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December has flown by along with the rest of 2011. I’ll have much to discuss in the coming weeks, but for now I wanted to leave you with this.

I hope you have a safe and joyous New Year’s!


I’ve been super lucky this year in the vintage ornament department. My mom brought be a box from Colorado last month. And I inherited some from my grandma when we cleaned out her house earlier this year.

Unfortunately, my tree is a bit on the small side. We’ve decided (and I’m really trying) to keep things simple this year. That means no big tree. So the ornaments are going to have to find another home. I have a few ideas, but I haven’t decided for sure where they’ll go. Luckily, there’s no shortage of inspiration on Pinterest.

All I know for certain, is that I won’t be making a wreath. I love them; I think they’re beautiful. But I’m a klutz, and I live with three animals (J included). It wouldn’t last a week around here. So I’m looking for ideas that will offer these precious, vintage items a bit more security. Perhaps some sort of vessel would suffice.

Any ideas?

For several years now I’ve wanted to make a December Daily album. I’ve admired them on Flickr, stockpiled ideas on Pinterest, and amassed an embarrassing amount of product for the sole purpose of creating my own. Last year I started an album…but I didn’t even make it a week into the process before giving up. My total and utter failure was due to two mistakes: 1) I didn’t create a foundation album but instead tried to build a page from scratch every day and 2) I thought I needed to have some momentous occasion to document each day instead of simply recording my life as it was. This year I’ve decided to go for it. I’ve made an album, put together a tray of supplies, and am focussing on the simple realities of my everyday life. For once I’m excited about the upcoming month instead of anxious and stressed. So without further ado, here’s a look at what I’ve got so far.

For the cover I used an old photo album I’ve had lying around (since high school – yeah, I’m a bit of a hoarder). I covered the outside with kraft paper and used vintage wrapping paper on the inside.

The pages are 4″ x 6″ – a mini album, for sure. Less page area = less pressure for me. I also chose not to number the pages. This way I can move them around based on what works best for each day. In other words, I can fit the page to the day rather than trying to make the day work with the page.

I included a lot of pockets & envelopes for all of the bits & bobs I’m sure to collect. And since the pages are so small, I wanted to be sure to have a place to keep all the things that can’t be attached directly to a page.

The pages are a combination of the 12 Days of Christmas collection from My Mind’s Eye and Dear Lizzy Christmas from American Crafts, as well as few vintage papers and others from my stash.

The above page is made from a piece of (Red) wrapping paper I bought at Hallmark several years back. Luckily I still have a few pieces left, so you’ll likely see it in future projects.

The pockets are made from a baseball card holder I cut down to fit. In the top pocket I put a little faux snow and the phrase “let it snow,” then I hand-sewed it shut.

I plan to include hole-punched 4″ x 6″ photos throughout the album, as well as add smaller images to the existing pages. Hopefully this will inspire me to take more pictures this month.

The doily page is just vellum I stamped using the Martha Stewart Crafts doilies stamp set and Staz On Opaque Cotton White.

I love this aqua & candy cane card! It was a late addition to the album; I just picked them up from the dollar section at Michaels earlier this week. Love that dollar section! You’ll see the coordinating red envelope as a later page.

Another baseball card holder sheet…I love embellishing these.

In the very back of the album I added an envelope to keep extra photos in. It’s actually the envelope you get with your receipt when you order from Anthropologie. I love it when I can reuse things like that.

There you have it! I’ll share the finished pages as I go, so stay tuned. See the list below for links to the products I used. And if you want to see larger images, you can find them on Flickr.


Tomorrow is the big day! I can’t wait to enjoy some turkey, stuffing, and all the fixin’s. I’ll be taking a break till Monday. I hope you all enjoy the long weekend!


Have you been following Sew, Mama, Sew’s Handmade Holiday posts? I have. And there have been some great projects posted so far. Here’s a peak at my to-do list.

1. Make one of these for myself. No more pins in the couch cushions!

2. Make a few of these for the house, and maybe some as gifts too.

3. Find a use for this fabric. So cute!

4. Make these, brew a pot of coffee, and sit down with a good book (maybe this one).

5. I can imagine so many uses for this bag. And it might just be the perfect gift for a certain someone on my list.

I can’t wait to see what they post next, even if it means my to-do list will keep getting longer! What’s on your to-do list?


Maybe it’s the cold weather, or maybe it’s the fact that Christmas decorations are already all over the stores, but I’m already starting to get in the holiday mood. It’s shaping up to be a pretty low-key holiday year around here, which is definitely a good thing. As of right now, we’re not planning any major trips to visit family and we’re not doing our semi-annual Thanksmas feast this year. We are thinking of doing a small dinner with some friends, but that should be the only party we host. So instead of being occupied with menus and decorations, my mind is full of other fun things, like crafty projects and presents. I’m planning on opening up the Shoppe for the holiday season. Last year went pretty well, and I was happy with the results of my efforts. I have some new products in the works, and I’m excited to get them finished so that I can share them with you.

