Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long 2011

Oh my does time ever fly! With 2012 peeking just around the corner I thought I'd reminisce and share some of my favourite blog moments from each month of 2011! Let's go!

In January I had the painstaking task of completing my rain themed book for the sketchbook project. It quickly turned into a hugely daunting and insanely time consuming challenge (hence not participating in this year's project) but it felt so good to finish it off! You can check out the whole book in the three part blog series (link 1, link 2, link 3) or just take a look at one of my fav pages:

In February I decided to take part in the 2011 project restyle, and upcycled an old pesto jar into an adorable doily/fox cactus pot! I'm happy to say the little stolen cactus bit is at least doubled in size and although the paper pot covering is a little on the faded side, it still looks great! Yay!

By the time March came around it was time for me to get my crafty preparation on! I signed up for another Fabulous Finds craft show in Kelowna and totally destroyed my left wrist crafting up a storm (on dear)! I added a few new items to my booth and even whipped up some fun new packaging:

The craftiness continued on in April when I challenged myself to make a brooch a day for an entire week! I totally fell in love with all the wool felt I used and came up with a selection of fun accessories:

Apparently I had too much fun that month, since I also really wanted to show you a peek at my pom pom soot sprites I made for our house:

In May I had the wonderful pleasure of cruising up the west coast with Fraser! We had one heck of a time (my first visit to American soil) and made lots of awesome memories. I also prepared 12 whole days of mini break crafts to keep you occupied while I vacationed. How nice!

Summer hit us in June and I had a wonderful month discovering the wonders of thrift shopping in Kamloops! I had a blast hanging out with some lovely ladies (who I miss dearly btw) and starting my very own vintage pyrex collection!

By the time July hit, summer was in full swing, and I was busy spending each Saturday downtown selling my crafty goods at the Artisan Market! It also marked my very first outfit post (which I enjoy oh so much making) and the release of the last Harry Potter movie! Sarra had a wonderful HP themed party giving me the perfect excuse to share my outfit (including upcycled skirt):

In August I was busier than ever making a new line of yarn themed illustrated goods, keeping up with my Saturday markets, and getting ready for our big move to Victoria by the end of the month. In attempt to lure in some pen pals (which, actually didn't prove to be very successful) I made up little address tags with buttons on them to give out to my very much missed Kamloops friends:

By the time September rolled around my stress level reached a new high as I tried to settle into our new city and deal with some intense immune system failures. I also got the wonderful pleasure of attending the Rifflandia Music Festival with some friends and apparently didn't write a single blog post worth posting a picture from. Alas.

Lindsay was kind enough to take over my blogging duties for the month of October and boy did she ever do a great job! Lots of kitties, Kate-like projects, and links during that month and further proof that she is one great friend:

November marked my return to the blogging world and my attempt at being healthy here in Victoria. I suffered from a severe Pinterest addiction (including a post where I revealed the three best things I've ever learned on the internet). I finally got the house settled a smidge and got into a bit of a routine with work too! Yay! I even managed to fit some crocheting in and made my very own giant doily:

At last December hit and the countdown was on to go home for the holidays! Fraser and I stretched our baking skills and made a whole slew of xmas cookies to share (including my much loved and coveted chai eggnog recipe):

With it all summed up like that 2011 sure looks great and boy what a wonderful year it was! I'm really hoping that 2012 will bring just as many fabulous memories and (hopefully) some good health so I can keep up with my blogging. After two (almost three) years of daily posts I fear I won't be able to continue with that challenge, but I do hope to share loads of fun links, pictures, projects, outfits, and fun craftiness for another awesome year! How about you? What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Find: Rain!

Happy Friday! Today is my very last day of xmas vacation before returning to the working (very early in the morning) world and boy have I ever had a blast! Luckily the Kamloops weather was actually quite mild and pleasant during my little holiday but now that we're back in Victoria I am loving the warm temperatures and rain! In fact, I've been extra enjoying the wet weather here and spent the last few days browsing around downtown (with an umbrella, layers, and wellies)! Hooray! I figured since I seem to be so set on rain I'd share some with you:

Yay! Adorable rain themed buttons! Okay, so that is a little shameless self-promotion, but there is another precipitation related site I thought I'd link you to as part of my Friday find. If you're a rain lover (or just someone who needs some relaxing background noise) you must check out! Hurrah! Soothing rain sounds at your fingertips perfect for some soothing euphony while you sleep (and no actual rain required). Are you as excited as I am? How do you feel about the rain?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

take a bow.

