2 goodbye 2009.


2009 was a good year. The highlight: getting married! 

Not necessarily the wedding, although that was fun too. But there is something about having a husband that makes me feel happy, secure, and comforted. It also helps that he's the best husband ever (though I may be biased). 2009 brought me a little family of my own, even if there are only two of us in it for now, and that is definitely the highlight of my year.

We are looking forward to the future.  Goodbye 2009!

1 handmade holiday: part four.


I like to gift my coworkers with calories. I make cakes on their birthdays, bring in cupcakes for fun, and usually bring in boxes and boxes of cookies during the holidays. This year, rather than baking 20 different kinds of cookies, I decided to bake little cakes for everyone. I made mini cardamom cakes like I did for our wedding favors, and packaged them up in little kraft paper boxes wrapped with green yarn and a little glass ornament. I also made a few larger cakes for a few "special" people, i.e. my bosses and our office manager. 
Each of those cakes was placed in a large white box wrapped with the same green ribbon and three pretty ornaments! 
I can't share the recipe for the cakes since it's top secret in our family, but this recipe is very similar if you want to make one. You can substitute 1 tsp. regular vanilla extract for the vanilla bean paste.  I use a cathedral bundt pan and sprinkle powdered sugar over the top to make it look like a church covered in snow.
The jury is still out on whether or not making these cakes saved me any time compared to baking a ton of cookies, since I had to make five batches of cake total for all the mini cakes (48) and the three big cakes.  They definitely didn't save me any money...the ingredients are expensive!  They were a hit though, and one of my bosses liked it so much he took his cake home with him and then brought it back to work the next day so he could have it for a snack!  Most importantly to me (aside from the flavor), they are pretty and festive, so I will probably make them again next year.

2 handmade holiday: part three.


This next gift was also for my sister Dani.  She wanted a chain and pearl necklace similar to one that we saw at Ann Taylor Loft (I cannot find it on their website or I'd link to it).  This is what I came up with.
The necklace took a little longer to make than I expected, there were a lot of pearl chain links to make!  I didn't mind though since it was a craft I could do while watching TV.  That's one of the reasons I love making necklaces...I can do it from the couch.  Sadly, my sewing machine can't fit on my lap or I think I'd sew more often!  

I actually had cornflower/periwinkle colored ribbons instead of the metal chain attached to this at first, but ultimately decided that the silver chain would be more practical since it would match with more.  I might make another one of these with black ribbons attached though--possibly for this Etsy shop I've been considering?
Sorry for the grainy photo, it's hard to take pictures of myself in the mirror and keep the focus right!  If I was a good blogger I would have taken a picture of her wearing it, but alas, I'm not that on top of things.

2 handmade holiday: part two.


My little sister Gaby put in a specific request for her Christmas gift this year.  I had made this polka-dotted coin purse for her last year (and apparently hadn't quite perfected ribbon flowers) but after filling it to the brim for an entire year, she needed an upgrade.  
That upgrade was to come in the form of a slightly larger purse in zebra print.  I am personally not a huge fan of animal print, but since she asked nicely--which is rare for a 14 year old girl, I obliged.  Rather than buying some cheap polyester print fabric (which was really all that I could find) I decided that I'd make my own zebra print using home decor weight canvas with some black chiffon sewn on to look like stripes!  I love that it gives an otherwise plain coin purse a little texture.  The inside is lined with a melon colored flannel to add a little pop of color.
I'm happy to report that she loved her little purse as well, and has put another request in for a larger bag with a similar zebra print pattern for her birthday in April.  She asked nicely for that one too, so we'll have to see what comes out of it!

7 handmade holiday: part one.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! My husband and I enjoyed spending time in the UP with family and friends. We also found out from this little guy that we'll be an auntie and uncle again in June!  "My mommy has a baby in her tummy"...what wonderful news to find out on Christmas Eve.

In other (much less exciting but still relevant) news, I thought I'd start a series to share a few of the gifts I made this year. We'll start with the most labor intensive. I made this purple and gray houndstooth overnight bag for my sister Dani. It took quite a bit of work including a lot of handsewing since the fabric was so thick.  Have I mentioned how much I despise handsewing?  It was my first time making cargo pockets as well, and I'm happy to report I do not despise making pockets at all!

