Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas treats and friends' ugly sweater party!

 Want to make some super easy and delicious holiday treats? Then I invite you to try the super fast Christmas candy my friend brought to my attention during the snowstorm last week.

You take pretzels (I found these 'waffle' pretzels which in my opinion are delightful!), top it with a hershey's kiss (experiment with the different flavors, I made mint truffle, Irish cream, and dark chocolate), pop it in a 200 degree oven for 3-4 minutes (just melty),  and then take it out of the oven and top it with a festive m&m (or two) and let it set. SIMPLE! DELICIOUS! Completely addicting. The perfect balance of salty and sweet. Bag a few varieties up and you have a great hostess gift to bring to your next soiree.

Here are pictures from our most epic ugly sweater holiday party. Yep the crab dish made another appearance! I love it so much I am just going to carry it around with me. We had homemade chicken wild rice soup, bbq mini wieners, shrimp and cocktail sauce, fresh made potato latkes, cornbread, a cream puff tower, spritz cookies, chex mix, puppy chow, and homemade candies.

 Mike showing off the extra sweater I bought just in case. I think the ruffles make it.
But Sarah def wins it with the ugly/sweet sweater with dangling mittens!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Presents a win and a FAIL.

I made some of my Christmas gifts this year at my place of employment. It was kind of nice to go in and not have to work. I spent a couple of epic days working on some projects.

The first is a clear win. It is a platter for my grandma. She really is into Jim Shore. You know? The little wooden figurines at Hallmark and the like. Yeah that guy. Quilt motifs and such. Well my grandma also likes Santa figurines. She has a whole set of really cool ones that she painted herself and for a couple of years now everyone has been getting her Santa themed Jim Shore items. I decided to take the Santa/quilt motif idea and incorporate it into this platter.

 I free handed the Santa and then did a quilt pattern on his outfit and then a simple version of that same quilt pattern on the rim. I think it turned out splendidly and I can't wait to give it to her!

The next platter was a slight fail. There was one very similar to this as an example in our store and I decided it would be a cute gift for the family that I babysit for. The mom used to be my violin teacher and I started babysitting for them when the had only two kids. Now they have number 7 on the way!
 I was so nervous about spelling one of the names wrong that I in fact DID spell one of the names wrong. Sorry Philip, I snuck an extra l in there on ya. But overall I really like the colors and the 'bubble' technique on the background.

The next gift was a complete fail but it was in no way my fault. The paint 'shivered' in the kiln which basically means that it is just flaking off. To say I was upset is a bit of an understatement. I spent HOURS on this piece for my aunt. It is a 3 piece 'tea for one' set including a teacup, teapot, and lid. ALL THREE SHIVERED. Angry.
 It was a Jane Austen theme. I used just two colors, a creamy off-white and a deep rich brown. The top piece used the 'lace' technique. The second layer had a silhouette of Jane Austen on each side and the bottom layer had the opening quote from Pride and Prejudice. I was so proud of it. Now of course we don't have anymore of this exact piece in and I wouldn't have had time to get it done in time for Christmas anyway. I guess I just need to decide if I ever want to attempt it again.
 You can see the cracks in it.

And this is what is happening. Le sigh.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Making Christmas

More handmade gifts. 

This first one was actually for an anniversary dinner earlier this month. It was for my friend Aimee's parents. 25 years! Keep it up. Pattern from mmaammbr on flickr.

 This next set of ornaments is for the other couple that got married this year. I was inspired by my other ornament set to make one for them as well and this is what I came up with. It is especially adorable because for their wedding instead of a unity candle they actually had two beakers filled with yellow and blue water and they poured them into an Erlenmeyer flask. For cute! I was just going to make them a wall hanging with this basic idea but I think these turned out super cute as ornaments and they needed more ornaments on their tree anyway! I am especially pleased with the little green heart bubbles. For cute!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Xmas Ornaments

Finished a couple more ornaments.

