Glorious colors!!!
Glorious colors!!!

That is me…slacker. At least when it comes to anything computer related. Not only have I not been blogging, I haven’t been on my feedly. I have 114 unread items and that is only on a dozen blogs. So what have I been up to? Spending time with my immediate and extended family. Reading. Craft swaps. Trying new recipes. Making art for friends. And, of course, making Christmas gifts. I did not make my goal of being totally finished by Thanksgiving, but that is mostly because of some surprise last-minute gifts. So I guess what I am saying is I have been being real world productive. But since I am doing a giveaway for December giveaway day today, I figured I would also share a few quick notes about what I have been up to. For all of you who are only here for the giveaway, I will keep it short. Or shortish. I lied. Enjoy the book reviews!

There are tons of goodies looking for new homes! And often times, you will find a new blog to love. Go check out Giveaway Day.
There are tons of goodies looking for new homes! And often times, you will find a new blog to love. Go check out Giveaway Day.

Birthday Prep

My little girl turns 5 in December, and I have been working on the party. It’s nothing crazy, just a mess of fun games I will set up at the local community hall. Toilet paper bowling, balloon tennis…you know, things that are really cheap and easy. But the high point for me has been dying pasta for making necklaces. I figure kids will have fun and then get to take home something that is not candy. Because we are dead center in candy season. If you did not get to make colored pasta necklaces as a kid (because you were on Mars), you need to go to the grocery store RIGHT NOW, buy supplies and get to stringing because it is so fun.

A little scarf for one of my daughter's friends. She chose all the fabric and I assembled.
A little scarf for one of my daughter’s friends. She chose all the fabric and I assembled.
Little man's blanket in progress. My daughter really went with the idea of adding taggies.
Little man’s blanket in progress. My daughter really went with the idea of adding taggies.

Sewing Gifts

Winter is also a busy birthday season for my kid. I think every person she has met in her short life was born in fall and winter. So add that to her birthday and Christmas, and we have to talk budget again. You may be sensing a theme here. So I have been doing some extra projects making little things for her friends birthdays and other random events. Things that are simple and involve stashbusting. She also decided she wanted to make her brother a gift this year. Between her limited skill set and him putting everything in his mouth, we finally landed on making a blanket. It was clearly designed by a kid, but it is being made with a lot of love. Besides being sturdy and washable, that is what matters most.

The angel wall at church. Giving back should really be a part of every day, put paramount during the holidays. No matter what you have, it's more than someone else.
The angel wall at church. Giving back should really be a part of every day, put paramount during the holidays. No matter what you have, it’s more than someone else.

Giving Back

Charity is not supposed to be boastful, so I hope this paragraph doesn’t come across that way. If I had unlimited Christmas funds, I would buy gifts for strangers like it’s going out of STYLE. I love, love, love the challenge and thrill of buyingย gifts for people who can’t afford them. If I had my way, I would pull tags from the church angel tree, mall angel tree, senior citizens angel tree and adopt a family through Family Support Network. It’s freaking addicting and besides thrift and craft shopping, the only kind of shopping I really enjoy. That being said, I was only able to pull two angels off the church wall this year. We are currently focusing on getting the last of our debt totally gone, so I had to be choosy. To make up for feeling bad about that, I redid the angel tree at church. In the past, it has been a five foot tree crammed in the corner next to the sanctuary. This year, I got to take over a 12-foot-long wall…awesome! Now it’s a bit more eye-catching and easy to navigate. Half the angels on there are asking for food and money for bills. I really hope every single one gets chosen.

Runza! Always known as insanely delicious meat pies.
Runza! Always known as insanely delicious meat pies.


Now that it’s cold, I can turn on my oven! I have been trying recipes like crazy. Latkes, runza, pizza, honey chicken…it’s like heaven in here! The grocery bill is the last place I cut back because we are all food obsessed, so I have been pouring a lot of energy into food.

So many good books to read and I have to waste time on sleeping.
So many good books to read and I have to waste time on sleeping.


I am using the word reading really loosely here. I tend to choose books that are extremely image heavy. I am actually a very good reader and have no issues with “real” reading…I just love pictures. Without doing a full-blown book review, here are a few notes on some books I snagged at the library.

