Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Christmas 2013

wow. it's already the end of the year! I know we all are thinking about the new year's celebration (I'm busy preparing too!) but today I thought to share what we did on our Christmas. I wanted to write this post earlier but well... it's better late than never :)
My gingerbread cookies because hubby said Christmas without gingerbread cookies is not Christmas. haha. The cookies and the icing are vegan (the recipe is from the Joy of Vegan Baking book). I don't know about the color pens and the candy cane decorations I used to decorate the cookies. I bought them at Jo-Ann. The color pens are so much fun! It's easy to decorate and write on cookies.
I made apple pie instead of cake. Although the pie sheet is a store-bought one, I used a recipe from the Vegan Pie in the Sky for the filling. This pie paired with ice cream really well.

Each year, we buy an ornament that represents us for that year, although this year we actually picked two.
We chose this because our son loves his bath time :)
And this, hoping to make a grand trip to Japan in the near future.
I made this from our last year's Christmas tree. Husband cut the tree and dried it for a while. I wrote that this was Junior's first tree and attached a string using a glue gun. I saw this idea somewhere on the Internet and thought it was really a good way to remember a Christmas tree that had some meanings like first Christmas together, baby's first, kitty's first etc.
I hope you all have a wonderful year. See you in 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cards

I usually knit or crochet Christmas gifts but with limited time this year no hand-knitted/crocheted items were on my list. This is a bit of a disappointment but a huge relief at the same time. Last year I was panicked that I wouldn't be able to finish these dolls for my nieces!

I could, however, sneak in some time to make these cards.
This was sent for my parents. I love the "Christmas Greetings" stamp, which came from this set that was a freebie from the magazine Cardmaking & Papercraft.
I fell in love with these stamps, especially its vintage feelings. I pretty much bought this issue to get these stamps.

But on flipping through the magazine I found a few interesting layouts. One of them was this design that uses buttons as a Christmas wreath, which is the inspiration of this card for my in-laws.
Inside the wreath I used one of the postage stamps stamp from the set. Too bad I smudged it. Ooops. The original design was very simple with just the button wreath on a kraft card and I liked its simplicity. But mine looked a bit too simple, so I stamped those snowflakes in silver and placed those little gingerbread men on the bottom.

There was a snowman printed on a part of the patterned paper I used above, and I really wanted to incorporate him on one of the cards above. But I couldn't come up with a way to do that. So I just made a separate card featuring him.
Like the second card, I stamped a couple of snowflakes in silver, and placed a few pearly stickers. I think I could show the feeling of a snowy "let's make a snowman" kind of day with this card. This was sent to my brother-in-law and his lovely daughters.

Did you make or receive handmade Christmas cards?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WIP Wednesday #4

I've finished the body and am now onto the sleeve! yay. I've actually been fighting with the urge to cast on another project, which is this fun blanket. The weather might have been something to do with this urge. haha. But I'd better finish this baby kimono sweater first.

Although I made the body half an inch larger than the 18mo size, I've picked up the same number of stitches for the sleeve. I added two more rows at the beginning of the sleeve though.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Anniversary Card

November is a pretty busy month for us. Not only do we have Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season, we also have little guy's birthday and our anniversary, all within 1-2 weeks!

This year we celebrated our eighth year anniversary (and it's the 10th since we met. wow). Because we were going to go to the in-laws' for Thanksgiving we decided to have a special anniversary dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant in that area while my in-laws watched the little one. It indeed was a wonderful dinner and I'm thankful for my parents-in-law. I don't use non-family sitters so going out alone with hubby is really a rare occasion for us right now - not that I mind, I love going out with LO.

This is the card I made for hubby. I drew inspirations from two kinds of cards I saw in a book, one of which uses the "(how many) reasons why I love you theme (I think it was 23 or 25 or something in the original design. that's gotta be awesome!). But I also liked the window panel design I found in another card, so I combined the two.
Inside I printed out this quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery (who wrote the little prince).
We've been going through life's major changes in the past few years, which seem to continue into the next few, so I thought this quote sounds right for us. We are not where we thought we'd be but at least we're heading for the same direction together. Rather than getting frustrated about what we don't have or what we haven't achieved I remind ourselves that we should enjoy our life adventures together.
I hand-stamped each letter using these stamps. That was a bit tedious task but I love how this card came out. Hubby looked impressed too :) Since I didn't have numbers stamps I hand-wrote "8" but in retrospect I should've spelled out 8 and used the stamps as well. That would've made the sentiments look neater.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jr's first birthday

Our little guy turned one year old! I can't believe he's already one. Time indeed flies. I'm so blessed that he's been growing strong and healthy without major injuries or sickness. At his 12 month checkup he's 32 1/4 inches tall, which is at the top of the growth chart. wow! He's slim for his height but still weighs about the average for his age. well done little guy!

On his birthday, we had to head out to my in-laws' that was 4 hours away so we decided to have a little birthday lunch at home then another one at the in-laws'. We started off his birthday with blueberry pancakes with coconut cream (the above). These pancakes were made without egg but turned out to be pretty fluffy and delicious :)

And then we had pizza for lunch. I made shaped pizzas for the little guy using cookie cutters. I'm glad they turned out so cute! The pizzas were made thick and soft, more like bread, so he could enjoy it as well.

I've read elsewhere that it's fun to decorate baby's high chair because most photos will be taken while the baby is on it so I used the chevron patterned buntings in the photos to decorate his high chair.

These are called "issho mochi". It is a Japanese tradition to have baby carry these mochi on his back on his birthday. The unit for weight "issho" is a homophone of the word "one's whole life" in Japanese. It's kind of like a word play but, therefore, these mochi represent one's whole life. It's believed that if a baby can carry such heavy items (about 3 pounds), he'll grow strong and healthy for the rest of his life. Fun, huh?

How did our little guy do?
yay, he did it! :)

I love mixing up Japanese traditions into American lifestyles a little bit.

After a long drive to the in-laws' we were welcomed by this beautifully decorated room.
And lots of presents.
Thanks to my MIL, we really had a wonderful birthday for LO. He loved his first real cake (and his grammy's pumpkin pie on Thanksgivings)!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday #3

My Baby Sachiko Kimono Sweater is coming along!
I've finished the fronts. Hoping to make this a 24 months old size, I've cast on 52 stitches and decreased to 18 stitches at the shoulder. The total length is 11 1/2 inches. My gauge is 4 stitches per inch.
And I've started on the back. This photo represents the real colors better than the photo above. It's looking good :)