As for the presents, J and I already purchased our big gifts. J’s big project for the winter is to re-do our basement. There are some structural issues that need to be taken care, and since we’ll have to rip out part of the existing floor and ceiling to do so, we decided to just go ahead with the major overhaul we’d been dreaming of. It’s not something that will get finished quickly. We’re basically stripping the basement down to nothing and starting over – new floors, new ceiling, new drywall, new built-ins, everything. It’s exciting, but pretty scary at the same time. Large renovations always make me a little nervous since you never know exactly what you’re going to find under what’s already there.

Anyway…with the basement out of commission for a while we needed to make our long-neglected living room more inviting and comfortable since we’ll be spending most of our time in there. So last week we emptied the room and got to work. The plan is to paint and have the carpet cleaned, then move everything back in along with the big screen TV from the basement. The drapes and rods I bought over a year ago will finally go up, and we may even hang a few things on the walls – crazy, right? So part of our Christmas gift to each other was to get a couple chairs for the room. We looked around for quite a while and kept going back and forth between a few different styles. J insisted on leather and I insisted on something that didn’t look like it belonged in a bachelor’s apartment, so ultimately we chose two of these:

living room chairs

They’re fairly small in size which is perfect for the scale of the room, and they’re comfortable enough the J will willingly sit in one without complaining. I’ll share pics of the room once it’s all put together – right now everything is wrapped in plastic or in boxes.

The rest of our gifts to each other were slightly more frivolous, but the deal was just too good to pass up. We’d been looking at home theater systems for the basement for a while. We love our TV (a 57″ Mitsubishi DLP for anyone who cares about that sort of thing), but the sound from it tends to buzz a little at times. We hooked up three speakers from a 5.1 system that actually belonged to one of our computers to avoid this annoyance, but it was clearly meant to be a short-term fix. After nearly two years of having to get up to adjust the volume (no remote on a computer system) and still not being able to understand some dialogue, we finally decided to get a new system. I thought it would be an easy, fairly straight-forward purchase. Boy was I wrong! The world of audiophiles is strange and confusing, and I sincerely hope never to return. After way too much time talking about watts, inputs and outputs, and obscure functionalities that I can’t imagine anyone having a need for, I was ready to go to Walmart and buy the first home-theater-in-a-box I saw. Ultimately we realized that we have no need for such a high tech system and for about the same price we were going to spend we found a 7.1 system and a plasma TV (both Panasonic, a package deal on a huge sale), which will replace the old, fat TV in the living room after the basement is finished. Like I said, not a necessary purchase by any means, but it really was a good deal, and not an impulse buy as we’d been considering both items for well over a year. So there are our (early) Christmas gifts to each other.

But I can’t stand the idea of not having anything for us to open Christmas morning, so we decided to still buy each other a few small things with a maximum budget of $50 each. I already have three things for J and ideas for a couple more. I’m not sure if J has a clue what to get me. I may have to help him out a little. That may be a future post here (though I’m not sure he actually reads this – guess I’ll have to leave a hint about the hint).


I have to be honest, not everything about this Christmas turned out as jolly as we had planned. There were a few huge Grinch-like moments and several other smaller disappointments, but I tried not to let those things bring me down too much. After all, I got to spend time with my family and everyone is healthy and well, so I’ve done my best to focus on those more important things. There were some great moments too: like hanging with the nieces, coloring, playing, and taking silly photos; eating some awesome Mexican food with my dad and step-mom; and bowling while drinking Coors tall boys at a South Sioux City bowling alley with the whole family. Good times.

I didn’t do a very good job of photographing the handmade things I gave this year. I was pretty crunched for time towards the end of things, especially since we bumped up our travel plans in order to beat the nasty weather. So unfortunately I don’t have much to show you. I did manage to snap a few pics of the box I put together for my little sis. She’s sixteen and likes to alter her clothes, so I figured I’d give her some tools to do so.


I found a book on altering t-shirts that I thought she’d like, then included a felt pincushion (the handmade part of the gift), some funky fabric, and a sewing kit (which isn’t in the picture). The book teaches a few basic hand stitches, so hopefully she’ll be able to do even more with her clothes than she has been. I made another pincushion for my mom (who also sews), but I didn’t get a picture taken of it. The rest of the family got handmade ornaments, hot chocolate mix and mugs, gift cards (for the boys – they’re so hard to buy for), and other assorted small gifts. There was nothing too extravagant this year; I really wanted to keep everything simple.

I think we’re all still recovering from the last few weeks around here. Even the pups have been more sleepy than usual. As soon as I get everything unpacked and settled back into normal, everyday life I’ll share a few of the gifts I received…and some of the birthday gifts I never got around to sharing. But for now, I think I’ll take the rest of the week to relax, finish the rest of the holiday treats, and enjoy the time off with J and the pups. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year. See you in 2009!


I was hoping to post a few more pictures of our holiday decorations, but weather has us bumping up our holiday travel plans and corners must be cut. Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments on my last post! I’m so glad you enjoyed my little gingerbread house! And I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful holiday!

Merry Christmas!

I’m so excited about this little guy…I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

I was totally inspired by this little house. In fact, when I saw it I thought, “How is it possible to stitch something so tiny?” I knew I had to try it for myself. And it being Christmas-time and all, I thought a little gingerbread house would be appropriate. I have to admit that I’m rather proud of myself for pulling this off…and not just one, but two of them. They were so much fun, I couldn’t stop!