Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2010

Handmade Gifts

I really enjoy making gifts for other people but I wonder how the receivers feel.  I know there are some people who really like a handmade gift and appreciate the effort and time that went into it, but on the downside, when you get a handmade gift that just "isn't you" or doesn't fit, there's no exchanging it.  This year, I tried to keep my handmade gift projects limited to people I thought would enjoy them the most, or things specifically mentioned.  The exception is that I can't help making cute little sweaters for my niece and goddaughter, so I think they are going to be stuck with some crazy-Aunt-Karen gifts!  Hopefully when they're old enough to start telling me what they want, I will not take it personally.  Or maybe they'll think my stuff's wicked-awesome fashion and ask for more!  Anyway, here are my handmade gifts for the year. Saroyan  for Kristina As you can tell from the photos, I finished it last spring!  I have always wanted to try

Winding Down

As Christmas was winding down, I enjoyed the very last of my Holiday Tea in my new Alice cup. I'm looking forward to the clean slate of a new year.

Merry Christmas!!

Crafter's kids:  someone put a fabric swatch on Baby Jesus. I hope you are having a merry and meaningful day!

Random Review Friday: Independent Lens, Between the Folds

(It's not quite Friday but almost...) Last Friday, as I previously mentioned, BFJ took the day off from work, and we had a leisurely lunch out.  We sat down at a table where someone had left a newspaper, and I happened across an article about the movie Between the Folds .  It sounded like a great film for our whole family so we looked it up that evening on Netflix and called the boys in to watch.  I couldn't believe how much moaning and groaning there was!  I told them they had to watch the first ten minutes and then they could leave.  I'm pleased to tell you that they all stayed to the end!  Origami is the subject of this movie, but it's not just about paper cranes.  This documentary really speaks to the ingenuity of art and the human mind.  During the middle of the film, Speed got up and brought back a stack of copy paper and began folding and folding.  I knew this movie would connect with him especially.  Many aspects of origami are showcased in this film, begin

Lunar Eclipse

Did you stay up to watch the lunar eclipse?  Zoom kept reminding me that it was tonight, and wanted me to wake him up, so I did.  Hey, no school this week anyway! Here's my first picture, before I woke him up.  And a little later...  These two pictures are basically the same time but different exposure.  In the second one, you can see how the moon is turning red.  You can see a star in the left third of the picture, toward the bottom.  Here it is almost complete.  Again at the longer exposure first to see the red (and with stars), and then the same phase but shorter exposure to see the eclipse!  And then we were having so much fun that we decided to try and shoot Orion.  I can't believe I got such good pictures, I've actually learned something about photography!  I know lots of people have great pictures of constellations and the moon but this is the first time I've ever gotten better pictures than I expected, instead of much worse

More December

I finally got a picture of some snow on the garden fence.  After a few hours, it was gone.  The best Christmas gift we've gotten so far (okay, the only one) was the roast from Aunt Mary, packed with dry ice!  BFJ happened to take the day off Friday and we spent several minutes putting chunks of the dry ice in a glass of water.  We saved the rest in the freezer to show the boys, but by the time they got home from school, it had disappeared!  I guess we should have left it in the packaging.  I finished a gift for someone from school, and already delivered it, it's the Just Enough Ruffles scarf from Laura Chou.  I have one, and I love it, so I knew it would be a good gift!  I have several other projects in the works and hope to get them all done before Christmas, except one.  I started a blanket for my boys, a snuggle-on-the-couch-watching-cartoons sort of blanket, but I have had other things going on and missed my goal of December 1, so it has been on the back burner. 

December Moments

First, thank you for your thoughtful comments about holiday stress.  I have been enjoying my month since I last posted.  Sometimes it's about frame of mind!  Secondly, Anna asked whether it wasn't time for a picture of my garden in the snow, so I took this picture yesterday morning.  We have had three snows this fall, and each time I think I'll wait until it piles up a little, but by the time an hour has passed, the snow is all gone.  I guess I should be watering the yard still; we could be having some nice green grass!  I've mentioned my mom's homemade soup recipe.  We've had lots of runny noses and sore throats around here lately, and when I saw my sister-in-law Thursday morning, she was also sick.  I knew it was time to make some chicken noodle soup.  My niece helped me roll out the noodles.  She also had fun getting her hands floury like Aunt Karen was doing.  After my sister-in-law was feeling better, she brought me the most delicious smelling lemo

Now If Only I Had a Catchy Title.

New "wreath" for the bathroom.  Someone asked if I decorate every room, and I don't, but I decided to! As I look back through the more than 30,000 (literally!) pictures I have in my files, there is a distinct lack of images from the holidays and winter. Is it because I like shooting outside, and it is cold during winter? Or is it because of the light? Or lack of inviting scenery? Perhaps it is because I haven’t taken the time to pause and notice the details like I do during other seasons. When I discover a new, beautiful blog, I frequently go back through their archives from Decembers past, hoping for inspiring pictures, and general eye candy. I have been perusing my usual faves this year, hoping for lots of red and green, but there isn’t as much as I expected. Is this because everyone’s keeping secrets ‘til Christmas? I had been thinking about this at the beginning of the season and intended to post pictures of all my best, most fun, most beautiful. Howev

Holiday Cookies

In anticipation of all the sweets of the season, I picked up the Holiday Cookies edition of Martha Stewart a few weeks ago.  Finally this week we found time together to make a batch and we started with Double-Chocolate Cookies with Holiday Stencils (p. 62).  Upon the first read through, I didn't catch that only part of the chocolate was to be melted, but fortunately it did not adversely affect the finally result too much.  The first few actually had stencils but by the end we were just going for the free-form powdered sugar dusting!   Pretty easy, and very good!  (And all gone.)