[Christmas round up]

It truly has been the most wonderful time of the year for me. With cookie-exchange parties for hosting and caramel apple cider for toasting and caroling around in the car (albeit a little too late on Christmas Eve....oops), I could not have asked for a better Christmas.
We didn't travel anywhere this season because of Jon's work so I tried to get in the holiday spirit by hosting a cookie-exchange party. It was both delightful and delicious. I made Martha's Tree-Sandwich Cookies (found in the 2008 Handmade Christmas special issue). I only managed to get pics pre-sandwiching but they were loads of fun (Little A went nuts poking holes into the trees with a straw) as well as scrumptious (I used nutella as a filling as well as a friends' homemade pomegranate jam...yummy).
I also managed to finish up the boys stockings...just in the nick of time, of course. Inspired by a wee wonderfuls embroidery pattern I had seen a few years ago, I decided to make my own version using a couple of my illustrations. Little A LOVED that he was a reindeer and Baby O is often called O-bear, so his was a polar bear.
And in the spirit of up-to-the-last-minute, I made pajama bottoms for the boys (I will finish the tops..someday) and the boys were as cute as ever. I had so many other crafty Christmas ideas that will have to wait until next year. I decided it was OK to let some things go and just to enjoy the time with my family. I didn't even go crazy with the wrapping (talk about some serious restraint). I was so relaxed on Christmas day and enjoyed every minute of it. My brother was in town and we did visit aunts, uncles and cousins after opening gifts so we were not completely by ourselves, which made things all the merrier.
Jon gave me some incredible gifts that I can't wait to share with you all in a gift post that will be coming soon. In the mean time I'm going to catch some z's and start making my New Year lists...

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas as well and our enjoying time with loved ones!


[our colorful...]

For one of our advent activities we made a Christmas village (OK so we only have one house done) out of old cracker boxes, butcher paper, permanent and prismacolor markers.
I sketched a loose drawing on the house and Little A had a magical time coloring it in. He's just at the right age to really get into it and I loved watching him. He was especially into coloring in the individual roof tiles and continually asks to draw on his house.
It's been an ongoing project and the house gets more colorful each day we get closer to Christmas.
We ended up placing it behind our little nativity (and vintage bias tape trees) where I think it fits perfectly. It's a scene that makes me happy every time I walk by, reminding me of all the wonderful things about Christmas.
Like you, I've got a lot to fit in this week and will try and post what I'm doing as much as possible. I can't believe the days are counting down so fast! The Christmas season always go by much too fast and we're trying to enjoy every little moment we can.


[knee deep in...]

I'm swimming in wrappings and trimmings and loving every minute of it. Never mind that I was a half an hour late to the Christmas book club party (my sitter was stuck in a Cosco line for 20 min!) or that after giddily wrapping up my book for the giveaway I ended up driving around for another half an hour trying to find the home of the host (my GPS wouldn't register the address). Never mind that I gave up when it was time to put the littles to bed.
I tried not to think about how I would not be able to talk about one of my favorite classics, Jane Eyre. No comparing Mr. Rochester to Mr. Darcy (Mr. Rochester totally wins. Swoon....). No memorable discussion about the admirable character and moral of Miss Eyre. No commiserating over the the hero and heroin's heartache. No talk or drooling over the new all-time favorite cinematic Masterpiece Theater representation of the novel (I made Jon stay up all night watching it with me-they nailed the characters so well! Top of the Christmas list for sure). No, none of these things can bother me for long. I have a pretty package. An additional gift for my list. And many more pretty papers, ribbons and tags to immerse myself in. I'm happy. Christmastime is here. And having it ushered in by Mr. Rochester and little Jane Eyre...well, what more can I ask for?


[the wait is over]

OK, so now the dolls are really in the shop...no really...they are there. And because I've taken such a silly long time to get them there I'm offering up another sale!!
Purchase a little mod rag doll and bring home a print or your choice for free. Just enter the code MODDOLLS and mention which print you want in a message and I'll be sure to ship it off along with your new little darling. The sale will go on all weekend and dolls will ship in time for Christmas (can I just say they make the cutest stocking stuffers!).
(a big thanks to my mini mod models, Little Lucy and Camilla!)



