Monday, December 19, 2011

please note...

with a new year ahead (hello 2012) and a new chapter starting in my life i really want a clean slate. i've been thinking for a LONG time about changing my blog name. i wish i had done it earlier, but basically i've never felt connected to the name "homemade grits." i don't even eat grits. ha! i chose the name when i was casually blogging and pregnant and never knew that this blog would end up being such a creative outlet for me. so i will be ringing in the new year from i have a lot of exciting things in the works (like my first post on making a festive terrarium) and i truly hope that you'll join me! i will also be moving my facebook page to this one. i realize that moving can have its challenges but i'm ready for this new adventure.

thank you as always for all of your support. it's the reason i still want to blog. hope you all have a fabulous 2012!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

toffee blondies + sparkly nature

yesterday we got together with our dear friends for our annual christmas play date. we had a new addition this year (baby charlie!) which makes me really happy. for our neighbors we have all exchanged treats each year. for the last couple of years i've made cookies in a jar because this time of year we are so inundated with sweets that it's nice to be able to give something that can be made up to a month or so later. this year as part of our advent calendar, matilda helped me make toffee blondies in a jar. thought we'd mix it up a little and do brownies instead. wild, right?

the reason we were collecting pinecones the other day was because i wanted to use them to adorn a few of the gifts that i'm making. i love the idea of taking something completely natural and from the earth and modernizing it with a bit of metallic and a little sparkle. matilda had so much fun rolling the sprayed pinecones in the glitter. i only sprayed the top halves so that she could hold the bottoms for dipping. i used this metallic spray paint and the world's prettiest glitter. i attached them to the jars with garden wire.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the sketchbook project

my thoughtful friend kate gifted matilda with her own sketchbook project journal for her third birthday. the concept for the project is genius. you purchase a notebook, fill it up and send it back and then the journal travels the globe where it can be "checked out" and then ends up catalogued in the brooklyn art library. matilda has just recently become obsessed with painting and i happen to believe that she has an amazing eye for movement and color. creative gifts are the best. here are some other creative gifts for kids that i love:

1. tegu magnetic blocks/ 2. scary hands/ 3. scribbles/ 4. water symphony bath toy/ 5. chalk board place mat/ 6. huggle pod

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

shop my closet!

in an effort to simplify and streamline my closet i'm listing a few items on ebay. these are specially picked because i want them to have a good home. i'll be periodically adding to the shop which will have a button on the sidebar. thanks for taking a peek!

i love this silk blouse.
the coziest of hand knit cardigans.
need a shimmery, long cardigan?
totally nautical striped top.
the prettiest of blouses with a sweet leaf print.
for the bird obsessed. a perfect bird cage blouse.
a not-at-all-ugly holiday sweater.
coral is my fave. cardigans are up there too!

all items are lightly worn and from anthropologie.

recycled gift wrap

i've finally started wrapping our gifts. with an impending tighter budget i've been trying to pinch where i can. i love wrapping presents and i still want them to look special with or without the fancy paper. for these presents i used a recycled gift box with yarn and a whole foods brown bag with yarn. the finishing touch? popsicle sticks as gift tags. fun and simple and a great way to use of the HUGE bag of popsicles sam bought to make a boat. that's right, he wanted to make a popsicle boat. just one of the many reasons why i love my man. this tool made it extra easy to punch holes in the sticks. happy wrapping!

here's another project where i put the sticks to good use!

Monday, December 12, 2011

searching for pinecones

changes have been on the horizon for sometime now. this weekend i was in full blown organize/conquer mode trying to put the pieces together, planning for the new year. my mom has been keeping matilda since she was born. we are so thankful to have had loving, guiding hands on her when we weren't able to be there. i could not have asked for a better caregiver for matilda. earlier this year my mom enrolled in school to become a yoga instructor (yay!) so we knew it was inevitable that a new chapter was beginning for her and we are so excited to see where this path will take her.

starting in january i am going to be a working from home mom. i know this new adventure will have its own set of challenges but i am so excited to be able to spend more time with matilda and to be more involved. i'm researching pre-schools and i'm looking forward to new opportunities that will come from this change. since i was a little girl, i've wanted to be a stay at home mom, just like my mom. i never wanted to miss out on anything. when we had matilda i knew that the possibility of me staying home with her was bleak. when i first went back to work i was working full-time, which was heart breaking for me to be away from her so much. since becoming a part of the seed factory family i've been part-time, which has been incredible. i love working with creative, talented women who inspire me. it's also been nice to have time out of the house with adults. although i'll miss being in the shop as much as i have been i'll still be a part of the team popping in during the week and working some saturdays, which i'm so grateful for.

