A new look for a new year

In honor of the new year that's fast approaching, I thought the blog could use a slightly updated look. I little more minimal perhaps. So here it is! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. When all was said and done, it turned out okay. I never manage to get everything I wanted to done and in the end, it doesn't really matter. I enjoyed myself and finally had a mostly stress-free holiday and that is something to celebrate! Santa was good to me, the best gift?
132 Prismacolor pencils!, from my hubby. I also got some stamps, a new paper trimmer and lots of crafty gift cards to fuel the fire, so I will have to get to work!

Yesterday was a fabulous day, 70 degrees and sunny, and we were able to finally get out and do some long overdue yardwork-in shorts and a tank top. Gosh, where is winter? I seem to have strained a muscle in my shoulder raking (that's how bad it was!) but the yard looks great. And today is has poured rain all day, so I am glad we got it done. Today I still have some post-Christmas cleanup to do and prep for some dinner guests tonight. Then preparing for a new year's eve away with some friends, which I am looking forward to before school starts back up. Happy New Year to all!


Christmas cards....

...are finally done! I stamped and mailed them today, so they will actually arrive before Christmas. And, to top that (I am super proud of myself here), each one is hand-made and completely unique. I will admit that they are not all the best creations I've made, but it's the thought and the effort that counts. That is one weight off my chest and today I even got most of my shopping done.

The rest of the gifts are going to be handmade, which leaves a lot left and here I give the warning that I won't be posting much until after the holiday, since I want what I am working on to stay secret! But, for today, I have a quick share of some photos.

Remember last time I talked about our homemade Christmas crackers? Well, they were a big hit and I finally have a snap of them. For those who might think of giving them a try, here's a tip: don't use that shiny foil-type wrapping paper. It rips very easily, but trying to pull it apart in a cracker- it's damn near impossible!

Here's a sampling of some of the Christmas cards (those that haven't already been posted):

Tomorrow it's baking goodies for neighbor gifts and for my Saturday Christmas movie-thon, including homemade marshmallows (more on that later, because they are so fabulous they need their own post :). Then, lots more crafty work...good luck to everyone else with a mile-long to-do list! Night!


Pop! goes....

...the champagne! This semester has been a really tough one for me for many reasons that I won't go into but all I have to say is: It's finally over! After a long stay, Tuesday we (finally) passes along our foster kitties to their new family. Wednesday night I turned in my last paper and since then, we have kicked into Christmas high-gear.

We had decided to try to make this Christmas mostly homemade, kind of to get back to the fun and spirit of it and to spend less on silly stuff, so, since we had yet to even get our tree, we spent yesterday making ornaments. We made applesauce-cinnamon shapes, which smell divine, ribbon ornaments, and an old-fashioned cranberry-popcorn garland. Here are some peeks at that:

Today, we got our tree and I did some crafty work with my mom for our Christmas party, which is tomorrow. We decided this year to make homemade English crackers, which is a tube filled with small goodies. Traditionally, they contain a paper crown, a bad joke, and some kind of little trinket, and they are just kind of fun to do because when you pull the ends, they "crack" open. I will have a picture of ours soon. For those of you who have not heard of them, check out this site. They sell premade ones (which you can find most anywhere these days) or materials to make your own. If you go that route, skip their tubes and recycle toilet paper rolls from family and friends like we did-a green Christmas project! I also made these little tags to go on the various carafes and pitchers we will have at the party. Nothing spectacular-I made them all in about 40 minutes-but I kind of liked them...

I think that is it for tonight. I am pooped and have some early AM baking to do tomorrow...can't believe Christmas is soo close. Goodnight!


Thanksgiving and a Christmas sneak peek!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving, two actually, one with my family, one with my husband's. There was lots of delicious food to be had-I contributed a ham, sugar cookies, garlic roasted broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes, and Double Chocolate pomegranate brownies-Yum! As is typical, the women cook and clean up...and the men take a nap. This picture of my husband says it all:

I can't believe that we are in December already! Christmas is just around the corner and, as usual there is so much to do! But, I am finishing up the semester (one day of class and two papers to go) and hopefully I will be on top of things this year with a few weeks dedicated to holiday projects...we'll see. We have had rainy weather here the past few days and so we didn't make it out to cut a tree, which is probably just as well, since I am not quite ready to decorate it anyhow. Maybe this weekend. And! We are having a Christmas party this year! This is a first, maybe starting an annual event? Who knows. I haven't had much general crafting time, but here's a sneak peek of the invite, the rest coming in a few days once everyone has gotten theirs:
That's all for now. Off to do some work!