I've had a magazine clipping of an advent calendar in my Christmas "genious files" that I have adored for some time. This year I decided that it was time to make one of my own. I also wanted to do something a little different to count down the days. Instead of just goodies (which will definitely be in there on some days) I wanted to add a few small token gifts.
Some of these would be physical gifts, but most would be gifts of self. This year I really wanted us to try to bring the Christmas spirit into our home by giving of ourselves and our time. Each day a member of our family will get something. Most will be simple things, such a kiss under the mistle toe or cuddle on the couch with hot chocolate and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Others will be more involved such as foot rubs and a trip to the Marina del Ray Holiday Boat Parade.
I made little cards that fit into each pocket, waiting to deliver an act designed to bring a smile to the face and a bit of holiday cheer.
If you too are interested in doing something similar I've made these cards available for you to download. Just click here and get started. (You can of course also use these for gift tags, address labels, etc).
I'll let you know how this little idea turns out. Hopefully our month will be bursting with love, magic, excitement and adventure.


[Cyber Monday Sale! Now let's...]

I've been a busy bee bringing to life evie, camilla, beth, ella, jane, elanor, milla, izzy, anna, and elsa. These thoroughly modern gals are just the right size to slip into a little one's stocking and more importantly, right into their heart. They will be available to you this week in my little shop.
Each mod rag doll has her name sewn onto the back and fabrics range from vintage/vintage inspired to personally hand drawn, such as on elanor and milla, posing below.
And as for more shop news, I've recently added a new print, Love is Spoken Here, in a variety of colors into the shop. I created this little poster back in September of 2008. It's been such a joy to have in my home so I thought I'd share it all with you.
And for the final Cyber Monday fun, I'm having a little shop sale
Buy any print (or a custom portrait, etc.) and receive a print of your choice for free. And get, this...this sale is not just for Cyber Monday, but will be going on all week!! So get your holiday orders in now. Just enter promo code: CYBERSALE and I'll be sure to reimburse you for your free print. Happy holiday shopping!


[gobble, gobble, strut, strut...]

Meet Abe (as Little A has dubbed him). Perhaps he's not that proud - he is a little awkward around the feathers after all. But we're happy about it as it saved him from the chopping block and has allowed him to come and live with us. I do believe Abe will be the only stuffed turkey at our Thanksgiving table who will not be eaten. Phew.
OK, so this is my first time creating a softie in three dimensional form (as in not just two pieces of fabric sewn back to back). I wasn't at all sure of what I was doing but I stole a few tricks from the hat I made for A's sailor costume and then just tried to "wing" it from there.
Speaking of wings, I had a hard time getting Abe's feathers to stand up straight so I ended up sewing them closer to his body. As I mentioned earlier, it's a bit awkward, but we're fine with it. I was also able to use some of that hand-drawn fabric I created a while back which is very fun to see in action.

One stuffed turkey down, one to go. Well on my way to making way for Christmas.


[jumping ship for a...]

This year we did things a little different for Halloween. Little Captain A and baby O-ctopus and the rest of the crew sailed away from the warm shores and green palms of California for the drizzily chills and bright fall leaves of Tennessee, and we had the time of our lives.
Jon had a graduate acting reunion/presentation of sorts that was being held on Halloween day. We were thrilled as this gave us a chance to see dear friends, frolic through fallen leaves, and trick-or-treat on a chilly autumn night. Perfect.
After some serious late nights I managed to get the costumes finished before the trip (only some last minute fish stuffing for Captain A's trick-or-treat bag). Phew. It was difficult pulling together baby O's costume but I'm pleased with how it turned (I used a pattern for the hood but made up the rest). He was so stinkin' cute. He calmed down about the tentacles and hood once he realized he had a built in chew toy. Awesome.
I couldn't get Cap'n A to sport the beard but Jon ended up wearing it so it worked out great. Little A had a mustache as an alternative that he wore for tricks or treats but not for the photo shoot. It was to die for.
I knew with little A I had to make a costume that was more or less like wearing every day clothes. He has never been into wearing elaborate costumes with too many things going on, and if it had a zipper or Velcro, you can forget about it. That thing would be off in seconds. He eventually warmed up to his ensemble and was very proud to be a "Sailor Man!".
This year was especially magic for all of us as Little A really got it. When we were getting ready to leave for trick-0r-treating he kept running for the door in a panic holding his hat and mustache crying for me to put it on so that he could go. And once we were out (in the rain) going from house to house he went crazy trying to keep up with his older friends. He didn't understand that he couldn't eat a piece of candy after each house and still be able to keep speed. It was priceless chaos. Ahh...I love Halloween. And now, I love that it's over. I'm ready for Christmas baby. I'm ready Christmas.


[Go batty...]

It's no secret that we all love security envelope patterns, right? And like many of you, I collect them, waiting for that perfect moment for when I just might come up with something to do with them. It actually makes receiving those bills not all that bad - almost exciting and somewhat suspenseful waiting to see what special pattern is hidden within.
It just so happens that most of our "important documents" come wrapped in black security splendor. Initially this made me a little disappointed, as I favor the classic blue look. However, it seems that black has come in quite handy for the occasions at hand, and as a result, I have now grown rather fond of it.

