Category Archives: family

Handmade Christmas

We just got back from having Christmas with my family in Virginia/Tennessee and as quick as you can say “Bob’s your uncle,” we’re about to be headed back out the door for Christmas in Ohio.

First, a few things about our first Christmas.

1. We had a White Christmas. A rare treat for me since I come from the land of “not much snow ever.”

2. I knit Christmas ornaments.

3. Handmade gifts were exchanged.

Knucks for Mom.

My brother's girlfriend made blankets for us.

Dad built birdhouses made from wood shelving from my grandparents' home.

4. I got a teeny tiny Turkish drop spindle from here that I couldn’t be happier with. Spiders will be envious of the tiny webs I spin.

5. I made this face. A lot.

6. The reason I made that face so much is not pictured here. It was the aproximately 20lbs of candy, cakes, and desserts made by Mom, Jana, and myself. I’m amazed we didn’t all die of sugar overdose. There were: peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge, chocolate covered cherries, coconut bars dipped in chocolate (and without chocolate), peanut butter rolls, cake balls, strawberry cake with fresh strawberries, these little individual chocolate cakes topped with a fresh strawberry, 30 day friendship cake, and on and on.

7. I got to be with my family for Christmas and that made it very Merry indeed.

And a Happy New Year

I’m on Christmas “vacation” until Tuesday. See you folks next week.

Have a very Merry Christmas. Stay warm. Stay safe. Hug somebody you love.

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has come around again for those of us in the States. Last year, in addition to the usual things I have to be thankful for, I gave thanks for the small things in my daily life. So while I am indeed thankful for my husband, for my family, friends, for my cats, I am also thankful for other things.

I am thankful for trees. Trees make me very happy.

I am thankful for surprise flowers. I planted these flowers in the summer of 09 and they came back this past summer. Surprise! Nature took care of my flower boxes for me.

I am thankful for Paperbackswap. They let me trade books I have for books I want. The only cost is shipping one of my books to someone else. What a beautiful, beautiful idea.

I am thankful for destashing and receiving beautiful items I might otherwise have never known about.

I am thankful that I live in a country that makes it possible for me to be so poor and yet to have so much. I am spending the next year using up as much of my craft supplies as possible. Do you know how astonishing that is in a world view?! So I am very thankful to be as rich as I am.

I am very thankful for my ETSY supporters. Their purchases ease the holiday burden for us. Because we may be rich by most of the world’s standards, but we are very poor by this country’s. Without your support, the holidays would be a much tougher time for us. Thank you.

And last, but most certainly not least, I am thankful for moments like these.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Enjoy your holiday.

Wood and Needle

Last week my sweet mama shipped me a huge box of destashed goodies from her house. The ginormous box included ribbon, paintbrushes, beads, embroidery thread, some costume jewelry from my mamaw, and one box of amazing, beautiful, gorgeous thread.

Beautiful, eh? A fiber artist’s dream. As far as I can tell, most of the bobbins are made by a company called Wood and Needle, Inc. Unfortunately, an internet search has revealed absolutely nothing to me about it. According to the vague instructions included in the box, this stuff is used for something called punch embroidery which lead me to this site.  Interesting isn’t it?

So far as I can tell, punch embroidery is used to create elaborate “thread paintings”. However, I don’t know what the advantage would be of doing punch embroidery over traditional embroidery. Is it faster? How does it create a more detailed scene? It’s still a little confusing.

Mostly all I know is that I’ve been given a box of absolutely gorgeous threads that I plan on showing off to everybody. Thanks Mom!


Justin and I are Uncle and Aunt to two girls and a boy. Every single one of them has a ridiculous amount of personality and is way smarter than I ever was at that age. They are beautiful and sweet and never fail at making Justin and I absolutely crack up.

For us, being an Aunt and Uncle looks something like this.

And this

And this

And most definitely, it looks like this.

The Butterfly Girl

Last year for my niece’s birthday, she had a Mario themed party. And, being the kind of person I am, I decided days before the party to make her a crochet Mario.

She liked it pretty well.

So this year when Mia decided she wanted a butterfly themed party for her 6th birthday, I knew exactly what to do. One of my favorite amigurumi designers just happens to have the perfect butterfly girl ami pattern. I purchased the pattern and put the doll together in just a couple days.

