Sunday, December 23, 2012

merry christmas!

Snapshots And Patterns Christmas Card
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We had a fun time shooting our Christmas card pics. Thanks to my sister, Faith, for taking them, and to Ben & Grace for creepily cheering us on in our bedroom. ;)

Shutterfly had a ton of fun cards to choose from and some sweet deals running this season. I created a bunch of projects and bought them ALL on Black Friday. Just wait, family! You're gonna love it. Here's a link to the card.

Merry Christmas!
and happy birthday to me tomorrow ; )

Saturday, December 22, 2012

a very vinyl christmas

I have a pretty serious record collection. It all started when we used to go to "sales" (the York County word for auctions), and no one would bid on the box lots of vinyl. The men were there for tools, the women were there for dishes, and no one wanted the records. I would get whole boxes for only a quarter! Most of them were full of Pat Boone and Herb Alpert (cheesy and cheesier), but there were some real gems in those dusty old boxes. In college, I worked in the music library where my love for vinyl deepened further. Since then, I've added to my collection and now have many of Dad's records "on loan" (wink, wink).

I just realized I only have a few more days to fit in all of my Christmas record listening. Here are a few of my faves:

White Christmas with Bing Crosby

This is a classic among classics. Invariably, this is the first one I listen to each year. He had a voice made for Christmas. It's what hot chocolate would sound like.

Top tracks:
White Christmas - Duh, it's his song. He debuted it in Holiday Inn. The song was such a smash they made White Christmas a few years later. Incidentally, White Christmas is one of my top five favorite movies.
Christmas in Killarney - Cause it's a Scottish Christmas song
Jingle Bells - Featuring the lovely Andrews Sisters. This is amazing. Listen to it right now.

John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together

This is one of Dad's, and we grew up listening to it every time we were back in the States. The Muppets make everything better.

Top Tracks:
The Twelve Days of Christmas - Miss Piggy with her golden rings
We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Animal: "won't go. Won't go. Won't go! WON'T GO!"
Christmas is Coming - This is a round with Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and Scooter. Super cute.

Amy Grant: A Christmas Album

Say what you will about Amy Grant, this is a fantastic Christmas album (hence the name. duh, i just realize that. what a boring title). This record is starting to skip and get "warpy", so I'm savoring it while I can.

Top Tracks:
A Mighty Fortress/Angels We Have Heard On High -I love having A Mighty Fortress on a Christmas album. It's orchestral and very grand. And I've always loved that piano riff leading into the next song.
Emmanuel/Little Town/Christmas Hymn Medley - Amy Grant is the Queen of the medley. I can never get over what she does with Little Town. So good.

 I couldn't find a clip with all three songs, but just listen to the beginning of Little Town.

A Charlie Brown Christmas with the Vince Guaraldi Trio

It's not Christmas until Charlie Brown is playing. This album is important to our family cause it's what was playing when my dad asked my mom to marry him. She said no (that time), but hey, it's still special. ; )

There are no bad tracks in this album. Every one is better than the last. I'll leave you with O Tannenbaum. Merry Christmas, and happy listening!

Friday, December 21, 2012

suburbs = style cramper

Ever since I graduated from college, moved to South-Central PA, and got married I've slowly come to realize that a lot of my favorite items of clothing are simply unwearable in the suburbs. I can't tell you how many times I've put together an entire outfit, looked in the mirror, and said, "Sweet. But where am I supposed to wear this?"

See, my life involves roughly three destinations. Church, the grocery store, and the gym. I rarely get to go shopping, and trips to nice restaurants or the city happen only once or twice a year for a birthday or anniversary.

So in a routine that involves riding in a car and walking 20 steps to the nearest building, here are a few of my favorite pieces that just don't work:

Floppy hats

 Sydney at The Day Book. Love her style, especially when she was pregnant.

I luuurve big floppy hats. I have a gorgeous camel-colored one I got from my roommate in college. But where am I supposed to wear it? A restaurant? Awkward. The movies? Yeah right. Church? Most people at our church wear jeans; a big hat would be soooo pretentious. And you can't wear it while driving. How weird would it look to see a lady driving around with this huge hat on? It's one of those items that only looks good while walking. And only outside. Tear.

