31 December 2007


oh dear, it's been awhile. i must have jinxed myself with that computer free stuff...i sure did go for it. i think i needed some down time. or, as elin put it, a lot of time doing nothing. but i was doing something...knitting, thinking, reorganizing lots of stuff...

big sigh.

so here i am on new year's eve...and i've been thinking this post in my head while scrubbing the floors, vacuuming up pine needles, and dusting the cobwebs...so here
i'll go...

2007 was a hard year for me. maybe the roughest i remember. and i am happy to see it go. normally, i have excitement for a new year...new possibilities, new dreams, new energy. i don't have that for 2008 yet...and don't know if or when it will come. i've been talking about this with some folks...having hope, but fearing it at the same time. i believe that i've been carried through this year, day by day, moment by moment. i believe that God has provided for me in the strangest ways manna for every day. strength in times where i felt the weakest, rest when i was weary, peace amidst confusion, balm for my hurts. and i believe this manna will continue to come day by day. i have hope for this new year, just not the faith in that hope yet...you know? anyway...

one way i feel that God has taken good care of me this year, is through this silly old blog. it has kept me connected to friends i may have never been in touch with again (and ann-krestene, i am SO thankful!) it has given me inspiration, courage, a resource and source to show off my creativity, and just a place to go and feel connected. some of you provided stability to me in ways you will never know. thank you all for this...

i do look forward to this next year for these reasons...seeing these two lovelies grow and bring joy to everyone they meet...
(eli "playing" twinkle, twinkle little star on our tree's violin....)

(stella wanted this shot...decorating the tree in her christmas outfit...)

i also look forward to meeting you all here, reading about your days, your thoughts, your creativity...

i wish you all love and joy and peace in this new year. and lots of manna.

11 December 2007

i need this

so i'm doing it. committing to it (for now).
i need balance. or something.
so, i'll post tomorrow and probably thursday too...
but friday? nope.
not even checking in.
i'll come back on the weekend maybe (prolly),
but friday? nope.

10 December 2007

weekend update...part one

the crafty side...

here's what's been happening around here:

knight dress-up capes for nephews, sons and daughters...

the valiant

(this one i made up on the fly...)

the princess (and back view...sorry, bad photo)

more eye pillows...for???

(adapted from the rice heat therapy pillows tutorial found on sew, mama, sew's blog.

tissue holders...to be added into the wellness packs

(also from a tutorial found via sew, mama, sew)

the christmas skirt

(yep, tutorial (although i changed it a bit) found you-know-where!)

meanwhile...the kiddies stayed in jammies for WAY too long!

but they were happy!

had to get these photos up...just to show y'all. more on the weekend tomorrow (hopefully)...it was very nice!!!

08 December 2007

priya's plaastique bagues

i was just updated with an acquaintance's latest endeavor that NEEDS to be shared!

(drawing by 'bittersweet genevieve' and copied from priya's myspace id photo)

priya is fashioning some very cute clutches and boy bags out of recycled plastic bags...thus the name, plaastique bague!

a custom design that i love ::

a mama and me style :: matchy matchy!

the boy bag :: i find myself saying constantly how eli needs a boy bag...maybe this is the one???

it is so great to see another fashionable option to recycle those plastic bags. remember july's project of the month? lura tipped us off onto the melted plastic bag craze (i don't think any of us dared, so here's a non-toxic option!!!)

i am so excited for priya and for her great bags. i wish you tons of success, priya!!!

now...go buy some handmade recycled bags!!


07 December 2007

gifting music

it's not necessarily handmade and not necessarily not (whoa...too many negatives), but music is SOO much fun!

we have always been a family who plays with music...here's proof (ripped from Sally's Music Circle's website): me very pregnant with eli and stella playing with sticks...i think its to the tune of "oats and beans")

and i've been reminded of just how much kids love (and in my opinion, need) music in their lives recently by stella. she received a cd player for her birthday in october and we have been blessed to her choice of tunes daily ever since. this has had it's ups and downs. one can only listen to the cars soundtrack so many times. or the american girl theme song (too much when eli is singing in eli talk "hey hey hey...it's great to be an american girl"). so she started venturing into our cd rack. how funny when i find her listening to low, pedro the lion, sufjan stevens, edith piaf, but more times than not, the beatles. she has her taste. and it happens to look a lot like her daddy's.

there is so much good kid music out there...for some hip, fun and wacky songs, check out wxpn's "kids corner". they even have podcasts!

