Monthly Archives: December 2011

indulging and purging

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{trimming the tree}

I love the holidays: family, food, church, traditions, new things, old things. But I have to say that usually when it’s all over I feel like purging, in more than one way.* Our families were so generous to us this year; more than we deserve in more than one way. It left me feeling very indulgent and got me thinking about what I love about Christmas. What’s important; what I want my kids to focus on; what traditions we want to keep; which ones we need to purge. I for one felt a little frantic, like when we finally got to the moments we’d been waiting for, we rushed through them, took a couple pictures, hurried to clean up and move on to the next thing. A lot of this has to do with us bopping back and forth between two wonderful families, two sets of meaningful traditions and all our years of expectations about holidays, but I haven’t quite figured out how to make it all work.

{pleased as punch}

So what’s a girl to do? (Besides finish off the holiday goodies of course.)

Purge.*

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Purging some of my expectations about the holidays; purging some of the assumed obligations (including, eek, GIFTS, or at least the type of gifts), and purging some stuff.

{handmade by my sister}

We don’t need all the stuff we have, we don’t use all the stuff we have. So with the feelings of indulgency (is that word?) I’ve decided we need a stuff purge. A giant ikea bag has already been started. Now there are some really good ways to get rid of extra things and help others. We’re big fans of the little thrift shop around the corner that supports the local church which has a community dinner every Sunday night for those who need it. Scored a sweet chalkboard there.

Another great option is freecycle.org. You can check out their website, but this is a great option because people actually come and get the stuff from you. (When I was working with people who were homeless I was able to get some really nice and necessary things for new homes throug this) Goodwill, Salvation Army, Women’s shelters, etc. There are plenty of good places that need your stuff more than you do. Find one that feels good.

Oh and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

*I do not condone forms of purging that involve vomit.

a half hour and a tie

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So my sister was visiting a few weeks ago and we were shopping around waiting for brunch and she found these headbands made out of a tie. My sister looks great in headbands and thought they were cute. I told her we could do better. So a Salvation Army trip and a half hour later, we had a little something like this:

{tie headband}

All you need for 2 headbands and bow is 1 tie and 2 pieces of elastic

{one fabulous paisley tie}
{elastic}

First measure your head, I just use the tie to get a good estimate. You can always adjust the elastic if it’s too big or small. Cut it to size.

{just right}

Now you’ll see that there’s a type of webbing in the tie that’s kind of sticking out. I like to cut that down about a half inch. This way I can make a cleaner edge with the silk.

{cut this off; fold like this; and like this; sew it shut}

Now this doesn’t have to be perfect because it’s going to be mostly hidden, but I like a nice edge don’t you? After you’ve cut off the webbing tuck the elastic in, fold down the edge of the silk and sew it all together.  Done with that side.

{done}

So the other end. I like to open it up a little bit and get the elastic far enough down that the other end doesn’t show. Pin it in place and sew back and forth a few time for stability.

{this tie originally cost $18.50, didn’t want you to miss out on that}

And then you have a headband! But that’s not all. You should have enough to do it again with the other end of the tie, making a fatter more voluptuous headband.

{these are tough shots to get my friends}

But wait! There’s more. Unless you have a super voluptuous head or a short tie, you should still have some tie left. Just enough for a bow in fact. I take the piece of tie and fold it into thirds. I cut off one third.

{1/3+2/3=1 piece of tie}

Sew each piece into a loop, wrong sides together. Turn them right-side out. Then slide the 2/3 piece loop through the 1/3 piece loop. I just put a safety pin through the back side so that this can be attached to either headband or anything else you want. You could always sew it too.

{take a bow}

And there you go, essentially 4 different headbands from 1 tie in about 30 minutes.

{win one!}

And now that I’ve told you how to do this and how simple it is. I’m going to giveaway one so you don’t have to! Sew Mama Sew does a great round up of giveaways around Christmas each year, and instead of trying to win everything, I’ll give something away this time :) This beauty’s already been taken, but I have another equally lovely paisley headband and bow waiting for someone! Just leave a comment and email and I will notify the winner via email so I can send it right out! Thanks for playing!

christmas bucket

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{I can't find the recipe for these and I'm mad about it}

What would the holidays been without treats tempting you from every direction? Not the holidays. That’s the correct answer.

