Archive for 2007

Free gift to you (or someone else!)

Download and print these free notecards! (see below)

Okay, I know this post was supposed to fall on Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day will have to do. I’m working on a borrowed laptop (thank you, Andrew), because the operating system and software on our old laptop was more versions back than we thought. Oops.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all of you out there in blog land. It is snowing here in Colorado where I am visiting with my husband’s family for the holidays. My first white Christmas in a long time. It is warm and cozy in the house though, with a fire going in the wood stove. We went to Christmas mass this morning and sang many traditional songs, which was fun. Now we’re waiting for David’s brother Eric, and his wife, Liza, and son, Paolo, to arrive. Their United flight was cancelled because the crew “just didn’t show up.” Can you believe that? Luckily United placed them on a similar flight through Continental, even though they had to layover. What’s worse, when they arrived at the airport they found that their bag with all the Christmas gifts had gotten lost. Sad. But the important thing is that they arrived safetly and are on their way.

Today marks the final day of my free weekly holiday posts. Thanks to everyone who left nice comments. I am so glad to hear that each pdf was so well received. As a final gift, today’s free download-and-print pdf is for a set of 3 Little Bird Notecards. One each of “Thank You,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Hello.” These are notecards that can be used throughout the year, not just during the holidays. Also, for those of you who are scrambling to come up with a last minute stocking stuffer, these could be great! Just print out a couple sets on cardstock, trim and wrap with ribbon and you are all set!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Handmade for Myself

Terry Slippers

Here’s a gift I made for myself, with my mother-in-law’s help. I brought a photocopy of the “Le Bateau” terry slipper instructions from the book Simple Sewing with a French Twist, which I borrowed from the library before I came out here. These slippers are based upon that pattern. Sandy (my mother-in-law) just happened to have some old towels and cotton batting lying around with her sewing stuff, which worked perfectly.

This is such a great book, with so many updated and inspiring project. I also love the photography. I may have to add it to my sewing book collection (that currently consists of Lotta Jansdotter Simple Sewing, Bend-the-Rules Sewing, and Amy Butler’s In Stitches). So many great projects, so little time.

Arrival in Colorado

Deer in the snow

David and I arrived in Colorado a couple days ago, right during a snowstorm. Instead of the normal 1-hour drive from Denver, it took almost three hours to get to David’s parents house up in the mountains – partially due to traffic and icy conditions and partially because we got stuck on a hill near their house and had to backtrack another way to avoid all the stuck cars. It was quite a little adventure. But in the end we made it safely.

It has been ages since I’ve enjoyed a “white” Christmas. Besides the snow already on the ground, it’s supposed to snow on Christmas day. Finally an opportunity to post true winter pictures. Yesterday I was especially lucky to take the above shot of a buck walking right across the lawn! Isn’t he beautiful?

snow bench

Snowglobes on the mantel

Just Arrived

Looky here! My very first PIF craft exchange arrival from Denise at Marleymor! Organic chocolates, meditative teas, a darling decorative tile with button magnet (inside the red tissue with raffia. I took the picture before I opened it because it was so pretty) and a sweet pair of rose blush colored earrings! Thanks so much Denise. I can see why everyone gets so excited for these little goodies in the mail. They’re so fun and full of surprises!

A Little Las Vegas

An interesting portrait of us through the mirrored top of a casino escalator, taken by David.

I mentioned in the previous post that David and I spent the weekend in Las Vegas (and one day in Death Valley). It was my third time. We stayed at the MGM Grand, a definite step up from Circus Circus and Bally’s where I stayed the first two times.

Betting money for a chance to win more money just does not appeal to me. However, I do like Vegas for its eye candy and especially the shows. My favorite show of all time is “O” at the Bellagio, which I saw with my Mom the last time I was there. This time, David and I were lucky to snag a last minute cancellation to see Cirque du Soleil’s “KA” on Friday night. On Saturday night we had already purchased tickets to see Bjork at the Palms to celebrate David’s birthday. Although she is not one of my personal favorites, I really respect her music and had a great time at the concert. Did I mention she spent the whole time on stage barefoot?