As I grow older, I find my person style keeps morphing. Although I have always been fond of certain looks (usually geeky ones involving lots of layers), I am constantly drawn to a wardrobe full of handmade accessories and no better way to build on that than making my own set of felt bows! I attempted making a few of these a while back (sans tutorial and pattern) and although I did come up with a few bow like creations, they were far from perfection. Not to worry crafters! The ladies from Oh So Lovely (courtesy of my girl thursday) are here to fill in the blanks! Just check out these gems:

Okay, so it is very doubtful I'd go with the pale pink and brown combo, but perhaps some nice jewel tones would go nicely with my current closet. Maybe I could even turn one into a black hairband and sport it at work (oOoOo what a risk taker I am)! Although I doubt I'd go very big as far as the hair accessories go, I do think these would make lovely brooches and look extra fabulous clipped on a scarf. What do you think? Have you ever dabbled in bow making?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cathrineholm Candles

Are you familiar with Cathrineholm? Well, if you aren't you should be! Just like my love affair with pyrex, Cathrineholm proves how awesome vintage housewares can be! This Norwegian company is known for its iconic simple leaf like design and bold colours. Getting your hands on some of their original enamelware may be quite costly these days (their factory shut down back in 1970), you can grab your own piece of Cathrineholm-esque design by making these lovely candle holders courtesy of How About Orange:

Bring on the paper, exacto knife, and candle holders, this project is a sinch! I think these would be a wonderful addition to my current home, although I think morphing them into some sort of salt and pepper combo would be extra wonderful! Plus it will let me fondly remember the tacky wonderfulness of an era I never actually lived in. Wait...that doesn't work....but I do like those candle holders. What do you think of them?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crochet Must.

I may not be requiring a nursery any time soon, but I certainly think I need to get myself some crocheted lamp shades. Seriously - what could be better? These things are amazing:

Oooo! The texture! The colours! The yarn-y goodness! I'm just smitten! I think these would be just perfect in the craft room (perhaps as part of a tissue pom pom light piece?). Looks like I need to work on my popcorn stitch and get practicing! What do you think? Have you ever made your own lampshade (and how dusty do you think these would get)?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Snow Cats!

Although I am certainly missing the 10 C mildness of Victoria - I do love having a white christmas! And you know what is even better than that? A white kitty christmas! Okay, so xmas is over for another 365 days, but instead of battling the awful boxing day crowds, take a moment and check out these adorable felines playing with snow:

Eeehehe! Am I ever a sucker for cute cats. I especially love that last one ready to pounce and (of course) the contrast and crispness of the orange cat pic (I do have quite the soft spot for orange kitties). Too bad Percy is an indoor cat otherwise I'm sure he'd do something just as cute and photo worthy....or he'd be his normal evil self and unleash his wrath on it...What do you think? Which is your favourite snow cat?

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Happy Christmas everyone! Hopefully jolly ol' St. Nick was good to you last night and while I am busy sharing in the holiday festivities with the family (well...most of the family since my sis couldn't make it...) I finally get to share something with all of you! While Fraser was hanging out with his brothers I sneakily made a present for him and am so thrilled with the results! Take a peek:

What's this? Felt, hand stitching, pinking shears, and a hint of yeti? My favs all combined to make Fraser a special stocking:

I originally wanted to embroider one of Fraser's favourite animals on there, but quickly realized that Fraser really only likes orange animals (which would look terrible on the red felt). With the xmas deadline ticking I decided to whip out the 2.25" button maker and make a "big yeti with little friends" button trio to help finish it off! Throw in some matching light blue letters and we've got ourselves one personalized surprise! Take a look at the stocking next to our little xmas tree to see it's full festive glory:

Oh man, I've been dying to share this with you for a good 10 days now and am pleased I didn't manage to spill the beans. Hopefully Fraser likes it as much as I do! How is your xmas going?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

After all there's only one more sleep til Christmas

One more sleep until the big day and just in case you're in need of some furry holiday spirit - here's some festive cats to bring you some xmas cheer:

Ah! So cute! Now if only I could convince Percy to dress up this year...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Find: Pretty Tape

Ever since making this ATC out of washi tape, I've been hooked:

How fun is it to get masking tape in all sorts of patterns and colours? Oh my! They are the perfect arsenal for any paper crafter and I've been dying to get my hands on more. Although my attempts to find some good washi tape sources have been unsucessful in Victoria, never underestimate the power of Etsy! Pretty Tape is an awesome shop just jam packed with all sorts of washi tape and loads of other crafty supplies to keep you busy. Just look at these gorgeous rolls:

Oh think of the handmade card possibilities! And if that wasn't enough - look at this:

Ack! Doily stamp! If xmas wasn't two days away this would certainly be on the top of my wish list. Looks like I may be investing in some new supplies in the new year...what do you think?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Felt pom poms!