i've been working hard on this blog and several other projects in the event that i needed to stay home with matilda. i've always enjoyed the creative outlet and even though i'll be home i still plan on working. it's important to me to help support our family. sam works so hard and takes such great care of his girls. of course the thought of not having a clear cut plan is scary. i've had to repeatedly breathe deep breaths and remember that although we can try our very best, we are not in control. it felt so great to be reminded of that at church yesterday. we were learning about the third week of advent, that amidst all of the darkness in this world, that a light was coming.

thank you as always for your support of our family. i can't tell you how much i appreciate it. wishing you all a very special christmas season!

Friday, December 9, 2011

getting ready for my first 5k

i've been cataloguing my running progress through instagram. i'm on week 4 of my couch to 5k program. i'm using the c25k app. running a 5k was on my 30 before thirty and i never got around to it. luckily my friend christy has it on her list and we're going to do it together in january.

do you run? i would love to hear some tips on how you make time to run in the winter/ what gear you love. also, what is a gel pack?

have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

host a craft night

over the past week i was lucky to attend, not one but TWO craft parties. one intimate (as seen here) and one big, festive one. the small, intimate craft night was a birthday/crafting extravaganza. we organized who would bring what for weeks in advance. kate (the birthday girl) hosted, cristen and her sister caryn picked up taqueria, rachel picked up donuts. a few of us brought tons of craft supplies and kate's husband andy mixed fantastic drinks for us.

in addition to using glass ornaments to fill with moss and other woodland accessories, we all brought separate crafts to work on. i focused mostly on my nativity scene. it really was a free-for-all. we had love actually playing in the background and christmas tunes playing in the other room. it was such a great way to get some projects done and be inspired by other crafty ladies.

the big craft party i went to was hosted by rachel from handmade charlotte out on her farm. she asked everyone to bring either an appetizer or a dessert and then she provided TONS of crafting supplies. she had rows of long tables covered in craft paper and everyone shared and spread out and worked off each other's creativity. it was a really great time and rachel's home was just as charming as you would imagine. i especially loved getting to meet her parrot, trouble. "pretty ladies!"

have you ever hosted or attended a craft party? what did you like/dislike about it?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

create your own nativity scene

"the stars in the sky shown down where he lay..."

i was on a mission to make matilda a nativity scene this year. as a child i was fascinated by my grammy's nativity and wanted matilda to have one of her own. i wanted something handmade that would be unique but not too delicate. here's a guide to how i created mine, but there is so much freedom here to make it your own.

here's what you'll need:

-wooden game pieces. i found these at michael's. the smaller pieces that i used for the wisemen and the shepard + sheep are called "boy game pieces." i can't remember what the larger pieces were called (the ones i used for mary and joseph) but they are sold in packs of two verses the three that come in the smaller pieces.
-white pipe cleaner + cotton balls for the sheep.
-acrylic paint + tiny paint brush for painting faces.
-felt for the clothing and crowns.
-garden wire to string up the angel.
-the angel wings i found at joann's.
-popsicle sticks + moss for baby Jesus' bed and the manger.
-glue gun + sticks.

how to:

for the clothing i cut thing strips of felt and simply wrapped the felt around the pieces, hot gluing as i went. same for the crowns, rolling the felt around the top of the little heads. for the faces i just winged it. you could create whatever kind of intricate details you would like. i also embellished mary with a glittery wooden star and joseph will a belt.

the easiest way to assemble the manger is to lay 11 popsicle sticks in a straight row and then super glue one vertical stick all the way down on both sides of the rows to hold them together. i did this to make two walls and then glue gunned two sticks across the top of the two walls to hold them together. i then glued sticks all the way down the back to create an open manger.

for the sheep i cut two tiny pieces of the pipe cleaner and folded them into a "v" i then glued the v's upside down on the bottom of one of the "small boy" pieces to create the legs. i then hot glued cotton to the body to cover the flat bottom of the piece in the back.

for the angel i took a little wooden peg and glued the gold wings to the top. i then wrapped floral wire around and around the "neck" to create a halo. i took some more wire and attached it to mary and joseph to allow the angel to suspend in the air.

that's pretty much it! it was a fun, fast project and matilda has had a lot of fun playing with it. it was one of our advent surprises!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the grahams 2011

these are just a few of my favorite photos that one of my best friends, jessica mahady, shot of our family over the summer. she took them of us in sam's dad's old red truck. she's amazing. you should hire her.