If there is anyone that is as obsessed with houndstooth as I am, it's my sister.  This fabric was perfect for her.  Major props to my better half for picking it out.  And for coming to JoAnn's with me.  He's a brave one, that husband of mine.  

I lined the inside with an olive green silky cotton.  It had a really beautiful sheen to it.

This is the first piece that I've sewn the bijou lovely name into.  Hopefully there will be many more to come!

My sister loved the bag and was amazed at how many clothes she could fit into it!  It was well worth the effort.  Hopefully she'll use it on a trip to come visit me sometime soon (hint hint).

3 my day has been made.


While taking a quick break today I clicked over to my blog feed and saw that the winner of a very popular giveaway was announced.  Usually I just scroll past them since I rarely win but today my name was in the feed!  I just won an L Letterpress Combo Kit and custom plate from Lifestyle Crafts!  

Here's what it comes with:
L Letterpress
Epic Six Letterpress and Die-cutting Tool
Clear Packing Mat with Grid
Paper Placement Guides
Ink Base
Ten A2 flat cards
Nine Printing Plates
Tube of Black Ink
Circle Cutting Dies


One Custom Printing Plate

It is safe to say that my day (and week, and month) has been made.  I'll think of it as a late birthday present!  And now I cannot wait to play with my new toy.

3 lovely inspiration: winter white holiday gift wrap.


Have you seen the gift wrapping ideas that Summer of Grey Likes Weddings posted on Style Me Pretty today? All of the layers of textures and shades of white and cream have me wishing I had time to re-wrap all of our Christmas gifts. Not that I would actually do it... but I'm definitely putting these in the file for next year's holiday wrapping inspiration.

There's even a tutorial to make the DIY fabric pom in the center picture.  And Summer posted a tutorial for the DIY wine wrap on her blog as well. 

What a great way to give an old sweater a new life! 

1 beautiful bindings.


I've been wanting a little notebook lately to do some sketching and I would love to have one these adorable books from Windy Weather Bindery. The prints are so fun and modern! 

And even better, they are made in my favorite state: Michigan!

4 lovely designs: ribbons and pearls.


I do a lot of craft projects but I don't have much to show for it.  I typically make all (or at least most) of my gifts for other people but I never keep anything for myself.  My birthday is coming up soon and my husband so kindly reminded me today that I am going to be old.  As in, 26.  So in honor of becoming old I made a little birthday gift for myself!
I've been considering starting an Etsy shop and if I do, I think a few ribbon and pearl necklaces will be listed in the shop.  My love for ribbon and pearls is a little unhealthy, and the two of them together are a match made in heaven! 

1 hello weekend!


Happy Friday! Today the nerdy engineer in me is loving these Periodic Table of Sentiments greeting cards by Nicole at Pink Loves Brown.

And the girly side of me is in love with her Christmas tree. It's pink and perfect.

I'll be spending the weekend making the last of our Christmas gifts, visiting with friends, and attempting to make these macarons from Vanilla Bakeshop on Style Me Pretty.

I hope you all have a nice weekend!

4 lovely recipes: thumbprint cookies.


I started baking Christmas cookies tonight! First on the list were thumbprint cookies...my favorite! 

I thought I'd share the recipe in case anyone would like to make a batch. They are really simple to make and they are seriously delicious!

If you share this recipe, please credit bijou lovely.  Or my mother.  Either way, I'd appreciate it.

Does anyone else make thumbprint cookies?   

3 lovely decor: felt rosette wreath.


I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!  Adam and I enjoyed our time at home and brought back one thing we wished we wouldn't have...sickness.  I am feeling much better today after a bout of the flu, but the hubs is still coughing non-stop.  We are treating it with Nyquil and hot chocolate.  I'll let you know if it works.  

In the meantime, I'll be admiring yet another pretty wreath.  Apparently I have a thing for wreaths lately! I want to make a giant one of these to hang over our mantle for Christmas!  

Felt rosette wreath tutorial from Domestifluff via EAD Weddings

Since I finished making my ornament for our Weddingbee ornament exchange, this might be my next project!  Aside from the Christmas cookies of course. Have you started baking yet?
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