Monday, December 27, 2010

Wrapping Up the Holidays

Just thought I'd pop in for a few minutes.  I'm actually avoiding my craft room right now.   I really don't know how it got so filthy in there so quickly.  But it will undoubtedly take me longer to clean it than it did for to me to get it in the state it is in now.

Anyway, I figured I'd post a few pics of some presents I wrapped for anyone interested.  I probably enjoy wrapping gifts more than shopping for them.  Which, if you know me, says a lot because I love shopping.  It is kind of rush for me to find a gift for someone that I know they will love.  I often fail at finding that perfect gift, but when I succeed and the person loves it....that's really the best gift for me.  I think people often feel guilty about receiving a gift when they have nothing to give back. But that always leaves me feeling bad that they feel bad when I wish they'd just enjoy their gift and let me enjoy them enjoying it, you know? 

I have a couple of friends that are the best at wrapping gifts.  Every gift is such a treat to receive.  It made me realize that pretty wrapping makes the gift that much more special.  This year, I decided I wasn't going to buy anything new.  I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and start using all of the stuff I am hording saving not using.  I tell Mr. Bean it is because I have too much stuff, but it's really because I want to make room for new stuff. I am a horrible person. I know. I feel too guilty adding to my already full drawers.  Plus, I've discovered it feels pretty good to actually see my stuff in use. This is a new concept to me, so bear with me. I have not gotten to the point that I will use everything, but to avoid appearing on an episode of Hoarders, I am taking baby steps.  Baby steps, Anita!!!

Above is how I decorated for all of the lovely ladies that bless my life. I stamped kraft colored wrapping paper with gold ink then decorated with tulle, bits of gold paper, and gold ribbon. I included doilies when I could.  Love doilies.

On the soft gift, I just used tissue to wrap the gift. I try to avoid using boxes when possible so that I am not using a box and tissue for every gift.  It not only keeps my box storage down - I will admit I hoard boxes - but it also keeps my gift wrapping stash to a minimum - which is also why I like to stamp kraft colored wrapping paper instead of storing tons of rolls of wrapping paper. I stamped the gift tags with the same stamps I used on the paper and used some gift tags I brought back from India - which is big for me because I don't know that I will ever get any more of those tags ever againPlease hold all applause until the end of this post.  Thank you.   

Here is how I wrapped the gifts for the men in my life.  I used tissue paper on the wrapping and some fabric scraps instead of ribbon.  I love that the edges frayed as I tied it around.  I had some old felt poinsettias that I added to the gift tags with brads. 

Alright.  Enough rambling.  Time to get to bed.  I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. I've been doing my best to stretch them out as long as possible. I even recorded a bunch of cheesy Christmas movies on Lifetime at the last minute so I could watch them after the holidays. I know. I'm crazy.  The holidays are flying by way too quickly for me. But, I suppose it's as to be expected. This year flew by faster than any year I can remember.  Goodnight!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Just in the (St.) Nick of Time....

So much for getting a head start on my Christmas cards!  I got them in the mail on Friday just in the nick of time.  I actually bought everything I needed by Halloween with the best of intentions to have them all finished by December 1, but....well....that didn't work out.  I am pretty sure I was busy doing something good in the world because nothing else would have kept me from making my cards.

The idea was to keep them simple since I was making 70 of them.  But, what I learned is that no matter how simple you think they are, 70 of anything is a lot of work.  I also learned that no matter how quickly you cut everything, assembly takes twice as long as you think it will...but I will spare you from my nuggests craft-tastic wisdom and get on with it.

I designed the card in PSE and printed them out with a color printer.  I didn't have anything specific inspiring me other than I wanted them to be simple and clean.

I cut everything to size and rounded the corners. I used my Silhouette to cut out tags and then stamped each one.  I then took a break in the assembly and addressed the envelopes.  In the interest of time, I drew in the calligraphy instead of using ink and a nib.  I just never had the time to make it to the art supply store for red ink. 