Because security envelope patterns are "hindered" a bit by their intended layout, I find that bite sized projects, such as cupcake or sandwich toppers, work best for me. So in honor of the fabulously spooky holiday at hand, I had to make little bats to top off some scrumptious pumpkin shaped sandwiches.
And let me tell you, nothing dresses up an ordinary ham and cheese sandwich better than a cookie cutter and a toothpick topper.
Little A went batty for these and couldn't wait for me to finish the photo shoot before gobbling up a bite or two.
Trust me, these babies with fly off the plate, before you can say BOO!


[Baby O]

We took it easy this year for baby O's first birthday. Thanks to last year's Target post-Halloween sales we were good to go with decor/invite/the works. The only thing I made was the Pumpkin spice cake with my favorite Williams Sonoma pumpkin cake mold that I break out every year. Pretty low key. Pretty great.
After gobbling his first cake bites and opening a few gifts from grandma, Little A and friends, Baby O was ready for a nice long nap. As were the rest of us.
Happy Birthday my little baby! (now please feel free to stop growing...seriously...you can slow it down any time you like).


[inspiration overload and feeling rawther...]

Ahh...fall. The dreamiest of seasons, set apart to usher in the delight of holidays magically stacked upon one another in just a way to get us through the drizzly and dreary months of winter. OK, so I live in California, but it has been unusually cold this past week and equally drippy (skipee!) and I have strived to enjoy every minute of the (sadly brief) sweater lovin', boot sportin' weather. Unfortunately, along with draftiness, fall brings with her a most bothersome flu bug. And yes, the little beast found me, and got me good.

So this past week was spent sipping hot herbal teas, lounging with lozenges and tissues while deliriously dreaming about a courageous orphaned daughter of a knight...and somehow trying to keep track of my little knights throughout it all (and relying heavily on our good fried DJ Lance for a little down time).
Of course this little spell couldn't have come at a "better" time. I mean, I only have two costumes to sew before the end of the week, baby O's first birthday to plan and prep for (please say my oven will work by then), and kajillion other Halloweeny creations boiling over in my brain. In fact, this time of year, so beloved by all all in our house, can often get a little congested (in more ways than one). I love the holidays (any excuse to celebrate and throw a party, right?) so much so that I often get a bit of inspiration overload. I have SO many ideas that I start to get stressed and saddened (of my own accord) when I realize that time is slipping by and there is no plausible way I'm going to be able to do it all. So one by one I have to eliminate and prioritize and of course get back to the spirit of it all (but left a little heartbroken for all that I was not able to do). Does this ever happen to you? What's your secret remedy? Please do share! I'd love to curl up with it and let it steam out all my early holiday congestion.


[costume prep and the...]

Having a three year old for Halloween this year is an entirely new adventure for me. Little A is actually starting to get it and is very excited about tricks and treats, The Great Pumpkin and any and all Halloween themed story books we can find (he's like his mama in this way). However, I was counting on this being a year I could still, ahem, "greatly influence" my son as far as what sort of costume he will be wearing alongside his brother (yeah, I'm one of those moms). Well, he's really been into Kung Fu tigers (ala Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda) so I toyed around with the idea of having him being a tiger/snow leopard and baby O being a panda but it just wasn't inspiring for me. So I waited. Waited for that "Ah Ha!" moment when I knew I had the perfect costume idea for the littles. Well it came...and I'm SO into it now (which I'll keep under wraps for now, and no, it's not Santa Claus). Little A still needed some convincing. So I started off with the beard to see how that would go.
Well, for 1, 2, 3 seconds we had a bearded man. I was prepare for this and therefore wasn't too discouraged. So we are doing all we can do to talk up this costume idea and on some days he's really jazzed, and on other days he wants to be what his little brother is going to be (and I'll admit, baby O's costume is kind of cooler). So we'll see how it goes. I might just have to have a back up plan...and hey, the more costumes on Halloween the better right?


[more fun with scissors...]

So I mentioned that I was hooked on this paper cutting thing right? Well after our Halloween snowstorm of paper pumpkin snowflakes. the scissors just kept on wanting to cut. Anything they could get their shears on...so many ideas...no paper was safe.

No Halloween is complete without a little black cat mask right? So one had to be made.
And we couldn't just stop there. So a little fox was born for little A. He loved it...and promptly ripped it. But fun was had so Mr. Fox's short life was not in vain.
In fact I like him so much that I might just have to make him again...and only let him run free under more constant supervision.

Hmm...so I wonder what is next for the old scissors?...I have a feeling we aren't done with them yet over here...