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October 2010
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December 2010

November 2010

{ tutorial } festive candle cuffs

Are you ready to get your holiday crafting on?

I told hubs that I would not be stressing myself out this year with all the Making.  I am going to do a lot of shopping on Etsy.  I am going to set realistic goals.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed with making things.  I have this problem with thinking that since I can make xyz, it is my obligation to do so. 

Oh, the furious last minute late night sessions are fun, but I don't want to be disappointed with myself if I don't do it All.  This should be a time for celebration, not stress.  I need to keep telling myself that. 

So with that in mind, here's a quick and easy totally do-able, 5 minute project.  You can check off 'handmade' without also checking off every night of the week.  If you have your supplies ready, you can whip out several of these while watching Modern Family.

Just saying.


You will need:

Glass pillar jar candles (or just wide-mouth glass jars)
a strip of felt cut to wrap and overlap the jar, about a half inch
lace trim, also to overlap a bit
embroidery floss
spare buttons


Wrap the felt around the jar, pin it, and stitch it closed.  On some I used decorative stitches, but it doesn't really matter.  Also, you can slide the cuff off the jar to stitch if it's easier.


Take the lace trim and wrap it around the felt.  The friction of the felt should keep in place for you without pins and such.


Sew your button onto the cuff, making sure the embroidery floss goes through all the layers.  I didn't use any glue between the cuff and the jar-- or anywhere -- and they appear to sit tight just fine.  Also, this means you can always reuse these supplies later without too much hassle.  (Always a bonus in my book.)


Repeat on multiple jars and candles, mixing up your cuff widths, laces and buttons. 


I have already gifted two of my bigger ones and think I'll be rounding up some more for hostess gifts and friends.  Everyone likes an extra cozy candle, right?

{ thrifted } tiny happy gingerbread shakers

So I was going to try and write a post about my weekend trip to Austin to see Jade and her clan, but she's already done a wonderful job on her own blog(Thank you, dear friend, for good conversation and such warm and comfy accomodations.  Your nest has that special touch that makes it hard to leave.  Hugs to you and yours this holiday season.  xoxo)

Yesterday, while Fidget visited her preschool for a quick Thankgiving feast, the one for which we made those delicious and easy cookies, I popped around the corner for a sprint through the thrift shop that is practically next door.   

thrifted gingerbread goodness

And there, wouldn't you know, sat this darling little pair of silver gingerbread salt and pepper shakers, awaiting a new home for a grand total of 75 cents.   They got a little polishing up this morning and are quite ready to party this holiday season.

On this Thanksgiving eve, I am so very thankful for all the blessings in my life.  Every year gets better, even when I think it cannot.  Friends and family and experience all roll up into one giant delicious cinnamon roll kind of goodness and I find my forearm bruised from all the pinching I do to make sure it's for real.  I hope you have days like that. I really, really do.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday weekend full of warm memories and yummy goodies.  Take care, friends!

miss chris

{ baking } crazy easy pumpkin cookies

easy pumpkin cookies

"Mommy, these are the goodest thing I've ever had!"

Enough said, I think.

Box Cake Pumpkin Cookies
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1 box spice cake mix
(chips or nuts or whatever, if you desire)
(cream cheese frosting, if you're going for extra yum)

I dumped the can and the box contents into my mixer before dropping the batter on cookie sheets.  Oven 350, bake 8-15 mins, depending on the size of your dropped cookies.  They can't really burn, they just firm up a bit.

Yum, yum, good. 

{ sunday morning } happy

On Friday morning I had a rather last minute appointment to have my upper wisdom teeth removed.  Two mornings later, I am feeling remarkably well.  Even better than before, really, as the left one had been giving me increased pain over the last two weeks and now, like magic, I have none. 

crochet!!!  and I'm not fouling it up!