but when i am trying to encourage more playfulness and a little less "cool," i ask stella to put on some of our music circle cds.

for the first couple years after chris and i got married (and pre-kiddos!) i worked for a great, small company called Sally's Music Circle. i loved doing these preschool music classes. they are so much fun and the kids really do benefit so much from singing and playing with music with their mama's and daddy's! (speaking from the "violin teacher" mouth now: seriously...kids that participate in this type of program and sing and play at home with music come ready to learn their instrument at an earlier age with more competence...ok enough jibber jabber) i took stella to the classes until she was literally too old to go! (classes typically end at age 5, but we'll see about that!) and we STILL play with our instruments and sing the songs. i have watched eli slowly sing along...in tune! and do the little chants...with GOOD rhythm! stella absolutely loves them and i couldn't be happier.

these cd's are great even if you don't live in the philadelphia area (or baltimore at peabody prep). the cd's alone are magical. sweet songs, chants and lullabies that kids truly love to sing. so you can hop on over to cdbaby or itunes and grab one or more for yourself! you can buy the hard copy cd and they'll mail it to you or just buy the download! i've pictured two of our favorites (because it would be obnoxious to show all the photos!)

listen and enjoy!!

*****totally unrelated and absolutely hilarious...go here!**********

****edited to correct the link to Sally's Music Circle CDs on CD Baby...go NOW!*****

03 December 2007

handcrafted holidays meme

more answers...


* Do you have a favorite gift that you love to give?
~ I love to give cozy, comfort gifts. cuddly friends, soft blankets, slippers, teas, candles, anything that might make the recipients day a little more peaceful and restful. creative gifts for kids, something to inspire, motivate and encourage independent learning. (i am sometimes the nerdy aunt!) and finally, books are the next best thing!

* If you’re making gifts this year, what are you making?
~ well you've seen some of them, and as they are completed, you'll see the rest: spinny skirts, cozy friends, beading kits, and more planned...!

* Do you have any good stories about handcrafted gifts you’ve given or received?
~ My first knitting project ever (when i taught myself to knit!) was to make outdoor mittens for my dad. i was totally winging it and the first mitten came out HUGE. like bigger than a tea cozy kind of huge. it ended up hanging on my mom's front door with greens in it! a big mistake put to good use...

* Name one thing on your personal wish list.
~ ooo, just one? a ball winder for my yarn. i hate that job!


* What is your favorite family holiday tradition?
~ as silly as it is, we hang a pickle ornament on our tree and the first person to find it, opens the first present! we have one here, but we normally let stella find it! we still play this game at my parents on christmas day!

What do you love most about the holiday season?
~ the warmth. the feelings, the foods, the coziness of it all. (i like cozy things!)

* What do you like least about the holiday season?
~ the materialism. the shopping. the panic. the stress. the absence of peace.

* What is your favorite holiday food?
~ hot chocolate and cookies. shared with stella before bed. we've been making "real" hot cocoa (so less sugar!) and adding mini-marshmallows (extra sugar!)

* Do you have a great recipe to share?
~ i have to think on this one and will post it soon. i LOVE to cook, so choosing one is very difficult. i think i'll pick a cookie. maybe that'll be for tomorrow!

02 December 2007

crafty update and free pattern! (a LONG post)

what a day! we spent the day in parkesburg, pa, helping my folks remove carpet from their living room in preparation for some hardwood flooring. i say "we"...chris and my brother-in-law, chris (yep, right). my sister, lura, and i set up my grandmother's christmas tree. it was a really nice day. and then i checked out my favorite blogs. i have this routine now. goes a little like this: angry chicken, soulemama, wee wonderfuls, whipup, sewmamasew's handcrafted holidays, bandwidow, under the weather, my girl hazel...

so i begin that routine and come across this(page down a bit)! i was shocked to see my little name mentioned here! so excited to have so many new visitors today, yet horrified at the thought, "well, melis, you better get some photos and you BETTER finish those projects!!!" come to think of it...that's a good thing~~~accountability! so, thank you, sew mama sew, for mentioning my blog! and welcome visitors from so many places!!! hope you enjoy your time here!

