Friday, December 31, 2010

looking back

I just spent a large chunk of the morning looking through my files of photos for this year. How utterly satisfying!

2010 has definitely been a good year.

Not that there haven't been hard times... but overall, the memories are happy.

Several overnight trips away, just Ray and me... a return to acting after several years... my in-laws' 50th anniversary celebration... my mom's wedding... happy family together-times...

I'm happy. Joyful, even.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2 days... busy busy busy

So much is getting done here... finally!... and I can't show you pics of any of it. I *knew* I shouldn't have let my family know I had a blog!!

But here's my present this year, half of it courtesy of Pioneer Woman and the photo editing contest that I won (I won!!! Seriously, I still can't believe it most of the time!).

A (gently used) Canon 40d... which, as one of my friends kindly pointed out to me, sounds like a bra size... and an 18-135 lens which I hope will turn out to be a good general-purpose one. Picking out a lens was the hardest part of the purchase - finding one with good reviews, that would cover most of my needs, and still be within my budget.

So, now I get to play with my camera... so many buttons and dials and unfamiliar features. It feels so good to have an SLR in my hands again!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

6 days... and a winner!

Seriously? Six days til Christmas??? Soooo not ready.

But that's irrelevant right now... here's what the random number generator says:

Congrats, Meadow! I hope you enjoy the purse!

frost on the rosebuds

Monday, December 13, 2010

11 days ... giveaway day!

Today is Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew!

I love doing this giveaway - so many new blogs to investigate... so many cool handmade items to investigate (and maybe win).

So here's the deal.

I'm giving away this cool little purse. It's a take-off of Renske's minimalist tote bag; the tutorial for which was posted on design*sponge a while back.

It's a fascinating design - the handle doubles as the bag's closure.

This little version is made almost completely of recycled materials. A white canvas/denim type fabric for the main body, a couple of shirts for the lining and pocket, and a leather skirt for the trim.

It measures 11"x7"x1" and has a handle drop of 10".

To have a chance of winning this bag, just leave me a comment - I'd love to know what is bringing you the most joy right now.

And now for the fine print:
  • The comments will stay open until midnight Pacific time on the 17th of December, after which the winner will be chosen by the all-knowing random number generator.
  • I'm willing to ship internationally.
  • Make sure that you have included your email address in the comment form, or else I'll have no way to contact you, and another winner may be chosen.
Good luck, everyone! And be sure to check out the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog to find the huge list of participants in the Giveaway Day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 days ... daybook


Outside my window... it has stopped raining. Torrentially.

I am thinking... about how surprised I am at my emotional disconnect from Christmas. I can't seem to get into the spirit this year for some reason.

I am thankful for... cosy felted wool slippers. Yes, I finally made them!

From the kitchen... potato and leek soup. Ahhhh, yes. Comfort food at its finest!

I am wearing... the afore-mentioned slippers. Also jeans, my double-gauze black/grey checked shirt, and a grey cardigan.

I am creating... purses. And a new ArtFire shop in which to sell them. Finally. After talking about doing it for well over a year now.

I am going... forward. Feeling optimistic again. I like it.

I am reading... a new-to-me historical fiction/mystery series... the Shardlake books by C.J.Sansom. They're set in Henry VIII's time, against the dissolution of monasteries and religious reform. So far, I'm cautiously optimistic about them. Although I don't think that they are going to steal first place on my list from Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series.

I am hearing... the rumble of helicopters. "Ah, shoot!" "Bang,bang,bang" "Hahaha!" My husband is playing Wii games with our daughter.

Around the house... there is some evidence of Christmas. The tree is up. Lights are strung. The mantle is  decorated.

One of my favorite things... the new birdie ornaments I bought this year.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • shopping for presents
  • more sewing (presents as well as purses. Maybe even a tree skirt!)
  • cookie baking
  • the first of the annual extended-family Christmas dinners
Here is picture I am sharing...
snow on my lavender plant... it's from a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't bring myself to take a photo of all the rain we've been having lately.

More daybook pages can be found here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

20 days... and I'm gobsmacked!

Originally uploaded by whimsey
Yes indeedy. Blown away. Shocked.
You are looking at the winner of a Pioneer Woman photo-editing contest!
PW put one of her photos up for everyone to edit, and out of around 1200 entries, this one caught her eye.
So now, having won a gift card to B&H, I get to replace my camera with something that doesn't have a condensation spot in the middle of the lens. Something (maybe) in the DSLR category. Oh, can it be???

Thursday, December 2, 2010

23 days... feeling cheeky

I'm slowly pulling boxes of decorations out from the storage area under the stairs.

(side note: we've christened it 'Harry Potter'. As in "Can you please get me a jar of pickles from Harry Potter?" Or "Where's the sleeping bag?" "It's in Harry Potter." This confuses our friends and makes us laugh.)

I found these blocks at a thrift store last year, and set them out on my mantle. This year, I've got other things above the fireplace, and the shelves in the china cabinet aren't big enough to hold long words.

The obvious solution was to hit up the anagram generator for words that would fit.

Right? That was the obvious thing to do, wasn't it??

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

24 days... and a winner!

There's nothing like doing things at the last minute, is there?

Please tell me I'm not the only Mama who spent a good portion of the day creating this year's Advent calendar!!

I used a combination of tutorials and pictures found whilst wasting time researching online. Also, I spent the last month or so collecting empty toilet rolls, much to the bemusement of my husband.

"Honey, why are there 20 empty toilet rolls in the cupboard?"

"Oh, I don't know. I just thought they might come in handy one of these days."

I like being cryptic like that.

I covered the rolls in old book pages, then flattened the bottoms and ran them through the sewing machine. I used a leather needle (a needle intended for sewing through leather, not a needle made of leather... just in case there was any confusion) and zig-zagged across to make a little pocket. Then I glued on the numbers, and they were all ready to hang up.

I also took great joy and delight in the fact that I bought the fillers in the presence of my daughter, and she had no idea what they were for. Of course, she is only 5, and we didn't do an advent calendar last year, but still. I'm easily amused.

Each little tube contains a tiny ornament for the tree in her bedroom, as well as a small chocolate for each of the kids, and a verse to read.

The countdown has begun!

Also, (please forgive the delay), the all-knowing random number generator has chosen the lovely Jessica to have the joy banner! Congrats, Jessica! I hope overseas posting will still allow you to enjoy it this Christmas!