The littles went to my in-laws for the weekend so that mommy could rest without too much guilt.  And I have.  It's been wonderful to sit in front of the tube and watch chick flicks and get that much closer to completing my dottie angel patchwork afghan.  It's going to be wonderful.

mini garland for a mini friend

I also took some time to finish up some hand sewing on a mini garland for a mini friend who is celebrating a birthday later this afternoon.  I can't wait to take photos of it in the proper space... am hoping it will be as darling as I have planned.  Am also hoping her mom doesn't mind that I took it into my own hands to add my touch on her daughter's new vintage inspired bedroom! 

the only pillow I made for erin's challenge

Last week was erin's pillow challenge.  I had grand plans of making 4, had 2 laid out, and made one.  Oh well! This one was big, at 24" x 24", and I added a zipper and extra touches like thrifted eyelet trim and tag, so that counts, right?  The back is solid pink, which makes me happy. (Heidi, the pink is for you.  Now there is a touch more pink in my house.)  The grey tag is a tiny scrap stowaway from my Seattle weekend

the only pillow I made for erin's challenge

Maybe it counts that I recently made two polka dotted zippered pillows for this same couch not too long ago?  That would put me at 3, which is totally not slackerish!  Right?   Right.  Ok.  I feel better.  And that's not just the painkillers talking!

holidays creeping in

I was loving the light and warmth in my living room this morning, which was the whole reason I got out my camera.  I jumped up and took a photo.  I didn't straighten any pillows or move the dogtoys or overturned laundry-basket-come-side-table out of the way.  This is just the way it was and it felt cozy. 

(I am so glad that I set about putting up a few house decs last weekend, too, as this weekend I was out of commission and I will be out of town for the next two.  All that is left are the trees -- one big and one little -- and that seems doable at this point.)

Many wishes to you for a special sunny and warm Sunday afternoon. 
miss chris

{ sewing } mini boden challenge: appliqued skirt

Next up on on my Mini Boden list:


The apple pocket jeans skirt.

Except I didn't use a denim skirt, or make beltloops, or make giant apple pockets.  I did, however, make a simple tube + casing skirt from a fine wale corduroy and added appliqued flower pockets.


I found the cute t-shirt top at Target yesterday on clearance, so I bought two and cut up one for appliques.  Don't look too close at the appliques.  My topstitching leaves something to be desired.  As do my rounded pocket corners.


Whatever!   The pockets are fun! 


So much fun that I have very few decent photos.  But that is what you get when you ask a girl nicknamed Fidget to stand on a bed for photos.   And she doesn't sit still long enough for anyone to look that closely anyway.



Oh well.  I'm still going to call this one a winner!

about 1/3 sale fabric ($4?)
clearance shirt, $4.70
total outfit: 8.70

(added to the flickr mini boden challenge pool... check it out!)


{ thrifted + modified } the closet part 2

Thank you, ever so much, for your sweet words of encouragement on my last post.  I am so much more comfortable behind the camera, but your comments gave me the confidence to push onward and show you another one of my projects from The Pile.

Staging photos like these makes me want to laugh my head off.  However, they are necessary if I'm going to show you the proper before and after.  Draping stuff from a hanger just wouldn't do it.  We also have very few blank walls in the house.  This is in the master bathroom.  I am standing next to the toilet looking down, very seriously.  Excuse me, I have more giggling to do...

Okay.  Let's do this.


My sister gave me this dark gray stretch t-shirt jersey dress back in 1998 when she worked at Old Navy AND got a hefty discount AND it had gone to clearance.  Seriously, I think she paid about $1.50.  I wore it to work with a cardigan all the time.  I wore it to school functions.  I wore it to at least one funeral. 

And then I stopped wearing it because, somewhere along the way, the length started to bother me.  And it felt a bit too drab.  And, let's be honest, I was bored.

So it sat in The Pile for a very long time.

Until I got it out last week, chopped off several inches, and hemmed it.  It was instantly better.

But it still needed something.

that something extra

So I took a lesson from Tif and cut a straight enough strip from a vintage lace tablecloth and attached it to the inside of the neckline.  It was exactly what I needed.

after! (shorted + embellished)  with boots, of course.

Here I am -- with The Boots and one my favorite cheapo XXI cardigans -- wearing it for about the third time in two weeks already. Hurrah! 

