Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My monkey is famous...

Remember my sock monkey?

He made it safely to the Craft Hope headquarters (I was a little worried about whether he'd be able to breathe in that little box!) and is now on his way to make the holidays a bit brighter for a child who lost his or her home in the Texas wildfires.

But he got an extra 15 minutes of fame when he was pictured on the Craft Hope website today!



Go do some good, little monkey!

(If you want to be involved with Craft Hope, just keep an eye on the blog. There's usually a new project every month or two... and I'm sure another chance to make a difference will be starting shortly!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I sewed a skirt!

If you want to guest post on my blog, scroll down or click here for more info. I do still have a couple slots open and would love for you to participate!!!

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So, I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was going to make a skirt in the Noodlehead sew-a-long. I was a little slow getting it finished because I ran out of thread at the end and then even more slow in getting it photographed, but here it is... finally!



I'm proud of it because it is the first *real* piece of clothing that I have sewn... I used a real pattern and it has belt loops and pockets and a real zipper and everything!

However, it doesn't fit me.

Nope, I made it too big. I was warned in advance that the pattern ran a little large, so I went down a size after taking my measurements. Turns out I should have gone down about 3 sizes.

And I'm so sad about it. But I really don't think I can fix it without just starting over.

Boo hoo.


Oh well, I guess I'll chalk it up to good practice. I'm sure not many beginning sewers get it perfect on the first try. And it does look nice.

Here's hoping the next skirt I make goes a lot more smoothly!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No-bake Holiday Treats: Take 2!

Last year around this time, I posted an entire week of no-bake holiday recipes. Man, it was a lot of work... making a new recipe each evening when I got home from work, then photographing and writing a blog post about it that night. But it was also a lot of fun! I love sharing easy ideas that will make your holiday parties and get-togethers simpler and more enjoyable. I know this is not really a recipe blog, but I sure love my treats! (And no-bake treats are just so easy and satisfying... plus everyone and their dog already shares regular baked goods recipes, I like to do something different!)

So, after thinking long and hard about it, I've decided to run "A Week of No-Bake Holiday Treats" again this year! Yay!

But this year will be a little different. You see, I used up SEVEN of my go-to no-bake recipes last year. I just don't know if I can come up with seven more on my own.

That's where you come in! I want YOU to share your favorite (no-bake) holiday treats on my blog! Yes, I'm looking for guest bloggers to share a recipe and write up a post about it. I will run your guest posts on December 10-16, just in time for all the Christmas and holiday parties coming up.

To get your gears turning, here are the yummies I shared on my blog last year:








So do you want to participate? I'm sure you have a special family recipe that you make every year... or maybe a regional favorite... or even a brand new recipe that you just love! Remember, this would be great publicity for your blog (I'll definitely share a link!) and its always so much fun to share new recipes with each other!

Here are the rules:
* You don't need to be a blogger to do a guest post. You just have to have a good no-bake recipe!

* Recipes that qualify as "no-bake" must not use the oven. They can require heating over the stove or in the microwave, but no actual baking is allowed!

* I need proposals by next Monday, Nov. 28 at 8pm CST. After that time, I will email you to let you know whether your recipe was accepted.

* If your recipe is accepted, I will need your guest post and photographs by Wednesday, December 7. Recipe posts will run on my blog from December 10-16.

To send a proposal:
Send an email to amanda.brekhus@gmail.com with the following information:
* Name of treats and brief description
* URL to your blog (if you have one!)

That's it! Super simple!

I really hope this will generate lots of interest! If I don't get any volunteers to write guest posts, I just don't know if I'll be able to do it again on my own!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sock Monkey

Thought you might like to see my newest little project.

A sock monkey!

sock monkey for Craft Hope

He's not quite perfect (you can't tell in the picture, but his tail is quite crooked!), but I hope he will be loved.

You see, he is already all packed up and on his way to Jade, founder of Craft Hope, who is going to help him and hundreds of other fellow sock monkeys find new homes with children who lost their homes in the Texas wildfires this summer.

sock monkey for Craft Hope

I hope his crooked little tail will bring some comfort to little ones who have had a rough and uncertain year.