Let's be realistic. If any of you saw this fantastic tutorial over at Delightfully Tacky, you must have known I was destine to write about it. After all - felt? pom poms? wrapping? Ah! It's a triple win! And look how adorable they are:

Oh dear these are cute! Plus they are relatively simple to make (and I do have quite the selection of felt to chose from) making this project even better. Too bad I already mailed all my sister's presents away to her (which, by the way, arrived in record time for this time of year) and most of my other presents are all wrapped and ready. I guess if I manage to find a little creative time I can test this one out, but I figure it doesn't need to be limited to xmas! May 2012 be the year of the felt pom pom wrapped present! Who's with me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Decoration Roundup!

It may seem a little last minute to still be making decorations - but that is what christmas vacation is all about (okay...not necessarily ornament making, but crafts anyways...). I actually came across so many ornament tutorials this year that I just had to show them to all of you! Let's go:

1) Embroidered Felt Friends (from Wild Olive c/o Sunshine and Carousels)

You know I can't resist a good felt and embroidery project! Especially one letting me anthropomorphize cute little smiles on things! Wild Olive is a girl from my own heart, and her patterns are just darling!

2) Ball Ninja Ornament (via the Cheese Thief)

Another project showing us that simple is better! All you need to do is paint a little skin path on some usually drab decorations, then grab a sharpie and you're done! Who doesn't love ninjas (and super quick craft projects!)?

3) Painted wooden circles (from Apartment Therapy)

Another quick and simple project to help you festive up the joint just in time for Santa! In this tutorial, you just need to buy some wooden disks, attach some eye hooks, and get painting! The best part of this one? Once you're done you could always stash the hook with the decorations and turn your masterpiece into a pendant! What fun! I think some geometric shapes and jewel tone neutrals are calling...

Well, chances are I'll be too busy this holiday to get to these, but you never know, they are quite appealing! What do you think? Do you ever make your own xmas decorations?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tartan Scotty Dogs!

While searching through old posts from the Fossil Blog (which, I totally love btw), I came across these wonderful tartan wrappings and scotty dog ornaments:

After seeing these I promptly stopped by the fabric store to find a sad lack of anything tartan (at all). They didn't even have plaid flannel! Fabricland! What are you thinking? Oh well, looks like this will go on the back burner for next year. In the mean time I will continue loving everything Fossil comes out with (and their blog current obsessions) and keep dreaming of a reason to buy myself a third (this time in gold) Fossil watch....any suggestions? Can you get tartan fabric where you live?

Monday, December 19, 2011

cheg nog cookies

I may not be a huge fan of eggnog, but something about a short half sweet reduced fat no water (with cinnamon dolce sprinkles) chai eggnog latte just hits the holiday spot! Why yes, that is quite the modified starbucks beverage, but once you try it you'll be hooked! Since my pal Alanna always seems to whip up amazing earl gray tea infused cookies I thought I'd do the next best xmas edition and try my hand at my own cookie version of the cheg (sbux terminology for chai eggnog latte). I may not be a master in the kitchen, but the reaction I got from my cheg loving coworkers made these cookies a success! They even look tasty don't you think?

On to the recipe!

Cheg Nog cookies (makes ~50 cookies)

-3/4 cup shortening
-1 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 ground up chai tea bags (I used Tazo's Organic Chai and a mortar and pestle)
-a sprinkling of other chai spices (I used cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg)
-2 tbsps eggnog
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix together the shortening, sugar, eggs, and flavours. Blend. Mix in dry ingredients (flour, b.powder, salt). Cover and chill for 1 hr. I then rolled them into cookie sized balls and flattened them with a spoon onto my silicone baking sheets. Bake for ~10 min until bottoms are slightly golden brown. Then lay the cookies on racks and let cool. (Now it's time to make the most delicious nog icing!)