Every year I make a bucket of treats to take to my family and the hubs family, but I can rarely remember what I made the year before. So just for the record, here’s what’s up this year:

  • sugared pecans (by the way can someone explain to me why I had to spend $12.59 for a bag of pecans?)
  • candy cane macarons
  • Samoa bark (like the Girl Scout cookies)
  • ritz bits dipped in almond bark (that’s the whole recipe, fancy I know, but the hubs favorite)

Don’t worry I have a very stringent taste test policy so that all treats are safe and delicious.

tied up

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{tie clutch}

Giving up and moving on. The tie clutch didn’t end up being as simple as it looked. Or I did it wrong. Here’s what it should look like.

I started by using the big end of the ties. I’m into big, so I thought this would be an improvement on the skinny side of the tie. Not so.

{too much tie}

There was no way this was going to work because the flap (the tie ends) would have totally swallowed up the clutch part.

So tonight I decided to try the smaller side.

{thanks for ignoring my ugly ironing board}

So if you’d like to make yourself a mediocre tie clutch, here’s what I did.

  • I sewed all of the ties together with a straight stitch. I tried zigzag on the fat end of the ties, but it looked a little to busy in my opinion.
  • I folded over the cut edge of the ties and ironed that down.
{folding}
  • Then I folded up to where I wanted the flap to start. So the unfinished end is folded over for the hem and then that end it brought up to the top.
  • I sewed across the folded over unfinished edge where the flap would be. This way you don’t have to line the clutch. Which is actually probably a better idea.

{clutch shaped}

  • Next I put the outsides of the clutch together and sewed down each side. You’re sewing through 4 layers of tie here so you’re starting to see why maybe lining it would have been better.
  • Turn it out so that the outside are back where they should be.

{oh hey clutch}

  • Then I added a button that reminded me of an old man suit. Also I love using the button holer thing on my sewing machine.

{old man button}


I’m not judging but it’s kind of a fat clutch. Unnecessarily bulky. I’m just not that happy with it. Make this scarf instead, way more gratifying.

 

pinning

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So pinterest. I’m not that late to the party. Did you know that the creator (the “Ben” you get emails from) went to my high school (Rough Riders!) and I know his sister? True and true.

{scarf}

So the thing about pinterest is that it’s so easy to pin something that you starting pinning DIY projects and recipes and before you know you have enough food and projects to last the rest of your life. And then you do like 7 of them in the rest of your lifetime.

Some of this stuff is so great that you have to make the effort. Which I did. Which is why I felt compelled to document it. Truth be told many of the recipes have been tried, but the work/school/internship life style leaves little DIY time. And now that it’s finals I’ve decided that it’s absolutely necessary to procrastinate. So scarf DIY.

Inspired by this pin of a $1100 scarf.

You need:

{supplies}

  • fabric: 1/2 yard for a pretty thick scarf. I went with jersey knit so I didn’t have to worry about the edges. Also I made another scarf with a heavy jersey knit and it’s one of my faves.
  • Lace: This is a curtain from the Salvation Army. There are other places to get lace. At least a yard if you go with the half yard wide scarf.
  • Thread: I used thread to match the lace, not the jersey but if you’re a professional you can load your bobbin with the jersey-colored thread.

I didn’t want just a straight line of lace, I wanted it to look like the $1100 scarf. So I started by sewing the lace on with part of the design on the jersey. Just using a zig zag stitch, I sewed a straight  along the edge of the jersey.

{step 1: sew on}

then I got brave and started cutting.

{step 2: cut off}


But then the design needs to be secured. I used a zig-zag stitch again to go around (as best I could) the design.

{step 3: secure}

repeat on the other side and guess what?

{step 4: be adorable}

{close up}

I’m super happy with the result. Not all of my copy-cat DIY projects turn out so great :)

Up next: tie clutch