Bubble umbrellas

 image source unknown

Actually just umbrellas in general. Getting in and out of a car with an umbrella is often more trouble than it's worth. I have always wanted one of these bubble umbrellas. Chic and practical at the same time. It let's you stay dry, see in front of you, and not poke other people's eyes out. If I had one here I'd probably just leave it in my cart at Walmart. ;)

On a related note...

Rain boots

Missoni for Target

Who didn't covet a pair of rain boots growing up? And there are so many cute ones now! And special socks to stick out of the tops of them! But I would really have no use for them. Back in college our choir went to New York on tour in March. New York is not very romantic in March. Every intersection is a lake of gray slush. I brought cute shoes and nearly lost toes to frostbite while New Yorkers were prancing around in their adorable rain boots. Jealous. Not of the boots. Of the reason to wear them.


There are some really cute capes out there right now, but there are two reasons not to get one. 1. In the suburbs, you remove your coat immediately upon entering a building, so it's never really going to be part of your outfit. And, I mean, a cape IS the outfit. 2. Driving. Low arm-holes. Doesn't work.

Really big scarves


Kara loves scarves, we know. She has dozens, but is she satisfied? No.

I want to be able to wear a really massive scarf. I want a scarf so big you're not even sure there's a coat under there. I want to hug it and push it up around my face like Cruella DeVille.

Riding in a car with a scarf that big is enough to make you claustrophobic (not to mention block your peripheral vision). Besides, you have to take it off as soon as you go inside, so WHAT IS THE POINT?! This one really burns me cause I wouldn't even have to buy one. I could make one. I have the technology.

So, that's my rant. There are probably more that I'm not thinking of.

Of course, there are a few exceptions to the suburban clothing rules:
1. Outdoor outlet malls. A veritable catwalk.
2. Festivals of the wine/apple/flower persuasion. Not in Hanover (goodness gracious, no), but there are some pretty high class ones in Lancaster. Lancaster also has
3. Art Walks. Though what am I saying? Lancaster is a city...

Are there any pieces that you wish you could wear?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

dream tree #2

~Merry Matryoshkas!~
komarovart via Etsy

I am so loving matryoshka dolls right now. They're just so cute and happy. I found the cutest matryoshka print for my nursing cover, and I get compliments on it all the time.

If I did a matryoshka tree it wouldn't be a Russian themed tree necessarily. It would just have that fun vibe that matryoskas give me with their bright colors and folksiness. I debated between a pink or a white tree on this one. I LOVE pink trees. They can be so happy when done right.

image via Making it Lovely

image via Thompson Family (this girl's house is insane!)

However, I really think a white tree would set off all of the bright colors better.

 So much fun! I would want a fluffier one, though. Image via houzz

Alright, my matryoshka tree would be all about the garland. I'd do a bunch of ribbon in pink, yellow, and green, but also some lace ribbon and some of that Eastern European embroidered ribbon. I'd also use that really fat ric-rac and strings of wooden beads wrapped all over. Ooh, and those pom-pom strings, and maybe even yarn. I mean, let's just take it all the way. I could yarn-bomb the trunk! Ok, this is getting out of hand. (If you don't know what yarn-bombing is, check it out.)

Then, of course some bright wooden matryoshka ornaments and maybe some regular sized dolls just stuck in the tree. Then some of those Russian painted eggs. I'd fill in with a bunch of bright vintage ornaments to get some bling in there.

See, isn't that happy? It would fit so nicely in my girly's room.

Beads from Hemp Beadery via Etsy
Afghan for tree skirt - unless I yarn-bombed the trunk ;) - pattern at Stitch Nation
Vintage ornaments from Cherry Shop and Project Sarafan via Etsy
Pysanka eggs from Ukrainian Easter Eggs via Etsy
Matryoshka ornaments from artmatryoshka and Friends of Socktopus via Etsy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

dream tree

I love our Christmas tree. It's a mish-mosh of ornaments from both of our childhoods mixed in with the ornaments we've bought as a couple surrounded by ALL of the pretties I bought while working at a certain global themed retailer, aka "Dock Numero Uno". ;) Each piece tells a story, and even if it doesn't all "go", it's certainly very cheery.

Yes, that's tulle wrapped around lights at the bottom of the tree to give that lovely glow.

Definitely the last time (at least for a while) I can decorate the tree how I want. 
Next year she'll be getting around on her own.

