Friday, December 24, 2010

Food Gifts

We are having tons of fun on our family Christmas vacation extravaganza: Java Jacks, naps, cooking with family, meeting new babies, the best handmade doll bed ever. There's a lot to say, that probably won't see the pages of this blog because we're too busy making memories (did I mention photo shoot with the coolest photography sister yet?) and relaxing. 

I am hopping on long enough to post the fourth and final installment in the gift guide aka cool things I've bookmarked online series. This is dedicated to all things edible. Enjoy!

Andies Specialty Sweets Edible Gingerbread Gift Tags
These would be adorable as place settings for a Christmas dessert party or brunch. The red and white striped twine and straw add the perfect touch.

Whimsy and Spice Marshmallow Sampler
Pick three. My choices? Cardamom, espresso and rose vanilla. Or maybe the maple. Or the chocolate. Whimsy and Spice has loads of yummy food and awesome photography as well.


Single Serving Pie in a Jar from Our Best Bites 
I usually pass out cookies at Christmas, but pie is much more my style and these are too cute! These would make great gifts with fabric covered lids and labels.


  Confessions of a Cookbook Queen: Red Velvet Brownies
Everything posted on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen is fantastic. I've had these saved for a while, and they look so Christmasy.

  Sprinkle Bakes: Coffee and Donut Cake
Are there even words??? If you ever needed a good excuse to have cake for breakfast, you need look no further.

 Martha Stewart Gingerbread Town Square Cake
I used to LOVE making elaborate cakes. Now it means getting a babysitter or baking till 2am. This is the first cake I was really tempted by after Eden was born. It's still haunting me.

Williams-Sonoma Crepe Mix
We had crepes for Christmas Eve morning brunch this year. It was my dad's idea and it turned out great! This mix made it super simple and yummy. My favorite combo was spinach, sauteed  baby bella mushrooms, swiss cheese and sausage. 

This would be so yummy on Christmas morning.

I was searching for a hot chocolate mix that came close to the hot chocolate we had in Italy. It was basically a semisweet chocolate bar melted and whipped with heavy cream and topped with a bit of cinnamon. I failed,  but I did find this and I think I'm going to have to make a stop at Williams-Sonoma within 24 hours of returning to NorthShore Chicago.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gifts to Make

So, I'm pretty embarrassed. I went to the Highland Park Community Nursery school today to drop off Eden's application for next fall. Yes, it seems early, that's how it's done around here. I have to apply earlier for a 2 day nursery program than I would most colleges.
Anyway, so I had already met the director earlier this week. We had a long chat about the school, her philosophies and a bit of her life story. I came back today to turn in the paperwork, and she leaned in,but Eden was kind of in between us and there were big coats and I couldn't tell what was going on. I stuck my hand out for a handshake and then thought maybe she was going to hug me. But really? A hug? That's a little forward. So I paused, and then decided to accept. But by then she was moving onto the handshake. Did I mention she's 6'2"? Not exaggerating. So then I couldn't figure out what to do. Eventually there was some awkward normal/side hybrid hug that left me feeling like one of her students (yes, because I'm so short). Oh and there was awkward laughing, but just from me. Did I mention awkward??
I'm glad Eden isn't old enough to be embarrassed by me yet.

There's honestly not a good segway from awkward hugs to crafting so just bare with me for this rough 180.

Below you will find a smattering of fun DIY projects. Honestly, the majority of the items are for kids, but I was able to sneak in a few for the older crowd. Enjoy!

Felt Garland Patterns from Erica Hite
There is also a MERRY garland in her shop. I would love to have either hanging around during the holidays. Felt is a really great medium for a beginner sewer.

Dress Embroidery Patterns from A Little Sweetness
 All of the patterns from A Little Sweetness are darling. Her Little Red Riding Dress Kits are definitely way up on the list for me.

Etsy Handmade Nesting Dolls
I like this laid back version of nesting dolls and could see them being used as puppets. Home therapy anyone??

Playhouse Pattern by Miss Pretty Pretty
We had one of these growing up and I LOVED it. Again, this is made of felt, and the possibilities are endless (fire station, cupcake shop, etc etc). My nieces are going to be the perfect age for this in a year or two.

Frugal Granny Workbench
For Eden's first birthday, we turned an old nightstand into a kitchen. It was such a fun project and I love this version for a little boy.

Rubber Punkin Chalkboard
Ahhh, chalkboard paint. Your uses are endless.  It can be hard sometimes with DIY presents for adults to stay away from the crafty look. These turned out so nicely.

Living with Punks Floor Cushions
If I ever find the right fabric there will be some of these in our living room.

Mini Eco Sewing Cards
Too cute!

Chez Beeper Bebe Alphabet Bean Bags
These can be made with numbers as well. 

Make It Love It T-shirt Ruffle Dress
Such a simple idea, but a great one!

Elle Apparel Pinwheel Skirt
 Everytime I look at this pattern I cannot get over how simple it seems. I have fabric that's been waiting to be turned into this, but clothing is definitely not my strong suit so I'm nervous. If it ever happens I'll let you know how it turns out!