My copperplate calligraphy instructor used to give customers a cheaper option to use a gel pen rather than traditional calligraphy ink.  This was an excellent option when a customer wanted the look of copperplate, but didn't want to pay the price for the real thing.  When using a nib, it is all about the pressure you apply with each stroke while rolling your wrists, so it takes a lot time and it takes a lot out of your hands.  I decided I would draw it in since I'd procrastinated enough that these were looking like they were going to be 2011 cards and not 2010 cards. Talk about pressure!

I've blogged before about how I am obsessed with Betsy Dunlap's work.  I kind of wanted to evoke the same drama that she does so well on her envelopes.  I know there is no comparison, but I really like the way they turned out.  Above is one of the ones I am most proud of.  It helps that their last name is pretty cool, too. 

After the addressing was done, the assembly began.  I wrapped the white cardstock with bakers twine and added the tags. I used pop up dots to attach the (gorgeous) white cardstock onto the card.  That is pretty much it! 

Just for grins, below is a close up.   

I am kind of obsessed with that embossed paper.  

That's all I got for now.  Mr. Bean and I are up late trying to see what we can of the lunar eclipse.  Unfortunately, it is too cloudy to see anything, but every once in a while there is a break in the clouds where you can see the moon.  And it is kind of amazing.

I am not sure I will have a chance to post again before Christmas, so Merry Christmas!!  I hope everyone gets everything they want and more.  :)  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Crashers

Wow, it seems like it's been so long since we've spoken!  I have been busy decorating the house and making my Christmas cards and enjoying the weather.  Mr. Bean and I have been drinking lots of hot chocolate and apple cider and listening to Christmas carols as much as we can. I've been recording whatever lame movies Lifetime offers and lovin' every one of them.  I love this time of year.

To start off our first weekend in December, Mr. Bean thought he'd get all fit on me and and run in a half marathon out of town.  So we took a road trip up to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the weekend.  Luckily, we have some pretty amazing friends that allowed us to crash their weekend.  It was an action packed weekend, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights.

Our first stop was Fort Worth, Texas to visit my friends, Christina and Nehme.  I haven't seen them in over four years.  They built a new location since the last time I visited, so for four years, I've watched their progress and been there in spirit since the beginning, but it was time to experience Chadra Mezza & Grill for myself.  And I wasn't disappointed.  The.Food.Was.Amazing.  They are well known in the Fort Worth area for their food and have received numerous Reader's Choice and People's Choice awards, so I had pretty high expectations.  Especially since I've eaten there before and remembered Nehme's lamb melting in my mouth.  But, I was not prepared for the awesomeness I had on my plate.  I wish I had taken pictures.  If I had had a second or two between shoving my fork in my mouth and chewing I probably would have, but trust me when I say there was no time.  

Mr. Bean left me in Fort Worth that night to have some girl time with Christina, so Saturday Christina gave me a tour of her 'hood.  Fort Worth has some really awesome old school Tex-Mex restaurants.  And by 'old school' I mean home-style, home cooked, better-than-Grandma's cooking.  We stopped at Benito's on Magnolia Avenue.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to take some pictures.

By the way, I am working on figuring out how to size my pictures properly.  I am just now getting the hang of the ratios.  Just click on the picture if you want to see it larger. 

We stopped by an old home supply store that I was too busy rummaging through to take pictures.  Then we stopped by to bug Nehme at Rahr & Sons Brewery
Nehme claims he was working, but after about 2 minutes there I knew why he was really there.  There was live music and awesome food (provided by Chadra and served by Nehme, of course) and lots and lots of beer.  It was such an awesome atmosphere.  Fort Worth is one of those big cities that will forever be a small town.

It was time to say goodbye to Fort Worth after that.  Christina drove me over to Dallas to meet with Mr. Bean and crew.  While we waited though, we stopped by the Dallas Farmer's Market and checked out all the pretty pansies while we looked over our shoulder for Ahmed Hassan to come crash our yard.  No sign of him, but I did make a list of everything I needed wanted for my yard in case he makes an appearance near me. 