AND... i finally have some photos to show off from my holiday gift-making, and one from my stella~~~

i've been dying to share this with you all. stella had asked for some clay a while ago and got it after being very brave getting the flu shot! anyway, she had very clear plans as to the first project with said clay...that being: baby jesus in a manger with mary and joseph. here it is:

stella's nativity made of clay and painted with tempera paints. yes, joseph is missing an arm (to be glued in the morning).

okie doke. how about those therapy bags i've been bragging about! tell me what you think... i wish we had scratch-n-sniff computers for this one, because they DO smell SO SO SO good...

small cold therapy bag for the freezer, filled with peppermint scented barley:

eye pillow, filled with eucalyptus scented flaxseed:

large heat therapy bag, filled with lavendar scented rice:

my wellness packs! all have removable, washable covers made of 100% cottons and linens (like the japanese prints? thanks superbuzzy!)

detail of my favorite print set!!!

and i decided to share a favorite knitting pattern of mine with all of you! it's my favorite scarf that i knitted two years ago and wear it ALL the time. the minute it is a bit chilly out...there it is. and it is loved by many...requested by my mom for christmas, infact! so as i knit hers (out of louisa harding yarn's "grace" - silk and merino! ooooh! aaah!), my friend, loren, will be knitting one out of blue sky alpaca's sport weight for a friend. feel free to knit along! and send photos of the finished product!! you WILL love this scarf!

here it is, modeled by me...headless!

My Favorite Scarf

How to Make It:
i have no idea what yarn i used for this particular one shown, but i recommend using any yarn suitable for size 10 or 11 needles. something a bit chunky, or use sport weight and hold two strands together (that's what i'll be doing with the silk/wool, and what loren will do with the alpaca). You'll need one ball of a chunky yarn and two of sport weight.

CO 25 sts
Work in K1P1 rib (row 1: *K1 P1*repeat from * to end; row 2: *P1 K1*repeat from * to end) for 3.5"
End WS.

Make "holes" to tie scarf:
Next row (RS): K1 P1 K1, BO next 7 sts, finish row in pattern
Next row (WS): P1 K1 (7 times) K1, CO 7 sts, finish row in pattern
Continue in rib pattern for another 4 rows. finish WS)
Next row (RS): K1 P1 rib for 15 sts. BO next 7 sts, finish row in pattern.
Next row (WS): P1 K1 P1, CO 7 sts, finish row in pattern.

hole detail, keep in mind they have been worn for two years!:

Continue in rib pattern until piece measures 15" from beginning.
End WS.
Place 11 sts on holder. BO next 3 sts.
Working with last 11 sts, contine in rib pattern until this "tail" measures 12" from split. BO in pattern, weave in ends.
Pick up 11 sts on holder and work in pattern until this tail measures about 16" (or you run out of yarn...whichever!)
BO in pattern, weave in ends.

to tie it on, i hold it with the short tail on top. wrap it around your neck, put the short tail in the top hole, and the long tail in the bottom. i leave it just like that, but you can tie it in a knot, bow, whatever!

how to tie it on:

i have imagined this scarf for kids detailed to look like a monster with crooked eyes (the holes) a silly grin and two long legs...but have yet to make it that way.

anyway...hope you enjoy the pattern. it's my first one ever shared publicly...so please give me feedback! thanks so very much! stay tuned for more holiday giftmaking!


01 December 2007

first day of advent

in looking for a "grown up," more inspirational advent calendar...i did a search for online advent calendars. found this and love it.

they have a daily meditation, daily scripture verses (they call it the daily office), a carol of the day (...which is BEAUTIFUL!), podcasts and great charitable gift-giving ideas.

i was particularly moved by the meditation of the day today...here's a snippet:

"In the beginning God created everything. Created by God, we are called to be stewards of all that we have and receive from God. The mystery of the incarnation, Christmas, and Christ’s coming invites us to enter fully into God’s ongoing acts of creation and to participate joyfully in the reign of God...The first step in Advent is to remember that we are created by God and loved by God." (click here for the full meditation)

the carol today was angels from the realms of glory...i had to listen to it 4 times. really peaceful to listen to and nice to reflect upon. some lyrics for ya...

(original lyrics by james montgomery, with the refrain of: Come and worship, Come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King! instead of Gloria! In excelcis deo)

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Gloria! In excelcis deo!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light;
Gloria! In excelcis deo!

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star;
Gloria! In excelcis deo!

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Gloria! In excelcis deo!

i love the angels winging o'er all the earth and the call to sages to leave their contemplations...brighter visions beam afar!!!

anyway...hope you enjoy it too.

on craftier news...i finished up the "wellness" packs. i love them so very much. they were really fun to make. and they do look lovely!!! so hopefully i'll borrow that camera tomorrow and get some photos. i was going to answer more of the meme here, but think i'll leave that for tomorrow...too contemplative, er, um, i mean inspired right now.

peace on earth.