Dec 11 - Holidays in Hand

I love parties. Almost any party really. Holiday parties are always fun. People get into the festive spirit and have a great time. In past holiday seasons I have been to wrapping parties, cookie parties, white elephant parties, 'journey to bethlehem' parties, progressive dinners, and open houses. They were each fun and special in their own ways.
Every year our church has a Christmas party. I am the pianist, and have been very busy this season. I love to hear the caroling, and the children singing.


Dec 10 - Holidays in Hand

One of my favorite sights to see is all the Christmas lights during the holidays. When I was growing up we lived near an area famous for their lights. We would walk around the neighborhood since the line of cars was miles long. It was so much fun to see everyones yards decked out with decorations and lights.
Now that I have moved away from there, I still try to take my kids to places with lots of lights. I now live near a place that hosts a "Lights of Christmas" village. An entire summer camp area is decorated. And there are horse rides and train rides, Santa, and 'Bruce the talking spruce' christmas tree.


Dec 9 - Holidays in Hand

I love to read. I have been reading since I was 4 years old, and was read to long before that. I like to read holiday stories to my kids. My mother has a Christmas-story-a-day notebook full of wonderful tales. I like to borrow it and read some to my kids. "The Forgotten Carols" is one of my favorite stories. I like to read it and play or listen to music that goes along with it.
On Christmas eve we also like to read the Christmas story as found in Luke chapter 2 of the Bible. When I was little my brothers and I would act it out as well.


Dec 8 - Holidays in Hand

The first Christmas after I got married, my parents gave us an advent calendar. Not a hanging one, but a whole wooden box filled with little numbered drawers to put candy and things into. It has our last name on the front along with a Santa.
I use it every year and put in little treats for the kids. They love to open up the doors and drawers to find the little surprises. It's a great way for them to count down the days until Christmas.


Dec 7 - Holidays in Hand

Food, like it or not, is a big part of the holidays. In my family, there are lots of special recipes that we make only at this time of year. A few years ago I made a recipe scrapbook of all our holiday baked goods. One for my mom, one for my sister-in-law, and one for me. It had many cookies, plus peanut brittle, nuts and bolts, and the oven egg omlete that we have every christmas morning.
We always gather with my mom's family for a big Christmas eve dinner. When I was younger we would also do Christmas morning with them. Then for the afternoon and Christmas day dinner, we would go to my father's family. Now that we live further away from the extended family, we just do Christmas here with my family. Someday we hope to go to Fiji to be with my husbands family for Christmas.
I love getting together with family and friends, and sharing a meal together. Growing up it was always a great time to just chat and enjoy each others company. I hope to continue these traditions of togetherness for years to come.


Dec 6 - Holidays in Hand

There are many holiday symbols that have meaning to me. One of my favorite decorations is a little white navtivity set I made a few years ago when I first got married. I love nativity sets. Reminding me of the 'reason for the season'. It's importnant to me to keep Christ in Christmas. This year, we live in a small house, and there are 4 little kids running around it. So, I haven't put it out, but I did put out a different nativity set my mother got for me. It sits just out of reach too.


Dec 5 - Holidays in Hand

I love Christmas music. I always sing in my church choir (well, I’m playing the piano this year). And I love to hear the Christmas radio station when I’m in the car. I would be hard pressed to find a favorite. Last year my DH deployed to Iraq just a few days before Christmas. Songs about being lonely at Christmas made me cry and really touched me. I have always liked “I heard the bells on Christmas day”. It is a nice reminder that God still loves us and that there can be peace and good will. As far as pop music goes, I like the Beach Boys song “Little Saint Nick”. I learned all the words by the time I was in 3rd grade. My children’s favorite, for now anyway, is “Jingle Bells”.


Finnish Star

We got an artifical Christmas tree this year. And the nice light up star I have is just too heavy for our little tree. So, the kids and I decided to make our own new star for the top. I used a two-sided piece of scrapbook paper. One side is red with white snowflakes, and the other side is solid green. I glued it together using gluedots. I used THESE DIRECTIONS. And it turned out great, if I do say so myself.


Another handmade gift this year: leggings. Well, they are partly handmade. I took some adult knee-high socks, and turned them into leggings for my daughter. She does ballet, and I'm sure her legs get cold, especially during the winter. So, I made her 2 pairs.
To make them I cut the socks off just above the heel. Then cut again just after the heel, and again right before the toe. I used the foot section as a lower cuff. I folded it in half, wrong sides together, and sewed it to the cut edge of the big sock part. I hope that makes sense! Sorry I didn't take pictures of the process.