(My grandmother wanted me to have that picture when she passed away.  I have it hanging in my bedroom and I love that it pops up on the blog when I'm posting about clothes and stuff.  She was the ultimate accessorizer and girlie-girl.  She would appreciate this, too.)

There is more in The Pile.  I think I'm going to have to have a better attitude about it from now on.  This is actually fun. 

What's in yours?

miss chris

{ thrifted + modified } The Pile and The Boots

So, part of my Need to Clean and Purge includes attacking the pile of mending and alterations that has been collecting in my studio.  It's not going anywhere if I don't address it, right?

And it's largely stuff for me, which is fun. 

Thrifted_refashion-017Case in point, this pretty little vintage skirt. (The sweater is vintage + thrifted, too.  However, the sleeve cuffs were too tight.  I just snapped them off and now I can push the sleeves up.  Much better.)

I bought the skirt years ago for $8 and loved it, but rarely ever wore it because of the length.  It is A-line and cut on the bias, which are both universally flattering, even if you think oversized plaid isn't. But I totally had this Librarian thing going on.

I just insulted librarians.

I meant the matronly shhh-ing types.


I just insulted them again.

I hope you know what I mean.

It just wasn't working for me.


So, scissors, thread and about 25 minutes later....

I cut off about 6", hemmed it by hand -- such a nice touch on garments, don't you think? -- and used some of the extra fabric to make a detachable flower.  I would never dare to wear this length without tights or leggings, but it's an acrylic woolish blend that needs leg wear anyway.


And now I love it.

And yes, those are The Boots I picked up in Seattle at a flea market.  Where Jade was holding them up for me across the store and I could swear there was a gentle glow and a choir of angels.  I had been looking for vintage Frye Campus Boots for two years. 


And there they were.  I quickly discarded the stack of olive green Texas-Ware I had been admiring and ran across the store in that underwater kind of haze you have in dream sequences. 


She was saying 'size 6, right??!!'  Yes, yes, yes!

And as I got there I saw that, yes, they were exactly what I had been searching for. 

I'm not going to lie.  It's ridiculous to get this excited about boots.  And I'm pretty sure there is a Peter Cetera song that would aptly describe my joy at that moment.  It was kismet, me and my found boots.  All worn in and aged.  Scuffed and softened and teeming with character. 


I took them home and after a trip to the cobbler for new soles and a cleanup they are thrilled to be back in action.  (If that is what you call the grocery store, library and dance class. )

And all we lived happily ever after.

Next up: Dottie'd up funeral wear.  Happy weekending!

miss chris

{ sewing } boden challenge dress 2

Without further ado, let's talk about my second dress challenge.  It was based on this one from mini boden:


Warm, heavy fabric, jaunty zippers, bold color, simple cut. 

Okay, I get that.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

Simplicity 2484 seemed like a good fit.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

It is perfect for ukelele practice.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

Or world discovery.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

It even has places to put your stuff.

mini boden challenge, dress 2

Aside from wrapping my head around the zipper placement  (which wasn't nearly as tricky as I thought it would be), this little dress is pretty simple.  I have a a strong track record of attaching my seam binding to the wrong side of arm holes and this one is no exception.  I went ahead and left it there for contrast.  It works.  I might actually even like it better that way.

Pattern, bought on sale for .99
Fabric, bought on sale for $7
Zipper, thrifted, .25
Time: about 1.5 hrs

Boden dress: $54 (w/tax + shipping)
The PPF Challenge dress: $8.24

And mama does the happy dance.   Woohoo!

(I also kind of want one in my size.)


{ waiting } mini boden challenge still going!

An-ti-ci-pa-tion ... (I can't help but sing that when I see this photo from last night)


It seems all the coat making slowed things down here a bit!  Fear not, I have new challenge results to post, but am missing a model today.

I will have to be patient and sing my little song a bit longer.  :)

I am also using the opportunity to clean out my house with a gusto that is not usually seen in these parts until January.  What's up with that?  I welcome the initiative, but I am a little perplexed. 

Until soon, friends!  xoxo