While Butterfly Girl is immensely easier than Mario was (a lot fewer small pieces to sew on), there were a few problems. For one, you’ll notice my butterfly girl has no hair. But it’s not for lack of trying. I spent about 3 hours total trying to put hair on this doll and used up nearly a full skein of embroidery thread. But the pattern, while well written, contains absolutely no help on how to put the hair on. Nor does it have information or instruction on putting the embroidery on the wings.

There was also not much instruction on how to put the wings together either. The wings are constructed in four pieces and the way they are crocheted is unique and, I feel, deserving of some explanation on the technique within the pattern.

Despite the setbacks and my issues with the clarity of the pattern, I think Mia really likes her. She was feeling pretty shy that day (sitting in front of a group of about 15 adults will do that) so believe me when I say she looks pretty happy here.

After most of the adults had left and it was just family there, Mia relaxed and opened up. I happened to see her dig around in her bag of birthday gifts until she found the doll and carried it around the rest of the evening. Then she came to me and asked, “Next year, Aunt Haley, could you make me a Tinkerbell?”

A challenge has been made.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Look at these two cats. Aren’t they adorable? And so well behaved too.

They’re just as sweet as they can be. Why, just look how they cuddle and love each other.

I bet you never saw two cats who were sweeter and lovlier than these two.

She’s just rubbing his face. Caressing really. It’s a family thing.



(Disclosure: All these were taken by someone else in the house who has better camera skills than me. I bet you can guess who.)

Belated Birthdays

Monday was the birthday for a couple folks I know.

My big brother turned 35. Seen here probably getting me into trouble or possibly just helping me stand. Chris is the best brother you could ask for. And he’s one of the funniest people I know. He’s able to do something that I completely fail at: tell a good story. As a bad segue, here’s a story from our family. When Mom and Dad told Chris he was getting a brother or sister soon, Chris said he wanted a sister because girls are nicer than boys or something to that effect. Having been a tiny embryo at the time, I didn’t hear it first-hand. Needless to say, he got what he wished for. Sort of. Turns out I was a girl! And also a big tomboy who wanted to be just like her big brother. So I pick and poked and prodded and tattled and was generally an annoying little sister. Sorry I ended up being a tomboy and picking on you constantly. But I think you rather enjoyed it.

Sharing a birthday with Chris is my dear friend Nadine. Seen here in her Dames for Dogs photo because I fail at getting her photo off my camera.

Nadine’s a pretty awesome person. She knits. She spins. She crochets. She blogs. She has a sweet ETSY shop where she sells unique WIP bags. She does pretty much whatever she dang well pleases.  And she made this for me for my birthday (photo shamelessly stolen from Nadine’s blog). So yeah, she pretty much rocks.

Happy Birthday folks! Sorry I’m lame and didn’t post this on the right day. WordPress is on thin ice with me right now.

The First Year with Guy

Sunday is our one year anniversary with Big Guy.

Shortly after our dear Biscuit died, we began looking for another cat. Not a replacement but a new friend. I wrote about his adoption story here.

During Guy’s first few months with us, we mistakenly thought that he didn’t have much personality. You have to understand. We had just lost our Biscuit. A cat so full of personality we didn’t know what to make of him sometimes. Then here comes this giant black & white cat who mostly sleeps and hides under the bed.

Over the course of the year his personality emerged.

We had to learn some lessons about this new cat. We tried to teach him the way things are in our home. He taught us a few things instead.

Guy is many things. He is lazy.

He loves his Izzy.

When he’s ready for attention, he wants it NOW!

He loves to cuddle.

He is the king of our neighborhood. When we first started letting him outside, he spent about 2 weeks beating up all the neighborhood cats and establishing his territory. The vet called him a fighter. His ears are covered in scars both old and new. He’s missing some of his bottom teeth (which causes a little problem with drooling when he’s really relaxed), and he’s missing a claw on one of his hind feet. Previously, I had imagined Guy’s personality being not unlike the Dude. Very laid back and relaxed. Now, however, I feel he is more akin to Andre the Giant. Large and in charge but still very sweet.

He loooooooooooves belly rubs.

And one time he ate a mouse then puked it back up practically whole. But at least he had the decency to do that on his food mat and not the carpet.

We thought we were getting a sweet but bland tuxedo cat and we got….well, we got Big Guy.

Belated Holiday Photos

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Here are some much belated photos from my birthday/4th of July weekend in Virginia.

I don’t look too shabby for 27.