But as much as I love our family tree I would LOVE to style my own tree with purposefully collected ornaments. So here's my first idea for a Christmas tree that is "so me."

Moroccan Christmas

And, no, not the kind from "The Office."

First off, tree skirt. Some fun sari fabric, of course! Or a nice kantha quilt. OR, if money was no object, a layering of kilims! Ooh, how haremy.

For garland I would use strings and strings of those gold coins from belly dancers' outfits. I could even mix silver and gold.

Moroccan tile would be a must. It would be cool to use broken tile pieces and make ornaments out of them. I could also take brass wire and make that classic Moroccan tile shape. You know, this one:

Wall stencil from Royal Design Studios.

I'd add some fun camel ornaments and some mini lanterns then top it all off with a pretty glass star lantern. Now, how about a mood board?

Clockwise from star:
Glass star lantern from Pier 1 Imports. Unfortunately not available anymore, but I have a couple.
Belly dancer chain sold by Time Raveler on Etsy.
Tile - unknown source.
Elephant ornaments from World Market.
Kilim rugs from Mister Pillow and Kilim Warehouse on Etsy.
Mini lanterns and Middle-Eastern-looking-Matryoshkas from Pier 1.
Felt camel ornament from Beady Eyed Fancies on Etsy.

So that's my idea of a Moroccan Christmas tree. Stay tuned for some more "designer" tree ideas.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

fauxby wrap

Although Little Sweety is the best sleeper there ever was (8pm to 8am, baby!) she is a little needy in the loving touch department. Mothers of preteens are rolling their eyes, "Oh, your daughter likes to be hugged and snuggled. That's soooo annoying." While I love holding the Munchkin, one-handed typing, eating, and bacon frying gets a little old. ;) Plus I don't have the strongest upper body. So I am all about the baby carriers.

We have several, actually. The first one was actually mine when I was a baby! It's a Snuggli, and it's dark denim, which is nice cause it's not out of style. (Can you imagine if it was a pattern from the 80s? Hello teddy bears with balloons.) Plus it's about as manly of a front carrier as you're gonna find, so Zach doesn't really mind wearing it. It's not terribly comfortable, though, and there's not a lot of head support for her.

 That's me as a baby! When Jaina was little we would put her all the way inside.

Studly. Apparently it worked as a back carrier too! We'll have to try that sometime.

The second one is a sling I made out of this super fun batik print. It was perfect for when she was first born cause she just snuggled right in horizontally. I used this tutorial, and I think it only took an hour or so. Definitely worth it. I wish I had pics of her as a teeny baby all comfy in her sling. It was great for going out in public cause no one's gonna touch your baby when she's right at boob level.

This website sells some pretty cool slings. 
They also have very helpful instructions on how to wear them at each stage.

She looks really intense about carrying that baby.

Little Miss Fancyboots is quite the model. 
Just started wearing Jaina like that. She loves it cause she can look around.

 THEN I saw a pattern for a Moby wrap. I know, I so did not need any more baby carriers, but I'm so glad I made this one cause it's like wearing a bearhug. Leanne Barlow had the tutorial on her blog, Elle Apparel. Really, it's just five yards of stretchy knit fabric tapered off at each end and finished on the edges. Again, it took just an hour or so and is completely worth it.

 I used a 2-way stretch knit, but 4-way would have been much better. 
I'm thinking of making another one in gray for Zach to wear. 
He totally agrees that it's the comfiest way to carry Sweet Pea, 
but he's not enthused with the hot pink.

The real Moby Wraps are $48, but this probably cost me $12. I call it my Fauxby Wrap. And all of the instructions for the different ways to wear it are online!

 When I'm sitting it looks like I just stuck a baby in my shirt. 
I love how I can tuck her little head in when she's napping.
(Picture courtesy of Lisa Watson)

 Goin' for a walk. When she's forward facing (which I don't do very often) 
it looks like a creepy wrestling singlet.
She loves watching everything though. (Check out those eyebrows. I love it.)

My friend, Laura, lives in Thailand, and she just made a video for me of how she ties her kiddos on her back. Her nanny is from a Lisu village and that's how they wear their babies. I wanna get some fabric from Joann's tomorrow and try it out. Check back soon for pics! Or maybe we'll even get real fancy with videos.