Archive | November, 2012

craft fair preview!

Saturday will soon be here, the day of my first craft show ever!  I’ve been working in every spare moment to prepare sweet knitted and sewn items for sale, and I’m imagining how to arrange everything on my table when the day comes.  No matter what sells, though, the point is… I am going to actually sell at a craft fair! 

Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on:

Little jelly bean-shaped bags of rice will be fun “bean bags” for kids 
or can be hot/cold packs for adults.

felt tooth fairy pouches & felt baby shoes
For the pouches, the child tucks their tooth in the tooth-shaped pocket on the front and then Mom tucks the money inside the pouch!
knitting baby hats and attempting to read at the same time… not always successful
sewing up fabric beach balls
& my smallest fabric ball wearing a baby hat I just finished
fingerless gloves are ready to go
& every crafter deserves a chocolate break!
For those of you out there who have sold at a craft fair before, do you have any advice for me?
15 :: in arts and crafts, knitting business, Making Room {Handmade}

"Happy Day!!!"

How many of you woke up this morning and thought, “Oh bummer, the long weekend’s over!  No more Thanksgiving for a year!”  Some of you trudged back to work or study, others watched our spouses trudge off and turned around to quiet houses without cozy adult companionship.

Well, Lena has a message for you if you’re down.  Her new word… er, phrase gave me warm fuzzies this morning as the week began without our Elliott/Daddy at home.

In other news, how many of you are doing some Cyber Monday shopping today?  Last year I took advantage of Black Friday/Cyber Monday in the States to get some amazing deals on yarn for my Etsy shop and to buy cloth diapers at a great price from here.  This year in Italy… hmm, no online purchases yet, but I’m very tempted by all the cute baby clothes and darling wooden toys at serious markdowns on Totsy

Anything tempting you?  Or do you avoid that craziness?

9 :: in holidays, Lena, video, weekend

"Happy Thanksgeebing bach!"

Oh Thanksgiving, how I do love thee.  The food, the family, the whole concept of taking a day to give thanks.  Once a year everything slows down as home, family, and friends become the heart and center of the day.

Elliott and I had discussed our Thanksgiving plans about a month ago and I asked if we could “fill up the table.”  Our huge farmhouse table is wonderful for craft projects, collecting odds and ends, and feeding the three of us at one little end, but it comes into its fullness of purpose when filled up with friends.  Elliott said, “Sure!” and we extended invitations to our community group and a favorite Italian family to join us for Thanksgiving Day.

I spent much of Wednesday and Thursday preparing: baking apple pie, prepping the turkey, cleaning the house (with Elliott’s patient assistance to my insistence), and setting the table.  This was my first time to host Thanksgiving and the first Thanksgiving I had ever spent away from my parents and siblings.  I was anxious that everything would go right!

But then, as I was rolling pie crust on Wednesday afternoon, Elliott and I were treated to a magnificent rainbow.  It turned into a full-bowed triple rainbow with a half-rainbow beside it!  Such a beautiful reminder of God’s covenant faithfulness as I move away from being a daughter and fully embody my new life as a wife, mother, hostess, and friend.

hot spiced cider in Polish pottery mugs

Cute boys before our meal with baked Brie and crackers… and wine too, apparently.

Some people we love very much.

Almond cookies from our Italian guests (and they brought espresso for afterwards too!)

Dessert :: apple pie, vanilla ice cream, and pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting

Who doesn’t love some dessert?!

I love the citrus in this apple pie… mmm…

Lena was fascinated by Baby Benjamin, which is a good sign for when our baby arrives soon!

Our sweet kitty, who found a quiet corner of the dining room where she wouldn’t miss a thing… or not.

Thanksgiving Menu 2012

Baked Brie in Cut Mangoes & Honey with Crackers
Spinach Appetizer Balls
Fruit Salad Cups
Lemon Butter & Thyme Turkey from Style Me Pretty’s Thanksgiving Guide
Steamed Green Beans with Butter and Salt
Mama Woodworth’s Classic Stuffing
Classic Yeast Rolls
Whipped Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce

Local Wines (of course!)
Sparkling Cider

Deep Dish Apple Pie from the Barefoot Contessa
Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
14 :: in eat this, friends, holidays, hospitality

a moment to be still.