My other favorite show is watching the Fountains in front of the Bellagio (free!). They are just magnificent. I could watch them for hours. I love the spray and the sounds as they dance their choreography to the music. As a special birthday treat from David’s parents, we also got to enjoy Bellagio’s delicious gourmet buffet. I’ve never seen such a large and appealing array of foods – things like beef wellington, osso bucco, leek spatzle, champagne pasta, seafoods I’ve never heard of, cheeses, fruits… and the desserts! Beautiful creations that were a feast for the eyes as well as the palette. If only I had four stomachs!

Of all the casino games, my favorite is Craps. I’ve played it before, knowing just the barest essentials, but we were lucky to stumble upon a lesson at New York, New York. The only bummer is that most crap tables are $10 minimums, with some $5 every now and then. However, on our last day, we passed Casino Royale, a smaller, somewhat rougher casino on the strip with more of a locals feel. They had $3 crap tables, so we stopped in and I took my chances. I wish I could say I won big, but I didn’t. However, my small bets got me over an hour of fun (plus free rum and Cokes for David) and for the first time I really felt like I was getting a true Las Vegas experience. Meanwhile, David doubled his money playing the slots, so we both left happy.

Taken from outside the Bellagio, looking toward Planet Hollywood.

Tempting desserts seem to be everywhere.

An interior display at the Wynn, where I’d stay if I were rich.

An outside shot of the gondolas in front of the Venetian.

A Day in Death Valley

This past Sunday was David’s birthday. We spent the weekend in Las Vegas and on Sunday we rented a car and drove to Death Valley National Park, a little over 2 hours away. Unfortunately we had a bit of a late start, and didn’t cover as much ground as I had hoped. We’ll have to come back because I was a little bummed to miss Scotty’s Castle and other sections of the park. We did however stop at the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center and proceed to the areas nearby – Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course, Artist’s Drive, Golden Canyon, Zabriskie Point and a final drive through the Twenty Mule Team Canyon.

It was so nice to get out of the city and enjoy a day away. Our rental was a Jeep Liberty and although it was loud and somewhat of a gas guzzler, it was a nice ride. We had planned to do some of the off road 4×4 trails, but it was getting too dark by the time we were finished with the main attractions. Here are some more pics of the park…

More Death Valley pics can be found here on Flickr.

Free Holiday Cheer Board Game

Holiday Cheer Game

Holiday Cheer Board Game – download free pdf here

A couple of weeks ago while I was shopping at Michael’s I made several spur of the moment holiday purchases, including 2 foamy-style rubber-stamp blocks and 3 packages of epoxy stickers. I have no idea what made me pick these items up because I don’t stamp, or use stickers (much). There was just something pretty and tactile about them that made reach out and place them on the check stand. (Actually, I was just going to buy one stamp, but it didn’t have a sku tag, so the checkout girl asked if I could grab another. Then I heard myself saying “I’ll just take that one, too”). Thank goodness they didn’t cost much!

So I’ve had these foamy stamp blocks on my desk for a while now. David asked me why I bought them and I guiltily mumbled something about probably returning them, or using them for… something. Later, I found myself tossing one around and noticing how it bounced merrily before settling. Then I thought Eureka! I could design a holiday game for my nephew with it! (Okay, so I didn’t say Eureka!, but that word perfectly described how I felt. As in: Whew! If I can make something useful/fun, then I can be excused for making an impulse buy. After all, it must have been fate at work that day, right?).

This picture is misleading. These are the two stamps I bought, but only one is used for the game.

How to Play: Here was my thought process. The foamy stamp block would work like a die that you roll (there is a snowman side, a snowflake side, a kid’s face, the words “Let it Snow,” and two blank sides). Whatever lands face up is the icon that you’d move your game piece forward to on the board. Sounds pretty easy right? The only kicker is that when you roll a blank side you lose that turn and don’t get to move forward. I designed the whole game board with this idea in mind.

I should mention here that I don’t know anything about three and a half year old boys, or any kids at all for that matter (although two of my good friends are now expecting!). Paolo, our nephew, lives in Austin and we rarely see him. I could be totally wrong about skills at that age or his interest in something like this. However, the other night when I explained this game to Marcy, she said it sounded like Candyland, which I looked up and is rated for ages 3+, which is perfect.

To make a long story short, you can download my Holiday Cheer Game here. It’s pretty large, with a full size of 17 x 22″ so it has to be printed out (or tiled) in four sections if you’re printing it out on regular letter-sized paper, like I did. Then I pasted the sheets to a larger piece of thin cardstock for durability/foldability.

