this year we are staying in Oregon so we went to Michaels this morning and got a 4-foot silver tree* (inspired by Mariko’s gorgeous pink one) and decorated it this afternoon, while it was snowing even! It felt like a movie, I can’t believe it actually snowed.
Then I went to Church of Craft this afternoon and made four pretty paper strip ornaments (thanks, Diane!) and added them to the mix. I just love seeing all the ornaments together. Most of them are handmade or vintage, but I got a pack of $1.99 mini silver rounds at Fred Meyer to fill in the gaps here and there, too.
And I just love that when I came home I could see it sparkling in the window!
*If you are also looking for a sparkly tree, Michaels has four-foot pre-lit pink, silver, and green-gold ones on sale for $19.99 this week. We got the last silver one that was out at the Clackamas/82nd Michaels but they had tons of the pink and green-gold left, and I bet the other Michaels have all three.