Freakin’ Fabulous on a Budget by Clinton Kelly. I have watched tons of What Not to Wear with a lot of mixed feelings. I won’t go down that long road here, but I will say this is a pretty fun book. Just about the first half of the book is all about food for parties: appetizers, main dishes, cocktails. The focus is really on simple but impressive dishes that can easily be scaled up and down. The second section focuses on really, REALLY simple decor DIYs. Think sewing large squares into a table runner or decopaging a clear plate with flowers. The last section is all about style. I haven’t read all the way through this part yet, but it seems reasonable. Kelly talks about forming your style, not just what “it” items you have to own. And I always love when someone doesn’t just write off thrift stores. Who this would be a great gift for: soon-to-be or recent college grad.

Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat. This review is simple: I want to own it. There are not a ton of cookbooks I want to take up space in my house, but I would love this. Each section has a brief intro with definitions and history of each food discussed. After that, recipes that are easy to make at home are accompanied with pictures that make you want to cook right now. I will admit, any style of Asian cooking is hard to just do when it’s not standard in your house. Ingredients like miso, sesame oil and fresh ginger are not always staples for some families. But if they already are, or you want to get into Japanese cooking, this could be a fun read for you. Who this would be a great gift for: anyone who loves Japanese cooking, but maybe needs to learn more.

Nomad: A Global Approach to Interior Style by Sibella Court. This book isn’t so much a how-to as a big, visual feast. There are tons of pictures and a little accompanying text, so it’s pretty much an inspiration book. Court takes you through different regions in Japan, Italy, India, Syria and Mexico breaking down materials, color palettes and traditions. It’s just a wonderful read. Who this would be a great gift for: anyone who loves interior design or who needs color inspiration.

House Beautiful Color: The Perfect Shade for Every Room by Lisa Cregan. It always makes me super happy when books are divvied up by color. And this book has earned extra points because they put the best color — blue — first! The layout echoes House Beautiful magazine and is loaded with expert tips, lots of paint swatches and home accessories. I think the biggest reason I love HB so much is the rooms have so much more personality than in many other publications, and that shows through here. Who this would be a great gift for: anyone who has just bought a new home.

A simple sewn pouch for toting little goodies around in. It measures about 4.5 by 8 inches.
A simple sewn pouch for toting little goodies around in. It measures about 4.5 by 8 inches.

The Giveaway

Alright, I better get to the good stuff before there is rioting. I use the Giveaway Days to mine your brains for ideas. So here goes! To get one entry to win this pouch and some surprise extra sewing goodies, here is what you have to do. In the comments, answer one of these questions:

1. What home project would you most like to see me tackle in 2015?

2. What home D.I.Y. do you want to do, but are scared to?

I will ship internationally. I do manually approve all comments, so don’t freak out if it doesn’t show right away. Please ensure you leave some way of contacting you in case you win. Also, if you just link to your giveaway, I will delete it! Do my entry first, then feel free to leave your link at the end of the comment. I will leave it open until Friday and than choose a winner at random. And don’t forget to head to Sew Mama Sew and hit up all the other awesome giveaways. Happy Giveaway Day and Monday everyone!


  1. We finished our basement this time last year. This year I would love to tackle the kitchen counters and painting the kitchen cabinets. We’ll see…

  2. I would love love to recover my sofa. BUT I am a new sewer/quilter so I don’t think (well I know) that I’m not quite skilled enough yet to do it. LOL. I may give it a go one day though. Some have said the best way is to just jump right into it and do it! Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. I don’t know if scared is the correct word. Apprehensive yes. Our second bathroom is a project. We were able to remove the shower, there was all kinds of mold behind it. And now we are going to put a new one in. But my husband got the idea that we need to knock the wall down for the shower so it would go into the garage so we would have more space in the bathroom. Arghhhh I am so not sure about this. He has never done anything like this before.

  4. DIY – I want to hang a pole so I can hang one of my quilts. I only have one suitable wall in the whole cottage so that’s where I plan to hang it!! Happy Monday to you too!

  5. I would love to do a tile backsplash in my kitchen (like on all of the home makeover shows) but don’t know where to start. It would be very visible if I goofed it up, but maybe someday! Thanks for sharing with us. The angel wall is beautiful!

  6. I would love to find some sturdy vintage wooden chairs and re-upholster them myself, but am way too scared at the moment!

  7. My husband and I are finishing up building our own home. Next I’d love to build a workshop for myself! But it’s going to be lots of work and some things I won’t be able to do alone. Exciting to think about though!

  8. We want to put our house on the market next Spring, after this baby is born. I have to get a number of DIY projects done. Mostly making the wall colors neutral. I dread painting with a newborn & 4 girls underfoot that I need to homeschool! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh well…must be done.