Playing Cards: Unless you happen to find the same stamp block at Michael’s, the best way to play is to print out a second set of pages and cut out the squares from the game board to use as cards. Instead of rolling a die, you would set the stack of “cards” face down and each player would draw a card and then move his or her game piece forward to the nearest icon indicated. You would also have to cut out some “blank” cards to use as “lose a turn.”

Holiday Cheer Game

These are the simple plastic playing pieces I made . I would have preferred something more 3D, but they seem to work okay.

Game Pieces: I made game pieces out of Shrinky Dinks plastic (I am having such fun with that stuff!), but any small objects will do. Playing pieces from another game, a set of erasers, coins, bottle caps or anything that will fit on the squares should work.

Advanced Play: Depending on the level of the players, you can make the game harder by adding additional rules. For example, instead of two players sharing a square, maybe the original player gets kicked off his space and moved backward to the nearest same icon. Or maybe he moves all the way back to start! It’s up to you.

Have fun!

Free Holiday Gift Tags

Free Holiday Gift Tags

Sorry, this post has moved. Download the gift tags here.

Free Download & Print Holiday Giftwrap

Free Download & Print Gift Wrap

Isn’t giftwrap fun? All the colors and patterns. I love how it looks so festive and promising. I especially enjoy the process of wrapping. If I had a dream house, I’d have a gift wrapping station complete with ribbon organizer. However, in our small house, we have to be more economical and limit ourselves to only a few rolls (not including the enormous one that a friend gave us, that will literally last our entire lifetime). Also, one major perk of being a graphic designer is that printers always give away free sheets of wrap around the holidays. I love that.

This week, I’m providing the two printable designs shown above – Giftwrap 1 – sapphire snowflakes on chocolate and Giftwrap 2 – tiny blue-grey snowflakes. The files measure 11×17″, but will work on letter size sheets. They can also be overlapped (or “tiled”) to create a larger sheet.

Tip: The most useful giftwrap-related item we have is a jumbo roll of white curling ribbon. It sounds pretty simple, but it never fails to look good and work for every single occasion.

See the upper-right sidebar for links to the previously posted goodies.

snowflake giftwrap

snowflake giftwrap

Look what I got!

sewing machine

This week I was shocked to receive a very large, very heavy UPS delivery that contained this BRAND NEW SEWING MACHINE! Turns out it was an early Christmas gift from my in-laws!!! In all fairness they did warn me a “package” was coming and sent me the tracking number, but still! After my initial astonishment I bounced around the house like a crazy person, clapping my hands like a gleeful little girl just presented with her first pony. Luckily my husband had the presence of mind to suggest I call and thank them right away.

I’ve had it now for a few days and I still shake my head in wonder when I see it. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have not used it yet. Part of the reason is that the two craft projects I’ve been working on the past few days required only hand-stitching. The other part is because I’m a little scared of it. I started reading the manual the day I got it, so I kind of get it. How fun will it be to have all those cool stitches and fancy feet available? Later today I’m going to tackle the next small sewing project on my list, so we’ll see how it goes. It’s bound to be easier than sewing with the old Sears Roebuck and Co. Kenmore that I’ve been using! :-)

Thanksgiving Weekend 2007

Lone Autumn Apple

Okay, this post is way overdue, but I thought I’d write it anyway. David and I spent a lovely few days at Kevin and Jerry’s farm down near Roseburg (about three hours south) with our friends Alex and Marcy. Every day was just so perfect. peaceful. happy. delicious. It is such a wonderful place, inviting home, warm atmosphere, beauty out of every window, new things to find and see and do – like collect hazelnuts from the tree in the yard, admire the chickens, watch the dogs (Barkley, Mia, Suki and Booker) play and have fun. It was just what I needed. Some time to get away from my desk. To play games and eat good food and give thanks. And I am so very thankful.

farmhouse

thanksgiving dinner

wildflowers

Trees in sunlight

Tokatee Falls

Free Holiday Greeting Card

holiday card

free holiday greeting card

The free offering for this week – a Happy Holidays greeting card. Made of simple shapes and modern colors, it’s just in time to beat the holiday mail rush. Just download, print, fold and trim!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am planning to provide a free download each Sunday Monday from now until Christmas. It’s my way of saying thanks and giving a little back into the blogosphere this holiday. All offerings so far are listed in the upper right of this page. Feel free to check back next week!



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