This one was for the giveaway. It is Tennessee, can't you tell?  It is in the mail and on it's way!

I finished these as a gift set. The little boy and girl cacti are from a pattern by sewcharitable. So cute!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

O Christmas Tree

I caved and bought a fake tree. I love real Christmas trees but there is a long story as to why I can't have one in my house. So I got around the problem by putting one up in my room. It makes me insanely happy. I was being a bit of a Scrooge for a couple of days (apologies to my friend who received a super angsty fb message the other day!) but I am better now. My faith in Christmas has been restored and I am back on track for Christmas.

 I only dug out one box of ornaments and it proved to be enough. I tend to go a bit overboard at times.
My First Christmas. I am a sucker for that kind of stuff.

Power Rangers!

Christmas Sebastian? Why not.

Handmade gingerbread ornaments. They still smell good and these were made in '94!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Party Dress Ever

New Year's Eve is really fun because you get to dress up in ridiculous clothes and party like your life depended on it. The main theme? Sparkly. Straight up sparkly, shiny, obnoxious clothes are the best for a New Year's party. I found the best dress this year. It was $6 at a thrift store and it has so much amazing 80's tastic-ness going on that I almost died of happiness when it fit.

I have the dress. Now I just need the party.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Have you heard we got a bit of snow in MN? Well we have. A LOT. I spent a good chunk of the weekend pleasantly stranded in Wisconsin with good friends, bad movies, and more junk food than we knew what to do with. Headed back to Minnesota today and it is even crazier here. The metrodome collapsed. Driving is basically anarchy on ice. I am glad to be home where I can hopefully, finally, get some Christmas planning done. A grinch has stolen some of my Christmas spirit. I am going to work to get it back but it might be buried under all the snow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

First Big Snow

The first big snow of the year in MN is always a little tricky. I love the snow but I must say being a grown up has put a bit of a damper on that love lately. When you are a kid all you see is snow days and sledding but now all I see is how am I going to get my baby car to work and back without killing myself or others.

Baby car buried in snow! Took quite awhile just to dig it out.

But today I don't have anywhere to go until this evening so I am spending the day working on Christmas gifts for friends and family! Craft room here I come.

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend thus far.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas with Weezer

Why did I not know about this? WHY?!?! For the first time ever itunes suggested an album I actually wanted to buy- "Christmas with Weezer". Christmas? Weezer? Music? Why didn't I KNOW ABOUT THIS!!!!!? The important thing is that I know about it now and it has made my life so much better. For $4.99 you can buy the 6 song album on itunes. The whole thing is only about 13 minutes long but it is 13 minutes of solid gold Christmas music. (Speaking of- Solid Gold should do a Christmas album- that would be AMAZING.) Anyone who knows me knows that Christmas music is one of my (many) obsessions. Not so well known is that I have a mini-obsession with Weezer. Also have a mini-crush on the lead singer. Nerdy, cute, and can rock out. Is that so much to ask for?

I like a man who can rock a sweater vest. Is that weird? Yeah. Pretty weird. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Day of December!

By my watch it is past noon. I would like to thank all of you who entered in the giveaway. All four of you are awesome! I probably should wait awhile before I do another giveaway but I thought it would be fun and I thought it would keep my craft room from  overflowing with items. I had fun. I hope you did too. I even used even though the old numbers-in-a-hat trick would have worked just fine.

Winners: For the State-of-your choice Ornament #3 is our winner! captain-science

For the Silver and Gold set #1 is our winner! thewaterpenny

I will be contacting you and sending your little ornaments on there way so they get there in plenty of time to adorn the tree.