 The last segment is all about food. Hopefully I'll get to it before Texas. Less than 36 hours!!

Gifts for Kids

We're leaving for Texas in less than two days. There are barely any clean clothes in the house, the fridge needs to be cleaned out, one handmade present needs a lot of work, three more presents need wrapping, nothing has been packed, no lists have been made (well, except this one), and I have no motivation. Don't get me wrong, I am really ready for this trip, ready to see family. Usually I pack a week out, *trying* to control everything. This year I am just letting what happens happen. We'll see how that pans out ;). Did I mention we are going to a movie tomorrow?

So instead of chipping away at the millions of tasks that need to be done I'm going to give you the second installment of my "gift guide" aka really cool stuff I've bookmarked and want to share. This is for the kiddos!
(speaking of kiddos, does everyone know by now that I am the happy expectant Aunt for triplets?? congrats again Paul and Michelle!!). 

Love Mae Reusable Wall Stickers
These are the CUTEST things in the world. This is actually reusable FABRIC wall stickers. Shown below is the summer collection, but there are many more.

 Giddy Up and Grow Headbands

I have grown very fond of working with felt and there is a lot of inspiration in the Giddy Up and Grow shop. If only Eden liked headbands!

Artwork from Hsinping
If we're ever blessed with a little boy I would love to do twilight, outdoors  decor in his room. These colors are exactly what I've imagined.

Little Bird Designs Baking Set
The sweet little fabric in this set is adorable. It reminds me of the Sanrio stationary I loved as a kid.

Sweet Pea Toads Hats
You absolutely have to visit Sweet Pea Toad's Etsy shop and check out the lion. Can't you just picture three little chubby babies in nothing but diapers and these animal hats??

Bugaloo Soft Leather Shoes
Eden had a couple pairs of these Bugaloo shoes when she first started walking. I cannot overstate how great they are for those first steps, and they are much cheaper than the name brand options.

Lily and Thistle Customized MiniMe Paper Dolls
When I was little I was obsessed with paper dolls. These would have left me speechless, or squealing and jumping as 11 year olds do so well.

Bla Bla Dolls
Oh grandparents do love to spoil. Eden is the lucky recipient of a Bla Bla Doll. She has a princess and she LOVES it. They are incredibly soft, very high quality, wash well, and who doesn't love the funky design?? The foxes are the cutest for little boys.

Land of Nod Tower of Babble Nesting Blocks
 A sweet friend of Eden's let her borrow the Melissa & Doug set of Alphabet nesting blocks. She was quite entertained. You could see the gears turning as she learned which blocks were bigger and how to stack them. The tower gets to be about her height. This set from Land of Nod has lovely graphics.

Pottery Barn Kids Jumbo Fun on the Farm Stacker
 When I first saw this I wished for one minute that my daughter would be one year younger so this could be her Christmas present, but then I remembered that she can talk and walk. Still, this is pretty awesome.

How to Behave and Why
This on the other hand is PERFECT for Eden's age. Anthropologie carries three reprinted manners for children books.  It almost makes me believe that teaching a toddler good habits could be fun.
Next up, gifts to make!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gifts for Grown Ups

I know this comes too late for it to really affect any of your Christmas shopping, but it seemed like a good time to share some of my favorite only goodies. This Adult Gift Guide is the first in a series of four. Enjoy!


The Nimbus Factory Wall Calendar
Not only is this wall calendar super cute, it's really inexpensive! The Nimbus Factory has tons of other cute paper goods.

Skinit Natural Wood Laptop Skin
This strikes me as a cool gift for a guy who has everything. There are a lot of different wood tones from which to choose.

Hand Embroidered Jewelry from Spin Thread
 Although they take forever to arrive because they are stitched meticulously by hand after being ordered, the geometric patterned jewelry from Spin Thread is well worth the wait. Check out her site to see her awesome bracelets.

Thomas and I have a ton of records and one broken record player. This is the most adorable record player I've ever seen. I can just picture it at a picnic in the woods with some big band playing. 

Garlands of Grace Headband
These look super comfy and cute, and there are lots of colors and styles.

The Wheatfield Be Filled with Joy
 I LOVE everything The Wheatfield prints and had a really hard time narrowing down which print to show you. You MUST go to her shop and check it out. It's on my adult gift list, but I think her prints are also perfect for a nursery.

Who knows why I am so attracted to the waist down paintings by Janet Hill Studios. The hair and makeup from the 40s and 50s was pretty awesome, but nothing beats the full a-line skirt and cute hi-heels. 
Check out the full series in her shop.

At Renegade Craft Fair I scored a few Rifle Paper Company cards and have been stalking them ever since. It's like Sufjan Steven's older music set to stationary. Their aesthetic is brilliant.


I'm waiting for Thomas to bring back the bow tie.

Anybody have a great gift idea that they don't have a recipient for, but still want to share?