Eggnog Icing (I don't actually have measurements for this....and ended up making WAY too much...which I then ate and felt sick afterwards....)

Whisk together icing sugar and egg nog until you get a good thick icing consistency. I then added a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon for extra spice.

Then all you need to do (after avoiding the temptation of eating all the amazing nog icing) is grab a knife, slab on some icing, and voila! Cheg cookies!

Nummers! I am drooling just thinking about these babies and am most certainly keeping these on the holiday baking list for next year. The subtle chai spices in the cookies leave the house smelling amazing and festive while the eggnog icing adds a touch of sweetness making the perfect xmas treat! What do you think? Craving some of your own cheg nog cookies? I'd love to know how they turn out!

In other news - Happy 27th Bday Jim! Too bad you never read my blog to appreciate this note - but I will probably be bringing you your own tray of cookies to help celebrate how old we are! Yay!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Invaders

Confession time - I have a not so secret love for tacky christmas sweaters. Nothing says "bring on the festivities" quite like a hand knit snowy scene, but unfortunately I haven't managed to land my hands on just the right one yet (or even better - his and hers matching sweaters for future Kate and Fraser xmas card photo shoots). Well, when I saw the non-itchy and incredibly geeky silk screened space invaders take on the ugly xmas look, I just had to share it with all of you:

Isn't it awesome? I may be a bit young to actually enjoy the full novelty of space invaders (that can be saved for those born in the 70's) but I do love the geek reference. I also really enjoy the white, grey, red, and green holiday colour scheme! Unfortunately the black tshirt colour may be a bit much for my ultra pale red-headedness, so perhaps I should think about investing in one of these silk screened holiday tees from Vardagan instead:

Ooohooo! What a perfect combination of classic xmas knit type pattern with the joys of a layerable (and not used) tshirt! It may be a bit late to jump on this train for 2011, but watch out 2012 (and Fraser)! How do you feel about ugly christmas sweaters? Anyone up for a sweater party?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

xmas cookies!

Fraser and I decided to start our own holiday tradition this year and spend the day baking xmas goodies together! Six batches, and loads of xmas tunes later and we've got ourselves quite the selection of cookies to share. Check them out:

Oh what fun! Looks like that little round dish is quickly becoming my go to cookie display for blog pics (also seen with my healthy oat cookie recipe) but it sure seems to do the trick! As far as the goodies go, we made red and green sugar cookie squirrels, sugar and spice cookies, my own interpretation of chai eggnog latte cookies, shortbread, and (gluten free) angel sweets! Yum! Such a lovely selection of some of my (and Fraser's) favourites! How is your holiday baking going? What are your fav go to cookies?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Find: The Blooming Thread

Florals, buttons, felt and brooches combine to make one fantastic accessories section over at etsy's The Blooming Thread! Just take a peek at these beauties:

I love the combination of different textures, patterns, and colours to make such gorgeous pins! Brooches not your cup of tea? Not to worry - the blooming thread has a wide variety of handmade goodies to chose from so I'm sure you'll find something to swoon over.

In other news - today I am heading home for xmas vacation! Goodbye mild loveliness of Victoria and hello well loved friends and family in Kamloops! It also means I will be away from the etsy shop for the rest of December (which, isn't really that tragic since the holiday shipping deadlines are long past). And don't fret my wonderful blog readers, I may be away from the WiFi, but I'll you'll have lots of festive kate posts to keep you company while I'm away! Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

luxurious mushrooms

I'm always stoked to see people enjoy my buttons, and am extra thrilled that Kaylah of the Dainty Squid is enjoying her mushroom buttons I sent her! She even put them in a cute little blog post about things that make her smile, and boy do they ever look luxurious on red fabric:

Aren't they dear? I really love getting a glimpse of how other people photograph pinback buttons and hopefully in the new year I'll get a chance to play around with my camera and lighting to take some new shots for my etsy shop. Until then I will just keep enjoying all the lovely comments I get from lovely buyers that makes craft selling oh so wonderful! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Need some nuts cracked?

