Archive for March, 2011

March 29, 2011

Eureka Experience

Last year, I had a EUREKA experience about gift giving. For one thing, the gap between what I wanted to give and my budget widened last year when I made the leap from earning a paycheck to full-time homemaking. Additionally, I love unique, beautiful, handmade, quality, excellent and inspired creations. With many art, fashion, design, textile and decorating classes (and several degrees) under my belt, my taste runs toward the expensive, the artsy and the just plain different from every other Joe. Also, I was just plain tired of “Made in China,” big box retailers,  and the overly franchised everything – UGH!

Like I said, I had a moment.  It was one of those moments where you just want to pinch yourself really, really hard and ask “what is your problem?”  Why not make gifts? Okay, it’d been a few years since I’d sewn and I’m not feeling as artsy as I was say in college. But, it wouldn’t be “Made in China,” it would be unique, it would be personal, and it would be FUN!

And, then I got the brilliant idea of making things in fours.  With 8 nieces and 4 sons – easy math!  I’ve 4 nieces who are between the ages of 13 and 21, and 4 between ages 3 and 7.  This simple idea revolutionized my whole world and I was inspired (so much easier to do life when you’re inspired!).  Now instead of agonizing over what I’m going to get for so-and-so, I have a plan and I’m constantly finding tutorials, patterns and ideas for my next series of fours.

Last summer, I began my journey with four sundresses each with a matching doll dress for my younger nieces.  They were so cute I wanted to keep them all – my sons thought I was a little touched by that point. At that point, I realized my skill-level needs to dramatically increase to compete with the demands of my demanding & creative side….

Well before Thanksgiving, I’d my holiday gifts planned and I was so excited for the Season (a big coup for me). Christmas was probably the least stressful and more enjoyable I’ve had in years.  I’ll have to blog about Mermaid Land sometime in the future – it was grand!

I’ve started my next round of gifts for the older nieces and had earlier bookmarked a really fun pattern – here.  It’s a reversible purse so I needed fun fabrics….

The pattern was really easy to follow and I loved the results!

Please excuse the really old and ugly ironing board cover…  I’ve found some patterns to replace it, but that project is toward the bottom of the list right now:)

I’m really not sure 4 is enough….  I may have to make a few more for kicks!

How about you?  How are you breaking free today from the norm and finding freedom in the challenging and unchartered waters of your life?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1a

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March 20, 2011

Birthday Croissants

Croissants are probably the most beautiful, perfect, delightful food invented by mankind.  They’re light and flakey and buttery and smell divine. They’re rather fussy to make so I’ve been, I admit, a little intimidated – after logging in hours of preparation, would if I burn them or they taste terrible?

As a birthday present to myself, I made croissants. The gift was two-fold: to challenge my culinary fears and to bake something which cannot be easily replicated.  The result: the heavenly smell of a French bakery and the rare experience of eating a croissant hot from the oven.  Happy Birthday to ME!!

Loads of butter…

Butter and flour mold ready to chill…

 

Butter and dough before layers and layers of folds…

Day Two:  Had to run to my parent’s (I almost, gulp, forgot about my dough…) and didn’t want all my work and, not to mention, butter to go to waste. I divided the dough (froze the other half), formed the croissants, and threw them in the van.  Upon arrival, I set them in a sunny spot to happily finish rising. After they were more than adequately risen, I popped them in my mother’s oven. The house soon smelled like a French Patisserie, and we devoured these little pretties fresh from the oven. And, a happy day was had by all!

Next time – pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants)…

What recipe or food intrigues yet intimidates you? Give yourself a wonderful gift – just make it! Bon appetit!

…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:3

March 14, 2011

Pi Day!

Here is some Pi Day inspiration…

Just like my pie plate given to me by my Nana who appreciates my sense of humor:)…

Pi inspiration…

Earrings from Etsy

More Etsy

Both from this Etsy seller….

Happy Pi Day to You!

They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. Psalm 89:18

*Fun banner fonts from kevinandamanda.com

March 4, 2011

Surprise

Surprise! My mom made this lovely shamrock runner for my March table. When I was born, the nurses hung little shamrocks on my bassinet and served my mother grasshopper pie for dessert. It’s no wonder I enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Doesn’t the sweet shamrock teacup my son brought home for me from his summer in Ireland look absolutely perfect?  Bring on the corned beef and cabbage!

That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:13

March 3, 2011

Procrastination and Ispirazione di Carta

I’ve been inspired by exceptionally gorgeous paper from Florence, Italy. I received these beauties as a birthday gift several years ago, but haven’t had the moxie or motivation to cut into them. Procrastinating my correspondences (particularly thank you notes – yikes!) has forced me to seek inspiration and I didn’t have to look very far. Deep in the dark recesses of my closet, I discovered my pretty papers and found the incentive to get some long overdo letters finally written – rejoice!

How do you find the inspiration to do those tasks you’d rather procrastinate?

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John 1:12