Eyeglass Chain

One of my handmade Christmas gifts this year is an eyeglass chain. I have no problem putting it up on my blog, because the recipient doesn't own a computer, so won't know about it. SHH! Don't tell her!

Dec 4 - Holidays in Hand

I have a couple of holiday decorations that I inherited. One is a crocheted boot that my great grandmother made. My grandfather had it in his home for years, and then it got passed down to me (the first grandchild to get married and have kids). I also have a hanging jingle bell thing from my mother. It doesn’t have any particular value, but I remember it being on our front door as a child, and my mother was getting rid of it, so I took it. Now it hangs on my front door.
My mother loves Christmas. She plays Christmas music all year around in her car. All year she watches Christmas movies while ironing. But, we don’t let her decorate for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. So, this has become the tradition. After we do any black Friday shopping, we go to my parent’s house and decorate. She has about 16 giant plastic totes full of decorations and lights and things. I only have 2 totes, but I figure that someday I will probably have just as many, since I love the holidays too.


Dec 3 - Holidays in Hand

During the holidays there is a lot of joy, happiness and good cheer going around. Finding the perfect gift for someone. Caroling with friends. Doing secret santa. There are tons of things you can do to spread joy. Spending time with family and friends always brings me joy. And around the holidays we usually get to spend extra time with those we love. As my children get older, I try to include them more in the festivities. This, of course, brings them joy. They love to help put out decorations, bake cookies, and hang ornaments on the tree (or take them off, as my 1 year old does). I hope my holidays can always be filled with joy. And I wish everyone else joy in the season too.


Dec 2 - Holidays in Hand

Still without photoshop :(

Reading Welcome Home for the Holidays helps to put things into perspective. As the holiday season gets into swing I can't help but think of the chores to be done, crafts to be finished, and recipes to be made. But having a clean, well-decorated home full of yumy foods isn't what makes a house inviting. It's the love and warmth that you put into it. The kids probably won't remember how clean (or not clean) the house was, but they will remember the magic of the season. I hope to not get bogged down in the details and create a loving home that family and friends would feel welcome to visit.

Remember cooking with an older relative...
I have always loved baking with my grandma. I would help stir in chocolaate chips, measure flours, or best of all, taste test. We also made gingerbread houses with her every year (and got to eat the extra candy). I learned to make stuffing at her house, and how to get the gravy 'just so'.
There are certain family recipes that are made every year. A few years ago I made special small recipe scrapbooks for me, my mom, and my sister-in-law with all the family Christmas recipes. I think it's wonderful that we have these traditions.


Dec 1 - Holidays in Hand

My main computer is on the fritz (again!) and I can't make any layouts yet. But, I can still do the journaling for the Jessica Sprague Holidays in Hand project.

My thoughts about my family's holiday values...
Most of my values are religion based. As a Christian, I celebrate the birth of Jesus this time of year. The idea of love and family is very important to me. My parents taught me about the 'true meaning of Christmas' from a very early age, and I try to teach my children the same thing. While it's fun to get gifts, and to give them, I try not to focus on presents but on the spirit of the season. Hopefully my children are learning these things too, and some day will pass along these values to their children as well.

My earliest holiday memory...
I remember lots of things having to do with Christmas. If you know my mother, you know that she plays Christmas music all year around. It is by far her favorite time of year. She decorates like crazy. I remember always getting a special ornament each year from her or my grandparents. There are special family recipes that we always make. We have done nativity plays at my grandparents home. One year my uncle even dressed up as Santa to give us presents on Christmas Eve. I don't know which memory is the earliest, but they are always happy.


Holidays in Hand- some premade layouts

For Jessica Sprague's Holidays in Hand class we got a cool set of papers and a page template. I added some papers from some freebie Shabby Princess kits and made these pages for my album. I have 8 pages in total. So I will rotate them about 4 times. I figure that with changing the pictures and adding appropriate embellishments and journaling that they will look different enough. Hopefully this will help cut down the time I spend on scrapping the memories during the holiday season, and I will spend more time make the memories.
If I have time I will post my pages as I complete them in during the month of December. By the end of the month I will have a fun Christmas album ready for printing.


