A Snowy Surprise

Yesterday, Portland was caught completely by surprise by a little snow storm. I'd spent the morning snuggled on the couch, trying to head off a cold, and working on the last of the Walk in the Woods ornaments. And then, looking out the window, I saw huge, wet clumps of snow falling out of the sky. And they kept coming, and kept coming. Finally, I could no longer stand it. I threw on my thermals and boots, bundled up well, grabbed the camera, and headed outside. Here's a bit of what I saw:

To see more photos, please visit my photostream on Flickr.

By the end of today, the snow was almost completely gone, which is really nice. Also almost gone...2009. I can hardly believe it. Hopefully you have all had a wonderful holiday season. I'll return next week with some details from our celebrations and peeks at some of the gifts I made on my own or in collaboration.

Finally, tomorrow MIZZOU plays against Navy in the Texas Bowl. MIZ-ZOU! Go TIGERS!



Christmas is only 10 days away. My Mom flies in tomorrow, to be followed by my dad next Wednesday. I have a million things to do. I haven't even begun to clean the house. (I reason that it's best to leave the cleaning to very last. That way there is an outside chance that the cat-hair might still be somewhat under control when we get back from the airport. Doubtful, but that's what I'm going with!) Of course, knowing full well that I don't feel at all prepared, I spent most of the morning doing things that weren't even on the list. Procrastination is a fine, fine art.

In my defense, I had a very, very full weekend. There was gift making, a trip to Crafty Wonderland's holiday bonanza, more gift-making, grocery shopping, and yet more gift making... You get the picture. I want to share, however, the start of the weekend.

Saturday started off, in the very best of ways, with brunch. Ryan, Lex and I headed over to SE Portland to try out a new restaurant called "Slappy Cakes," where you make your own pancakes at a griddle built right into the table. Yup, you read that right, and I'll bet you're jealous! Ryan found it through the Portland Mercury's MercPerks section. We had a blast! Lex tried the buttermilk pancakes, Ryan the pumpkin, and I had gluten-free. As sides/toppings to our pancakes, Lex had blueberries (which she shared with me), Ryan had chocolate chips, and I had lavender honey and lemon curd. We also indulged in the house-made raspberry syrup. SO GOOD!

Here are a few photos...

Blood Orange Mimosa - Yum!

Lex is gonna make a pancake "This BIG!"

SO excited!

Getting down to business...

This is harder than it looks!


All done!


Things Hanging from My Ceiling

I got a new toy last week, a giant punch which makes 3 inch holes. Of course, the object is not to get 3 inch holes, but rather 3 inch circles. Can I tell you how very satisfying it is to punch giant circles from pretty paper? Of course, I had a purpose for all this paper punching. The goal was to make ornaments, of which I made two kinds.

The first ornaments were made by folding the edges of the circles up towards the center, forming a triangular surface surrounded by three flaps. Eight circles are required for each ornament. I used a different paper for each circle/side. After folding all of my pieces, I applied glue to all of the flaps of one piece. Then, I gradually built the ornament by pressing flaps of additional circles to the first, adding more glue and more circles until I created the shape in the photo above. Clear as mud?

My fancy papers are printed only on one side, so the next ornaments require four circles per ornament. I started by gluing pairs of circles back-to-back. When dry, I cut a straight line along the radius of each new circle. Then, I slotted two circles together, the results of which are shown above. The final step is to pop the circles so that they're perpendicular to one another.

I made the third ornaments last year. I cut the same papers into strips using my paper cutter. I kept the width of the strips the same, but cut them to two different lengths. Then I stacked the strips, face up, into piles of eight and attached them at each end with tiny brads. Some stacks were all of the same pattern, some were of mixed patterns. Finally, I fanned the strips around to create a sphere.

Here are the results of my efforts. Lovely effect, isn't it? I just finished the eight-sided ornaments last night, so still need to hang them with the others. They were all quite easy to make, and it's nice way to spend an afternoon. Some tea, a Christmas movie, and a pile of pretty papers...

Wonder what else I can hang from the ceiling? And what am I going to do with these? Saw them on my last trip to the craft store and couldn't resist...

*All tools and materials available at Michael's.


Christmas Countdown

I thought that I'd share a project you may have noticed in the background of last post's photos. It's our Christmas Countdown Calendar. The pattern came from Jenny B. Harris over at Allsorts. (Btw, she very generously offers the patterns for free!)

