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!
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.
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.
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 buying 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.
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.
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.
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!