If you'd be interested in making a sock monkey to donate, check out this post. It also includes a link to some great sock monkey patterns. While the deadline for the project is Thanksgiving (yes, I'm a little slow), Jade has stated that she will never turn handmade items away, and that even if they are late, she will make sure they are distributed.

sock monkey for Craft Hope

I'm so happy I could do something to help and I'm sure this little monkey will be loved. It certainly makes me appreciate all that I have.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I just "hat" to share...

...my newly-framed collection of hat buttons!

I showed off my vegetable buttons a few months ago and I finally got around to framing a bit more of my ginormous (and ever-growing) button collection!

They are a bit addicting, I must say.

framed glass hat buttons

But aren't they lovely?!

These buttons are all made of glass, many of them with painted details. I've collected them from a variety of sources over the past couple of years - antique malls, ebay, etsy. Something I like about collections is the act of hunting for a special item, so I give myself little challenges. There seemed to be lots of different styles of hat buttons, so one of my challenges was to find as many different hat buttons as possible. I found 20, and I think I'll have to stop with the hats, otherwise I'll have to find a bigger frame, and I really don't want to re-frame them all!

No worries, though. I have plenty of other directions in my button collecting. Enough little "challenges" to keep me busy for years to come.

Here's a closer view of my hats:

framed glass hat buttons

I just love seeing them all lined up so purty! Inspires me to get to work on framing some of my other groupings of buttons!

Which is your favorite?
(I don't think I can choose... I like different hats on different days. Today I like the alpine hat with the flowers around it, second row on the right... or maybe the cute bonnet on the top left... too hard to decide!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cursive love

I've been swept up in life so much this past week or so it isn't even funny. No blogging for me. I have been working on my skirt, though, so that's been good.

I have read a few articles online lately that make it sound like cursive handwriting is on it's way to becoming extinct. What with the HUGE role of computers and texting in our life, it's almost not even necessary. Some schools are even deciding that it's not worth it to teach to kids.

Now, I know cursive was a pain to learn as a second-grader. And I know my handwriting has gotten really bad lately since I hardly ever use it. But I can't imagine not learning it at all! How would we sign checks (probably also becoming extinct, lol), or write love notes or read old documents?

Today I want to show you a cool historic artifact from the days when cursive was in its prime. In the past, having nice handwriting was an important skill, and people would take classes to learn proper penmanship. The "Modern Commercial Penmanship" book in the photo below belonged to my great-aunt and contains 60 different penmanship lessons that detail each pen-stoke as well as the practice routines necessary to have beautiful writing. There is no copyright date, but I would guess this book was used around 1910-1920.

modern commercial penmanship

modern commercial penmanship

I love this book because reading it is such a peek into the past.

OOOOOOOOOO

And the little quips and quotes are so fun.

"Easy to execute and easy to read."

Easy to execute and easy to read.

"Time and try are twin requisites."

Time and try are twin requisites.

"Practice penmanship for profit."

Practice penmanship for profit.

Some other sayings I found throughout the book:
"Keeping everlastingly at it."
"Many littles make a much."
"Winning good writing day by day."
"Zest and zeal are sure to win."
"Better begin to build better habits."
"Check it over and check the error."

Some good advice for all of us, I'm sure.
(and a good reminder that it never hurts to know how to write pretty!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Catloaf


When I was little, my mom (or sister?) used to say that when a cat sits with his front paws tucked up underneath him, that it is going to snow. Somehow, I don't think that's the case tonight here in Texas.

Are you ready/excited for winter? I do have to say that I'm not looking forward to the dark mornings and early nights. No sir-ee.

At least I have cute cats.

Sorry for the randomness. That's just how I am sometimes... well, most times actually. Some days I'm just better at hiding it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Skirt-a-long!

Just wanted to let ya'll know that Anna from Noodlehead (she's awesome!) is hosting a sew-a-long next week. If you've always wanted to sew a cute skirt for yourself (see #27) but have been too worried about messing up to even try (that's me!), here's a great chance to learn and try it out with lots of help and support from other bloggers!

The sew-a-long will take place next week, November 7-11, so you still have plenty of time to go out and buy the pattern and round up some fabric. I picked out some green corduroy that seemed perfect at the store, but now I'm wondering if I will regret it... oh well, it's becoming a skirt whether it likes it or not.

Here are the rest of the details. Hope you can take part in this fun opportunity!

Noodlehead sew-a-long