Lena is sleeping.  The kitty is lounging.

The menu for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving meal is looming.  The kitchen is dirty.  The floors are dirty.  The laundry is clean, at least, but needs folding.

But for just a moment… let me sit still.

I like doing a travel series and sharing photos with you, but in the middle of that it’s hard to share what’s going on right here, right now, this week.  So here’s a bit about life around here, and why it feels so good to sit, and why I would like to curl up with a book until the end of nap time.

This holiday season is a busy season.  I think I didn’t quite realize it until all at once the deadlines were approaching and the holidays were upon us.  I also recently decided to get much more involved in my community by joining or taking positions in my women’s Bible study and the All Officers’ Spouses’ Club, and with these commitments comes a lot of (joyful!) responsibility.  While most of the year these two organizations have minimal commitments, around this time of year there are holiday parties, book club meetings, Thanksgiving potlucks, and party planning committees galore, not to mention creating all the sweets and treats that are fun to bake, cook, and prepare to share at all these events.

The biggest upcoming event is Night of Noel, a beautiful evening of food and fellowship for the women of our community, and I am responsible for all the decorating for the event (yikes) as well as hostessing a table and making a dessert.  I’m thinking multiple Christmas trees and twinkle lights, gold spray painted pine cones, and fondue, in that order.  Thoughts?

I also somewhat randomly decided to sell my handiwork at my first craft fair ever.  (Double yikes!)  The craft fair will take place on December 1… a little over a week away!  I spent most of last Saturday at my sewing machine and spend every evening with my knitting needles between my fingers.  (Why is it that I only get crafty in the fall and winter?  I need to stay crafty all year so that I have a good inventory!)  Honestly, I’m somewhat ridiculously excited about actually attending and selling at a craft fair, even though it’s only three hours long and I fully expect to sell nothing.  It’s the anticipation… the camaraderie… the officialness of it!  I’m a real craftswoman. 

Anyway, that’s a little bit of what is constantly running through my mind these days.  “Knit gloves… finish book for book club… email about decorations… run over shopping list again for Thanksgiving… sew fabric beach balls… etc. etc. etc.”  Not to mention playing with Lena, cooking meals, keeping the house clean, dealing with our chimney repairs (still not finished!), and all the other sweet trifles of life.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the holidays or just caught up in the joyful busyness of it all? 

6 :: in holidays, knitting business, Siena, thoughts

Cinque Terre :: Monterosso al Mare

Our last day in Cinque Terre… and did we want to visit one last town?  We decided to swing through Monterosso for lunch on our way back to Milan and a flight to Sicily.

Little did we know what a treacherous road we were about to go down!

We snaked up and down the green hills of the coast, passing through tiny little clusters of houses and shops, villages too small to be considered one of the “cinque terre” towns.  The view from the tops of the hills was amazing: a horizon that melted into the sea, cathedral spires nosing the clouds, bright orange nets spread under olive trees for the picking season.

However, as the road twisted down towards the coast numerous times, the scenery changed.  Water collected quickly and formed dangerous rivulets, then streams, then rivers.  At the bottom of the valleys we felt like we were in a war zone; there were barricades everywhere.  This is why parts of Cinque Terre have disappeared in mud slides in 2011 and 2012, and why the Via dell’Amore was closed between the towns, and why there were so many warning signs on the roads… and perhaps also why we were the only cars on it!

A few times I looked back and saw that the earth had washed away underneath the outer edge of the asphalt.  If we had been driving too close to the edge… would the road have fallen away beneath us?

I was actually trembling when we finally parked in Monterosso al Mare and realized it was because I had been so tense in the car.  What a relief to step out into such a quaint little town and have nothing more on our minds than where to find some lunch!

 Farewell for now, Cinque Terre.  Maybe we’ll meet again… in the summertime?
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9 :: in Cinque Terre, friends, Italy, pretty places, travel

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