I hope everyone is having a good December so far! I enjoyed reading your answers for your favorite Christmas ornament. I have too many favorites to list. As a kid I loved the Disney ornaments- some that were prizes in kids meals. Every Christmas we used to get a special ornament that we would add to the tree so ours was always a random assortment of the history of our likes. I liked walking around our tree and checking on how many of my ornaments made it onto the tree that year. Now that I am back home I am trying to convince my mom that we need a tree. She is against it. Something over the years has made her bitter to the holidays. I hope it never happens to me. I might smuggle a tree into my bedroom.

*Captain-Science how do I get in contact with you? If I don't here from you by Friday I will draw another winner. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fall foods

This fall has been full of great food. My friends had a 'family Thanksgiving' yesterday and I must say we have stepped up our game from back in the day when we used to just pop pizza rolls in the oven!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Giveaway!

It seems like people are determined to ruin my Christmas spirit- well they have no idea who they are dealing with. I have my iTunes 'holiday!!!!' playlist set and cranked and I plan on digging out the decorations tomorrow. The season is only just beginning and I am excited and ready.

To share some Christmas joy I have decided to do a giveaway! Yes... to you 3 people that read this blog you have a really good chance of winning something.  I just made up some embroidered Christmas ornaments that I thought would be fun to share.

To win just leave a comment sharing your favorite Christmas ornament. Could be something from childhood, could be something you made, or something someone made for you! (Just make sure I have a way of contacting you.)

Using the random number generator I will choose 2 winners. The first will win a handmade ornament in the shape of the state of your choice! (If you are from MN you will get this one sent to you!)


The second winner will win the 'Silver and Gold' element set. Nerdy and Christmasy at the same time.

You have until December 1st at noon to enter!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. I am spending the time at my Grandma's. This weekend I will be back with a shop update and a giveaway!
What are you grateful for this year? I am grateful for my friends. They are the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie of life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gearing up for Christmas

I am sooooo ready to start celebrating Christmas full on!  I follow the rule of no celebrating before Thanksgiving (this is to hopefully curb Christmas to sneaking farther and farther back and finally into summer!) but it has not stopped me from planning. I have decided to do a completely homemade Christmas this year. Every gift I give will either be homemade by myself or handmade by others (Etsy here I come!). I may make a couple of exceptions but all gifts will have at least 1 handmade element to it. Part of my decision to go this route is practical- I don't have the money to be buying everyone gifts and I am that crazy girl who sees something as says "I can MAKE that." My poor mom. She will say "Oh I saw that such and such store has pumpkin cheesecake." And I practically scream back "I will MAKE YOU a pumpkin cheesecake!!!" Yeah. Scary I know. Maybe I will get over it at some point but not any time soon. I already have a long list of gifts to make and I have also gotten it into my head that I need to make more of my own clothes- starting with pjs. I am mostly a shorts and t-shirt kind of girl when it comes to pjs but I am just in the mood for perfectly matched sets, luxurious nightgowns, etc.

Where was I? Oh yeah, CHRISTMAS! I already made the first 'official' Christmas purchase of the year when I bought those little Christmas mini-loaf pans but I added to the list when I found some boxes at Wal-Mart. I know I know WalMart is an evil corporation but I just needed some facewash ok? And I just happened to wander down all the Christmas aisles. But I found these adorable boxes with matching tissue paper for a good price so I snatched them up. They will be perfect for the homemade baked goods people will be receiving.  And let's face it- I am not going to add to the madness that is Black Friday.

Then I made one of the most important purchases of the Christmas season- the Christmas CD. I love Christmas music like Santa loves making toys. I need it...and over the years I have amassed quite the insane collection on my itunes. I have traditional, instrumental, swing, and emo Christmas music. So I limit myself to 1 new X-Mas themed CD a year. This year? Hells yes to the Johnny Cash Christmas CD! It is actually a 2 Disc set and although I have not listened to it quite yet I am uber excited.