My old boss Dean loves nutcrackers. Each Christmas he covers his piano with loads of festive nutcracker friends to make one impressive (and sort of creepy) holiday decor! Although I do appreciate their interesting detail and handcrafted appeal, I've never been compelled to jump on the nutcracker collecting train like Dean has. When I was busy swooning over the glittery platypus ornament from Curbly, I quickly got redirected to their simplified nutcracker post and fell in love! Take a peek at these lovely modern and minimalist crackers:

Oh ho! There is something to be said about stripping kitchy over detailed decorations into white spray painted simplified works of art! Looks like I've got yet another holiday craft to add to the list! I think a small grouping of these would be just perfect on our living room book shelf, but I think I'd rather skip the whole de-be-dazzling step and just spray some unpainted nutcrackers instead! I am fairly sure I've seen them at craft stores before, so I'll have to keep my eyes peeled once xmas vacation rolls around! Just a few more days to go too! What do you think? Are you dreaming of a white nutcracker christmas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Painted Plastic Animals - Holiday Edition

If you're a regular on the blog I'm sure you know how in love I am with plastic animal crafts. I've got four DIYs piled up on my crafty to do list (link) and as soon as I saw these glittery animal ornaments I knew the tally would go up to five. Who could resist a sparkly stegosaurus, platypus, rhino, or octopus?

Oh man these are awesome! Looks like I definitely need to find a good source for little plastic animals so I can get creating. I did manage to buy a few woodland creatures I'm going to make some adorable storage out of, but I think the bizarre clash of random animals works best for the xmas ornament project. The folks at Curbly (the makers of the project) found their plastic friends at Michael's (on sale!) so I guess I'll need to follow the flyers and watch for a good deal. The animals I picked up were a tad pricey, so I would love to find some thrifty pals to continue with my painted plastic animal crafts! Anyone have any suggestions on where to pick some up? Are you drooling over the glittery pink dino as much as I am?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let the festiveness continue!

Well xmas is in full swing around here so I thought I'd take a moment and show off our little three foot tree! It looks very similar to how it did last year (link and link) , with the already placed white lights (can you believe there are 135 on there?), bargain red bells and blue and silver mini balls, handmade yeti tree topper, and sporadic purchased ornaments we've accumulated over the years. I am so thrilled with how the little guy looks all lite up on his doily in the apartment:

I even put a few spare xmas balls on Bob the ficus to continue with the festive decorating (you can see him in the background in that last image)! I am also really loving our new decorations we've got this year too! You may not be able to spot them very clearly, so here's another shot for you:

The kitties were a gift from Fraser's mom (Fraser got the black kitty and I got a brown one) and I bought a few glittery acorns as an early present for Fraser this year. I am really loving how much the tree puts me in the magical xmas spirit and am also enjoying my new xmas house fragrance oils I picked up from Escents. I'm not sure about you, but there is something extra special about the smells associated with this season and I love the house smelling cheery (and not like the deep fried felafel balls and tzatziki I made for our xmas party last night...). How is your tree trimming coming along? Have you got your decorating started?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

While searching around on Pinterest I've seen lots of pins about "elf on the shelf." I was wondering for a while what the heck this whole elf thing was about and (for reasons unknown) I finally decided to google it yesterday. Although I feel this tradition is 100% American, I am a little intrigued by the whole idea! The idea stems from a book explaining how Santa knows which kids and naughty and nice with the help of an elf! After reading the book your family can adopt it's very own elf that with a bit of Santa's Christmas magic, the scout elves keep an eye out for Santa! Just look how cute the little elves are:

Each night your little elf flys back to Santa to report on how your kiddos are doing on the whole "naughty/nice" scale and then get up to mischief around the house! Just look at some of the wonderfully delightful and imaginative things these elves have been up to from Pinterest:

(in this one the elf on the shelf painted each of the kids' noses red)

Aha! I love it! I am sure I would have loved waking up each morning and trying to find what the little elf was up to the previous night! And boy do those elves ever have some shenanigans! Look at all the amazing elf on the shelf ideas from Flickr! Yup, I'm pretty sure if I ever have children of my own we are definitely adopting an elf!

The only thing I don't really like about the whole thing is that he arrives from just after Thanksgiving until Christmas eve. Sure that is fine for American's and their late November festivities, but here in Canada I doubt I'd want to start getting ready for the holidaysLink before Halloween even happens. I guess you could try to modify the tradition to just take place during December (which is much more doable in my mind), but that doesn't really follow the book which kind of takes away from the magic of the whole thing. Alas, I have many years to figure out the details before jumping into that boat. What do you think? Anyone out there take part in the hide and seek elf fun? Are you thrilled to get started now (i.e. Leslie?)? I'd love to hear from you!