  9. We’re in the process of buying our first home and it is a fixer upper. Before we move in we’ve gotta get the only full bathroom renovated. It’s been vacant for four years! I’m nervous about tackling the whole house!

  10. Refurbish an antique dresser!! I have 2 of them, plus a wash stand that are in desperate need of attention. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. When I look around my house, every room needs some type of attention but most of it snowballs from one project to the next… our first project is to expand our kitchen 2 feet into the living room… and put in new flooring in both rooms… see? snowball… Merry Christmas!

  12. We have been wanting to paint our great room , foyer and upstairs hall. But we need to hire someone bc it’s too high for my liking. But, I’ve been wanting to paint our son’s room and the kids’ bathroom for 2 years now. I’d have done it but two shoulder surgeries(most recent 5 days ago) has prevented me from even attempting it. I’m hoping by summer ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can do it!

    Thanks for participating in the give-a-way.

    1. I KNOW this is something I am doing this year. Not only do mine have to be easy, they have to be thermal and really budget friendly. Hopefully I can get started on the associated living room makeover in January.

  13. I would love to try to stamp my silverware. Thats something I am scared to do and would love to see your tutorial on it. Great blog, fingers crossed for giveaway. Thanks!

    1. That is a really fun idea. And I feel pretty confident about sharing a tutorial on that. One of my degrees is in jewelry and small metals, so that would be pretty easy.

  14. I would really like to tidy up the so called “studio”, which is the room I sew in. It’s such a mess at the moment. Would really like to see ideas for organizing small spaces!

  15. What a darling pouch! Love that you dyed pasta for your daughter’s birthday. I also have a daughter who has a December birthday. The pasta would be great for my four year old grandson. Right now we are renting so can’t do anything drastic but I would like to make some curtains that “black out” the sun. During the summer it gets over 100 and would love to get them made next year.

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  16. I would love to see a tutorial on silk screening.I’m not really scared to paint as I work doing it for others all the time. It’s more that I just can’t get the energy up to get my own living room painted. Maybe this will be the year.

  17. I would love to strip the paint of all of our doors (4) after MANY coats of paint. But it is so much work. I might have to paint my daughter’s room first. She’s been asking and it needs it. So maybe that’s the answer for what big project we’ll do in 2015.

  18. What a fun giveaway. I’m new so I couldn’t say what I think you should tackle. However, I would love to make either a mason jar chandelier or a wine cork chandelier – I’m much too afraid to invest so much time into something that may either look terrible (a pin-trosity) or won’t work in my rented space.

  19. I want to re-upholster a chair in my bedroom. Merry Christmas from Oklahoma, USA. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  20. I would like to do a makeover on my dining room. Remove the old paneling (scared to see what it looks like under there!)

  21. I am going to retire in 1 week (happy dance!!) – so my home project is a good thorough cleaning – though quilting may get in the way of the cleaning – ha!

  22. I would really love to paint some furniture, but my husband freaks out when I suggest in making DIY changes, he likes things to stay the same, me on the other hand give me a hand saw and I would be tearing the place up, lol.

  23. i would love to, and have to, redo our kids bedrooms. To make them kid friendly. We just moved in our new house, and didn’t have time to redo anything yet. But first we’re going to paint the living room floor! eeks!

  24. I want to try to build a chicken coop or a duck pen. I think I need to take little steps to learn how to build first!
    Meinhardmk at vcu dot edu

  25. I would love to tackle making a blanket of some type. I’m just so scared I’ll mess up. Thanks! I’d love to see a hide a shelf type craft. You know the shelves that you try to hide when guests come over. holli.gorveatt(at)comcast(dot)net

  26. I don’t know why the people building houses like to leave basements unfinished. I have one that needs finished, too.

  27. I want to redo a bathroom that was done in baby pastels with wallpaper put directly on drywall with no sizing, so taking it off will probably also remove the facing from the drywall, and the vinyl flooring seems to have been put down with superglue, and none of the fixings match. Nickel, chrome, antique bronze (i.e. plastic) light plates — you get the idea.

    And I think I’ll run down the road a mile and pick up a Runza for lunch!

  28. I am redoing my sewing room (again) – current table too low so getting a kitchen counter and remaking it over to be the ideal sewing table! mumbird3(at)gmail(dot)com

  29. I would like to learn to do some minor electrical work. I have a few fixtures that need to be replaced. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s