Monday, December 31, 2012

For Christmas, I crocheted a winter item for all the females in my family. I couldn't think of what to make my mom since I've made her almost everything you can think of- so as I was online shopping (which is 9 times out of 10 what I'm doing on the internet) I came across this very pretty cowl scarf from Anthropologie: Tawny Knit Collar, hand knit (in India) from wool. I love the look of it, the chunky, soft appeal of wearing it around your neck in the wintertime. But $78? Even on sale for $40, that is an outrageous price for a simple item which was made abroad.

So I decided to try to make this on my own, crocheted not knitted.  I used one skein of chunky yarn, a crochet hook, yarn needle to stitch in the ends, and one snap: totaling the project at $3.20. Sure beats $78!

I studied the photos as best as I could and came up with a very simple pattern of half double crochets and a simple chain stitch around the outside to create a braided border. This was the first time I put a snap on a crochet project and I hope it stands up to the test of time - I found the largest snap I could (which isn't all too big) and put it towards the top 1/3rd of the cowl so the bottom 2/3rd could be folded over the shoulders (unlike the Anthropologie cowl). It's a bit bigger, but I like how it can be worn under a coat to create a protection layer from the cold. Also, the fold over top part can be unfolded and it covers your mouth, nose and cheeks - great for the windy winter chill. If anyone is interested in the pattern, I could post the pattern, please let me know!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Gift Wrapping

This year, I decided to spend some time on my holiday gift wrapping, putting some extra decorations into them! I love using non-holiday colors, especially pastels. Here are the supplies I used for wrapping the gifts:

And here are a few simple instructions for wrapping your gifts:

I used free printable doily patterns, a deer wax stamper, wax, free printable gift tags, and silver glitter pine cones to spruce up the presents! Explore your options with different color combinations, decorative paper, stampers, and ornaments! I tried to find my own pine cones, but living in a city, that was nearly impossible. Try finding and making your own ornaments to make these gifts one of a kind!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wedding Favors - Handmade Drawstring Bags with Wildflower Seeds

For our fall time wedding, Steve and I decided to give something that wasn't a one time use/eat/throw away present for our wedding guests. We thought flower seeds were the perfect way that our guests could be reminded of our wedding each year with the blooming of wildflowers.

Not only was it fun to give these little gifts, but we saved a lot of money making the presents ourselves.

Here are the materials and costs for our wedding gifts, makes about 100:

  1. Natural Muslin, 2 yards (in case of mistakes, extra is better): $3.98/yard = $7.96
  2. Baker's Twine, 40 yards total (I picked two colors, 20 yards each) = $5.99
  3. Plastic Bags for seeds, 100 total (I couldn't buy less than 500 on = $4.29
  4. 2 lbs of Wildflower Fall seed mix from Flower Art & Soul (1.5lbs would do, but you have to buy in full pound amounts, so I bought 2 lbs): $48/lb = $72 (since I have a half of pound left over!)
  5. 130 Kraft paper tags (bought from a seller no longer listed on Etsy) = $10.50
  6. Paper, tea for dying the paper = pennies, negligible cost
Total cost to make: $100.74, about $1.00 per guest
(of course, you can always make this project cheaper.. find less than 500 plastic baggies [I felt strange buying so many little bags from the internet...], buy your muslin or baker's twine on sale [or with a coupon - I never go into ACMoore without a 50% off coupon for myself and Steve!], or find cheaper wildflower seeds).

I measured, cut, ironed and sewed about 105 muslin drawstring bags, half with yellow twine and half with red twine (since those were our wedding colors). I used about 12" of twine for each bag. Steve filled each plastic bag with about 1 generous tablespoon of the seeds and the insert.

For the insert, Steve downloaded a typewriter font and I printed on both sides of the paper for our wedding label, and instructions/contents on the back side. I printed 10 tags per page, so I only had to print 11 pages of text (one for mistakes!). I created a tea bath with a big pyrex dish, five tea bags and boiling water. I let the paper soak in the tea for ~15 minutes then hung them up to dry. Instead of having stark white paper contrasted with the natural muslin bags, I thought tea dying the paper would add an extra touch!

My mom was kind enough to calligraphy all the guests names onto the tags, and I went back through and labeled the table numbers after I finalized my lists.

It was a time consuming project, but so much fun to have something to do at the end of the day, and I even got Steve to participate which was definitely the best part! I am looking forward to seeing how the flowers bloom for our families and friends next fall :)

A finished gift bag for my nephew, with a handmade napkin my mom made!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some Holiday Colors and Inspirations

Now that it's finally December (there was such a long time between the end of Thanksgiving and the start of December), I feel like it is now acceptable to post holiday items/ideas/colors/food.

Here are the three most recent photos I have taken, and they all coordinate so well together!

Winter Wedding Invitation Suite from a family friend!

68 degrees on December 4th - Lunch time walk (and searching for pine cones)

Speculoos Button Cookies

I think aqua and red/coral will forever be my favorite color combination. I even decorate my cookies with these colors, I didn't even plan that! The cookies are from the December issue of Bon Appetit magazine  Speculoos Buttons. Thankfully I read the entire recipe before starting to realize the batch makes ~90 cookies, but you can freeze the dough for up to 2 months! They are mini cookies (mine are about the size of a quarter, but I think I'll make bigger ones next time. Nothing feels worse than admitting you just ate 9 cookies). I have the other half of the dough in my freezer waiting to be gifted. My test batch turned out really well, minus my old baking sheet which did burn the bottoms of about 30 cookies. Is there a way to restore an old baking sheet?