In Dallas, it was just laid back good times.  We stayed with Mr. Bean's good friends.  They are pretty awesome people.  The kind that don't make you feel like you really did crash their weekend.  We ate dim sum, played the XBox Kinect, and I got a tour of the most fabulous craft room I've ever seen in my life.  It was like an Archiver's was open all night just for me. And this, my friends, is where I found myself in the presence of the most beautiful piece of machinery I've ever seen in my life.  A 1903 Golding Pearl letterpress machine.  And.It.Was.Amazing.  I had one of those moments where my jaw literally hit the floor when the machine was unveiled.  All I could say was 'O.M.G.'.  I call her 'Pearl'. 

I won't pretend to know anything about this particular machine, but what I do know is I was in the presence of greatness.  Pearl, can I just say you are impressive?  Check out her heart shaped pedal.  Be still my heart.  Apparently that is a pretty rare pedal.  Pearl, you had me at 1903, but that heart shaped pedal won me over.

After that, nothing could really compare.  My weekend had pretty much peaked.  But, I can say I was left a little speechless once again when we stopped by a house in our friends' neighborhood.  The Christmas lights were insane.  Mr. B doesn't know it yet, but I am fully expecting something like this in our yard next year.  He can't say it's impossible now.  ;)  

After all of that, Mr. B still had to run the race, so Sunday we all got up early to cheer Mr. Bean on.  He did really well on the race.  I am so proud of him.  He is now inspired to sign up for some more, so next time, maybe I'll join him.  We'll see.  I'd kind of retired my racing shoes, but it's hard to just sit and watch all those racers run by you and not be inspired by their sheer determination.  Pretty amazing.

Thanks to everyone who allowed us to crash their weekend!!  For me, Christmas time is about family and friends, so it was a perfect way to kick off the Christmas holidays!

I promise to post what I've been working on next time.  Until then!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Obsessions: The All-I-Want-For-Christmas Edition

This is my favorite time of year.  I not only love the music and the cooler weather and scarves and being able to drink a latte without sweating, but I absolutely love Christmas.  No other time of year does the city sparkle at night like it does during Christmas time.  Love.It. 

For my obsessions this month, I decided to show you what's on my Christmas Wish List.  Since Mr. Bean surprised me with a Silhouette SD for our anniversary (we don't do gifts for our anniversary, so I really was surprised), I told him not to get me anything for Christmas and I meant it.  So, this is the wish list that follows the Silhouette if I hadn't already gotten the number one thing on my list.  Enjoy!

1.  Jelly Roll Pans.  I have some cookie sheets without a lip, but some baking just requires that lip.
2.  Jonathan Adler iPhone covers....when they come out with covers for the iPhone 4.  Any one will do. 
3.  Heather Bailey Jack & Jill Lunch Bag Pattern.  I bring my lunch to work most of the time.  It's about time I look cute doing it. 
4.  Anolon Advanced cookware.  Mr. Bean bought me some really expensive nice cookware pieces, but despite using only bamboo cooking utensils, the piece of crap teflon peels. 
5.  Rule Breaking Quilts.  I got an opportunity to go to the International Quilt Festival last month and I am ready to break some quilting rules.  After I learn to quilt.  Whenever that may be. 
6.  Denyse Schmidt Quilts.  A lot of bloggers are recommending this one.  I love the triangle one in the upper left hand corner.  I kind of dream about having this draped over a chair (which I'd have to buy once I made the quilt. So it could match, of course.) 
7.  M. Flynn Earrings.  Four words:  Antique.Swarovski.Flower.Earrings.  Four letters: L.O.V.E.  Seriously, do I need to say anymore?
8.  A Kindle.  No explanation is necessary.  I love this new color, too.
9.  Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour.  This was already an obsession of mine.  I just want to reiterate that to the world wide web.  And anyone who might be reading that might want to buy me something. Kidding....kidding.
10. Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher.  The staples are smaller than a mini stapler (which usually seems like it's still too big) and it just seems easier and safer to use.  The last time I was working with my mini stapler, I put a staple thru my finger.  Not cool.

As you can see, I am a simple girl with simple thoughts. OK, that is a lie.  But I pretty much buy myself what I want all year around, so my Christmas wish list always stays pretty tame.  I hope you enjoyed them anyway!