Last year I embroidered and stitched the pockets, then sewed them onto lengths of grosgrain ribbon to form the garland. I've used different colored buttons to fasten each pocket, to go with the different colors of ribbon. I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out, though when empty, the pockets are a bit tipsy. I can't decide if I should try and fix it. Or maybe, if I got tipsy myself, the pockets might look straight! Hmmm...

This year, I finished the crowning touch, the star. I'm quite proud of the bow I fashioned. Yeah, I know it's kinda lame to be so excited about a bow, but what can I say? That's how I roll.


Tree Trimming

It has been our tradition the last few years to get our Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend. I've insisted upon a Douglas Fir every year - they are not only so pretty with branches full of long, soft needles, but they also smell divine. Like evergreens and oranges.

Another tradition is to purchase a few ornaments each year. This is the first in a series of three, made from Alicia's Ice Skating Afternoon Kit. The kit was purchased last for last Christmas, but were only started & finished in the last few weeks. First up is this charming cup of Hot Cocoa. Don't you just love the marshmallow floating on top?

Next up is this sweet little Gingerbread Girl. She took the most work, but was SO worth it!

And look, from the back you see the ties of her apron! Doesn't Alicia think of everything? Her patterns and kits are so thoughtful... She's done another kit this year, called "Walk in the Woods", which is next on my holiday "To-Do" list. I'll show you those, when they're finished.

Last in the series is the Ice Skate. Isn't it beautiful? The pom pom just kills me. I've never actually taken to ice skating, myself. The cold, the sore ankles, and my total lack of balance are all strikes against adding ice skating to my list of hobbies. However, the nostalgic picture that comes to mind is really hard to resist.

Here I am, adding one of the last ornaments, before the tree topper and Victorian Tinsel. I love my Victorian Tinsel. Having kitties makes regular tinsel out of the question, but the Victorian Tinsel is safe and sparkly substitute. We got ours from Signals several years ago.

And last, but not least, is Ryan with his favorite ornament - a miniature Yukon Cornelius.

Back with more holiday goodness later!


Our Day Out

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful time. It was so nice to have Ryan's family visiting from Seattle and Chicago. I've got TONS to share with you, 'cause we've been really busy around here. Today, though, I thought I'd show you some pictures I took last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, Ryan, his mother (Terre) and I took a little daytrip to Carlton and McMinnville, two lovely little towns in the Yamhill Wine Country. We visited a few wineries, stopped in at a barn sale, had lunch at the wonderful La Rambla, and strolled down 3rd Street in downtown McMinnville.

Our first wine stop was the Carlton Winemakers Studio, followed by Cana's Feast Winery. They're situated on the same hill (how convenient!) and both offer a variety of very different wines. Ryan and Terre tasted, while I soaked up the scenery.

After two rounds of tasting, we headed over to McMinnville for lunch. On the way, I spied a sign for a barn sale, so we did a quick turn around to check it out. It was a new enterprise and I sincerely hope they do well. The barn is being restored and wears a fresh coat of red paint. What would've once been horse stalls are now vendor stalls. The interior is lit with strings of large patio lights, the effect which is very charming. (The lovely little vignette in the first photo was on the barn's porch.) I came away with a vintage brooch, which I've already worn twice, and a picture frame made of reclaimed wood - good stop!

When we finally made it to McMinnville, we made a bee-line to La Rambla. Ryan and I first ate there three years ago, and loved it. As you can see from the 2nd picture, the space is just beautiful. Normally, taxidermy freaks me out, but their peacock is magnificent! And, not only is the decor delicious, so is the food!

We finished the trip with a stroll down 3rd St, which has lots of cute little shops. It's got a real 1950's charm, and it's clear the town has worked hard to restore/preserve their quaint little strip. Mes Amis, had the most beautiful window. Isn't that gown incredible?!

After staring into all of the shop windows, we visited Willamette Valley Vineyards' Wine Center. They had this really amazing table... It was at least 20 feet long (maybe longer), and was built from wood which had been an Amish barn in a former life. You could still see some of the square pegs used to hold the original structure together. Why didn't I take a picture? It was SO cool.

What a beautiful day! Good company, great food, a bottle of wine from each stop, and a couple of little treasures for me...