Holidays in Hand- Day 3

Yesterday for the 'Holidays in Hand' project I got to download some "prompt cards". They have a prompt for something to write about, photograph, do, make, and remember. Today Jessica Sprague put up lists of things we can choose from (or we could make our own) for the make and do portions. I have gleaned from the to do list. Here are some things I want to do during the Christmas Season:

•Put up the Christmas tree, or add an ornament to it
•Sing a holiday song before bed
•Visit a local light display
•Make your favorite treat together
•Go for a walk, or look out your largest window at the stars together
•Read from your favorite holiday story
•Watch a christmas movie with popcorn
•Bake and take gifts to neighbors
•Play board games
•Have breakfast for dinner
•Visit a place you’ve been meaning to go together: a museum, a walking trail...
•Play your favorite christmas song
•Have an indoor picnic
•Wrap a toy and take it to a charity christmas tree
•Celebrate the longest night of the year (December 21) by lighting extra candles
•Have a video chat with a friend or family member who is far away
•Have a fondue night! chocolate and cheese dipped goodies.
•Make Ornaments, either for your home or as small gifts
•Make cards for teachers
•Make homemade apple pie
•Make a peppermint milkshake
•Decorate holiday cookies
•Address your holiday cards together
•Visit some of the spectacular holiday decorations in your town
•Draw and send postcards to cousins
•Slip a little note of holiday love into a backpack, laptop case, lunchbox, or set it on a pillow
•Get in touch--call, write a letter, email, send a card--with a friend or relative whom you haven't heard from in a long time.
•Get some blank pages and crayons and let your kids write and illustrate their own Christmas story

Some of these things we already do (like playing board games and watching Christmas movies) and some I would like to start doing.
Now for the making part of the prompt. Well, we are already gathering supplies. We are doing a completely handmade holiday this year. The kids are [helping] making ornaments for the tree. I am making all the presents (except the socks and underwear). I have designed our Christmas cards and written the letter. Hopefully we will have time to do all the fun things we want to do.


Holidays in Hand: Assignment 1

I'm doing a wonderful class at about taking time during the holidays and recording memories. Jessica Sprague is awesome. And the class is free. Well, first on the agenda is to figure out your holiday values and goals.

Value: Keeping in touch with family and friends
Goal: Send out Christmas cards on time

Value: Spirituality
Goal: Attend church and other uplifting holiday programs-not just about santa

Value: Meaningful gifts
Goal: Handmade, thoughtful gifts for everyone this year

Value: Involve the kids
Goal: Kids help make decorations, cookies, and candy trees

Value: Help those less fortunate
Goal: Donate old but decent toys and clothes

Value: Make it magical for the kids
Goal: See the Lights of Christmas, do special things just for the kids to have fun, hide those presents!


K at 1 year

My youngest child just turned one. Here is a digital scrapbook page I did. I wanted to show all her cute little bits and really highlight what she looked like. The kit I used is Cool Summer Porch by Elizabeth Weaver (at Digital Scrapbook Place)


Sewing projects update

Here are some recent sewing projects I've managed to get done. A cute little apron, perfect for a messy child to help with cooking or art stuff (the picture is funky because I didn't iron it or straighten it out before the picture). And a diaper pouch/clutch. I couldn't find a pattern I liked, so I sat down and made this one up. I'm gonna make another one or two out of my fabric stash, so I think I'll post a tutorial/pattern later. And here is a picture of some of my fabric...what will it become...stay tuned to find out.

Camera Strap Cover

A while back I made a cute cover for my camera strap. I used the tutorial on Made by Petchy. It is quite cute I think. Now, if I could just get a photo of it, now that it's on the camera...


Weekly Meal Planning

Here is one organizational thing I already do. It's already a part of my weekly routine. Meal Planning.
Back when I was first married we were still in college. We had our first child within the first year of our marriage. My husband was out of work, and I was only working part time while also taking classes. Needless to say, the budget was tight, and small. So, one thing we found was that planning our meals helped save a bunch of money. Sometimes, like during the holiday season, I plan a whole month of meals. That way, I know if we are having lasagna twice in the month and I can make them at the same time and freeze one, thus saving time. I still do most of my shopping once a week, but I know that if a food item is on sale, I can get it because I already have a plan to use it.
Anyway, mostly I just plan one week at a time, usually on Monday morning. Then I make my shopping list. I made a little planner for myself. I print it out and then fill it in. It gets posted on the refrigerator, so the kids don't have to ask "what's for dinner?"
You can download it for yourself HERE

More DIY Knitting Needle Storage: Cute Canister

I have many knitting needles. I have 1 case for circular (which might change later in the year), and 1 case I made for my short double pointed needles. Now I needed a place for my straights. I decided that I wanted something decorative, since they would probably be out in plain sight most of the time. Here is what I did:
Got my supplies- an oatmeal container, some scrapbook paper, black yarn, and craft glue. Wrapped the container in the paper (cut to size). Used the string to make a grid. And now I can put in my needles without them clumping in one area and getting all mixed up.