So are you ready for Christmas? I already know a couple of my friends are freaking out about it. Stay tuned for an epic month of Christmas related posts, plus a giveaway (yes a giveaway!) in the near future.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mr. Button

Onto happier thoughts. This last week I finally got around to giving my good friend his birthday present (almost a month late- whoops!) He is a first grade teacher and yes his name is Mr. Button. Is that not awesome? It is the PERFECT name for a teacher. So I decided to go with a theme (surprise surprise). I wanted to make him a mug from my new place of employment. Then to round it out I included some packets of hot chocolate and homemade shortbread cookies shaped like buttons! The cookies turned out so perfectly adorable and delicious I am going to be making this recipe again- and soon.

Hope everyone is having a good week. Is it short for everyone? My schedule is so random that I don't work until Saturday so I am spending some time baking and catching up with errands and cleaning. Plus I am getting ready to go into full throttle production mode as I am doing a "handmade Christmas" this year.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Goodnight, sweet prince

Today is a somber day. Today Professor Richard DuRocher died. He was my professor at St. Olaf College for two classes. He taught my first-year writing course and one of my favorite classes "Shakespeare and his contemporaries". Though I can not say that I had the privilege of knowing him well I knew he was one of the kindest people I met while at school. I have a lot of mixed feelings about those years. Most of it was great but I went through some dark patches but I remember Professor DuRocher was always exceedingly kind to me. My thoughts are with his family. He will be missed.

One of my favorite memories of him was when we were in my Shakespeare class (which was super small). We had a foreign exchange student from Germany in  our class. As another student was discussing a play she used "WTF?" to describe something. Professor DuRocher asked her to explain what it meant so that the exchange student would understand. The girl blurted out "Oh. It means 'What the fuck." Everyone giggled a little bit and Professor DuRocher just said "I didn't mean that way." It was such a silly little moment. He wasn't mad or anything he was just flabbergasted.

In his honor I have found my copy of "The Necessary Shakespeare" from his class and I am finally going to read Macbeth. No it wasn't assigned reading in the class that I skipped. I was actually one of the few who hadn't read it and we read Hamlet instead. Well now I am finally going to read it.

Good night, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Be still my heart

The new Jane Eyre trailer is out! You have to check it out. It looks insanely good and they have made me wait so long! After sort of half-seeing a couple of versions of Jane Eyre I actually broke out the book and I LOVED IT. Part of it is of course the time period, the manners, the romance but the thing I really love about this story? It is dark. Like super dark. Ghosts, secrets, and whispers oh my! Also I am a big fan Edward Rochester. He is the classic grumpy but really has a heart of gold man. Also a big fan of film versions casting foxy foxy men in the role. Mr. Rochester is not supposed to be handsome but let's be real, who would watch it? Which brings me back to this new version- Michael Fassbender is going to be playing Mr. Rochester. I am squeaking with excitement just thinking about it. Don't know who he is? You are missing out. See 300 for some amazing ab time. See Inglorious Basterds for some smooth charm. See anything with him in it because he is amazing (note: if you want to see a good movie check out Hunger but be warned that Fassbender gets so scary skinny in it that I was sad for days afterwards). After careful viewing of the Jane Eyre trailer (repeatedly) I am actually torn about how good he looks in it. He has some really tough competition from Toby Stephens from the 2006 mini-series version. I mean damn. The hair, those eyes, that voice. Mmmm. I have never seen him in anything else and I don't think I need to. So bring your A-Game Mr. Fassbender because I will be judging you. (Just kidding I love you forever and always.)

Other good versions of Jane Eyre include the Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine version and the one starring William Hurt/Charlotte Gainsbourg.

You would think I couldn't get any geekier than this could you? Well I can. All I can think of is how amazing next year zombie pub crawl would be if I could get people to dress up with me as Jane, Mr. Rochester, and crazy wife. Would that not be epic? Once again if I find a man who would be willing to wear a period costume that I make him I will marry him on the spot. Now I just have to wait until March for this movie to come out so I can geek out some more!

Michael Fassbender looking dapper. As per usual.

Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester from the 2006 BBC version