Just me, my guy, our cats, & the other 18 million people in the LA area...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Baby Boy Quilt

Not only did I make Christmas gifts for my own family & friends this year, but I made my first commissioned quilt!

A woman at work asked me to make a quilt for her baby grandson.

While not everything turned out like I wanted, I learned a lot (sewing skills & selling skills) & think the quilt turned out pretty cute.

I know kids will latch on to whatever they will latch on to, but I can't help but hope that this little boy will love the quilt for years to come. That hope is why I enjoy quilting.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Long Beach

Santa Katie's workshop was a busy place leading up to Christmas. Sadly, Santa Katie isn't nearly as skilled as the real good ol' St. Nick. Maybe it's his hundreds of years' experience...maybe it's his hundreds of elves...but somehow he manages to get all his gifts made & delivered on time. Not me!

Despite what I thought was an early start, & a bit of assistance from Elf Jacob, I still failed to finish & mail out all my gifts on time. One gift (or part of a gift...she also requested placemats) that did get to its recipient on time was a tree skirt for my sister & brother-in-law.

I've had the fabric for this project for months. It took me so long to decide on a pattern. I would make up my mind & start to lay everything out just to change my mind again & again & again. But I'm really happy with how it finally turned out.

One of my favorite little details is the snowflakes in the quilting. Thanks to my new sewing machine (the best Christmas gift from the best boyfriend) I have all these fun decorative stitches.

The fabric is super cute & this was one of my favorites.

And of course I had to get a picture of my tag on the finished project.

Karie got the tree skirt on Friday...barely in time! But it was under her tree for the big day & looked great!

Jacob & I spent Christmas day cooking (ham balls, vegetable casserole, party potatoes) & baking (pizzelles, sugar cookies). My mom safely made it to California (all by herself...I'm so proud) & we walked around Naples looking at the houses decorated for Christmas. Apparently the neighborhood theme was "Movies."

Mom has a bit of a thing for Snoopy.

This was the winner in my mind though! Talk about a Griswold house!

After we'd had our fill of Christmas lights we came home to have dinner & open presents. All in all, it was a wonderful, relaxing day.

I hope that you all had a Merry Christmas as well...full of family, friends, love, & laughter. We missed all of you terribly & wished you could have been here...because it's 70 here & most likely a lot colder where you are. :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

How To: Winning a White Elephant Gift Exchange

Deck the halls with boughs of holly...fa la la la la, la la la la.
'Tis the season to be jolly...fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don we now our gay apparel...also known as tacky Christmas sweaters.

It's that time of the year again...Tacky Christmas Sweater parties, fruit cake jokes, mistletoe hung in inappropriate places, & White Elephant gift exchanges.

Jacob & I have always considered ourselves a fairly skilled team when it comes to White Elephants parties. Somehow we always seem to walk away feeling satisfied with the gifts we have received: suggestively shaped cacti, old school Christmas CDs, a gingerbread house kit, a balloon architecture kit, etc. We didn't just get lucky to get those gifts though, no, we strategized. The keys to winning at a White Elephant party are teamwork, predicting the number of steals, showing no interest in the gift you want, and ultimately, the steal. Under normal rules, we are almost always able to end up with at least one gift we have our hearts set on. This year was a bit different though.

We attended two White Elephant parties. The first was for our job site. We had a wonderful dinner at The Grove followed by the customary 'select gift,'have gift stolen,' 'steal someone else's gift,' repeat. I walked away with a couple of DVDs (Dumb & Dumber and A Christmas Story) & a desk-size bean bag toss game (aka Washers). A few days earlier I had mentioned to Jacob that we should pick up a copy of A Christmas Story, so I was quite happy with my loot. Jacob came out the big winner: a 750 ml bottle of Crown. Teamwork people! Since technically I won the gift, I'm re-gifting it to him & it's wrapped under the tree now. You're welcome, Jacob.

The second party was a bit more challenging. Tiffany & her roommate, Alex, throw a Tacky Christmas Sweater/White Elephant gift exchange party every year. (How cute are we dressed in our matching turtle necks?) As we all settled into our seats, Alex started to tell us the rules. And wouldn't you know it, she changed them on us! Everyone knows the rules of a White Elephant gift exchange, right? No immediate steal-backs & only two steals per gift. Apparently I've taken for granted that those rules are not ones that everyone lives by. Apparently you can decide that you want no immediate steal-backs, that there is no limit on the number of times a gift is stolen (gasp), and that after a gift is stolen, the gift-less party goer can't steal another person's gift (the horror)!

Some great gifts (a 'Hunger Games' picnic bag & a 'Lord of the Rings' Pez dispenser set) & some awful gifts ('Paulie' on laser disk & awful cheap perfume) circulated through the group.While we REALLY REALLY wanted the Hunger Games picnic bag, we walked away with an Egyptian mummy night light, a frisbee promoting "The Room" (apparently one of the worst movies ever made), and a circus character waffle iron. (Can you tell that everyone else at the party works in the film industry?)

Maybe I should add another key component to winning a White Elephant: perspective. Um...my mom is visiting for Christmas & I'll plug in the nightlight so she doesn't get scared in the dark...so...score? Jacob & I love to play frisbee at the beach...so...score. And we had waffles for breakfast the morning after the party...SCORE! We win!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Movember has come & gone...

Some of you may fondly (or not so fondly) remember Jacob's "No Shave November" a couple of years ago. That was the first year we were dating so a lot of my family & friends first met him with that Abe Lincoln beard. Naively, I thought that after college, & now in the real world, he would stick with the well manicured beard that I love so much...oh boy was I wrong.

Our job site observes "Movember." This year, our co-workers showed their support through donations & growing mustaches. So this is what I lived with for an entire month...a creeper stache.

This picture was taken at the company's Christmas party. What are the odds that the year we move from Kansas to California, the company hosts a Western-themed Christmas party?

Jacob was well prepared already having the boots & jacket & obvious mustache. After borrowing a bolo from my grandpa, he was set. Thanks, Papa! I had a bit more difficulty getting into character but thankfully Tiffany let me borrow a shirt & a belt buckle so I could pull off the look.

We had a great time at the party! Jacob finally two-stepped with me. I was able to meet his co-workers from last summer & several peoples' spouses. And I met the mechanical bull! Sadly/Happily/Luckily there's no big story to tell...but I can now say that I've ridden a mechanical bull.

While the mustache worked for the party, don't worry, it was gone the next day. And now, a couple of weeks into December, I am happy to say that the beard is back!