DIY Double Pointed Knitting Needle Case

I took a thick placemat and turned it into a case for my small double pointed knitting needles. It fit perfectly. Now I have a nice place for my needles sizes US 00-US 10.
I used a thick placemat so the needles wouldn't poke through easily. First I folded up the bottom end, and finger pressed it in place. Then I measured and evenly divided the pockets. I found matching thread and did a little sewing. I labeled the pockets So I could easily find what I was looking for. Then I simply fold down the top part and roll up to carry. Maybe I should attach a ribbon to keep it closed...another day.

Free Christmas Card Share

I was bored and made some Christmas card templates. I'm offering them free to anyone who wants them. Click on the preview picture to go download the full sized template (which of course doesn't contain photos or names, just space for them).

Card 1 front:

Card 1 back:

Card 2:

Card 3 front:

Card 3 back:

Card 4:


Mod Monkey Invitation Template

A few days ago, on a message board, someone wanted to make a 1st birthday invitation with a 'mod monkey' theme for her twins. She was wanting some design help. After looking up this theme online, I did these templates. The gray areas are for inserting pictures. And the fonts I used were free, so I included the names so you could match the font when making your invites with these templates. Just put in your pictures, add the information on the party and print. The first one comes in both singular and plural (for multiples) They are 4x6, at 300ppi so they can be printed at any major photo printing outlet.
Download them here

Here is what the 1st template looks like:

Here are my demo's for all three.


Knitting Projects

I've been on a bit of a knitting jag lately. Here are some recent projects (all are one skein projects)
A seamless pullover sweater.

A wavy drop stitch scarf

Newborn size baby leggings (know anyone with a newborn who would want them?)



I got my Shutterfly photobook in the mail the other day. It's from our family trip to Fiji, in 2007. I took over 700 pictures while there and managed to condense them down to a 55 page 8x8 photo book. I put in some of my digital scrapbook pages too. It turned out great. I'm really happy with the quality of it. Gotta love ShutterFly!


Teacher Apprecitaion

It's the end of the school year for us. Anjali wanted to give her teacher a gift. Here is what we did:
Bought a nice bottle of anti-bacterial soap (a very nice smelling one). Put in a few clear glass pebbles (the kind used in vases). Took off the front label on the bottle. Added our own label that I made on the computer, and made into a sticker with my Xyron machine. Tied on a cute matching ribbon. And voila! A cute customized teach gift.
--I tried to print the label on a transparency to put it into the bottle, but my printer didn't want to do transparencies, the ink wouldn't dry. But, if yours would work, then the label could be clear and inside the bottle.--


Knitting: Pink Jumper-Done

So, the jumper got done. And in time for baby girl to wear it to church. We got lots of compliments on it. What a great quick project. If you'd like to make one yourself, it's called Jumper Cable and was designed by Erika Flory. To find it, go HERE.


Knitting: Pink Jumper

I'm half way through knitting a cute pink jumper for baby girl K. Found the pattern through Ravelry (the best knitting community site out there).
I am also working on a gallery wall in my living room. I have a bunch of frames (from my wedding and thrift stores and various gifts) and am working on filling them and arranging them on the giant wall above my piano. We'll see how that works out, since I am also a little busy renovating my hall bathroom.
As for sewing, I have some new fabric for bow ties for my dad, pre-quilted fabric for a camera strap (maybe), camouflage fabric for a dress for baby K, and some white fabric to make 2 table cloths for DH's church services over in Iraq. Now, if I could only dig the sewing machine out of hiding in the garage.



I've been on a hat making kick lately. Maybe it's the cold weather. Anyway here is a picture of one of the hats I've finished recently. It's a button band hat. My daughter just loves the pink button!


I turned the heel today

I'm knitting my first pair of socks. Things are going pretty well. I turned my first heel today. It isn't perfect, but it's good enough to wear and be put in a shoe. Hopefully the second sock will be a bit neater.