Tuesday, December 29, 2009


What I think is the coolest crafty thing I've found in a loooong time...
t-yarn, made from recycled t-shirts.
I think this granny-style hotpad/trivet is just perfect.
It's cute, practical, and useful, too.
I get so excited about things like this.
So, I've added thrifting on my To-Do list for tomorrow in hopes
of finding some seamless tees for lots of yarn-making in the new year.

Check out My Recycled Bags.com for lots of fun tutorials and patterns.

Monday, December 28, 2009

We're Back...

It was the most perfect Christmas; one filled with family, friends, and a lot of love.
My Beautiful Holiday Memories...
-The cozy, dimly lit rooms of Grandma and Grandpa's house in the evening
-Sharing a bed with Cub in my old room.
-My brother's face when he walked into his party and we all yelled, "Surprise!"
-The crisp, chilly, nights walking up the driveway with Cub, hand in hand.
-Sitting up late crocheting a beret for myself...My grandmother telling me,
"I will stay up with you until you finish. This way, you will always
think of me when you wear it..."
-My Grandmother giving each of her grandchildren and great-grandchild something
special that belonged to her this Christmas.
-The beautiful music my brother played for our family all Christmas day.
-Cub's new silver dress with the big bow in the back.
-A meaningful visit with a special someone...
I am feeling renewed and very blessed after a wonderful holiday spent in Long Island. Now, it's time to rest-up and reflect on the days ahead...And get back to crafting!
Can't wait to make these.

Friday, December 25, 2009

In the Wee Hours...

...the VERY last present was finished and wrapped.

And just a few hours later...The biggest blessing I was ever given-
I get to spend Christmas morning with my angel.
What could be better than witnessing her pure joy when she opened the gifts under the tree?
I feel like the luckiest woman alive.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a
Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
God bless you all. xo
May your day be filled with peace and joy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All The Rage...

Salted Caramels.
According to a zillion sources they are the "it" candy of 2009.
Yes, I'm jumping on the bandwagon because they look so good and any sweet/salty
combo is BIG in my book.

This mouth-watering photo and the recipe I'll be using for these babies tomorrow can be found right over here.
But they are seriously everywhere. Although the recipe looks fairly simple, I heard they are a bit tricky. Wish me luck.
This will be my Christmas Eve challenge, along with the Gingerbread Men we bake each year for Santa.
Hope everyone is enjoying the excitement.
I know we are!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cuckoo For Cowls...

Now that I'm truly in the homestretch of my holiday gift-making- I'm setting-up some projects for that delicious 11-day vacation I will be sailing into shortly!
You think the Yorkshire Cowl would have satisfied my craving for a cowl? Nope!
Look at this cutie I found tonight. So excited. I'm loving the twisty look, too.
I've been on the search for the perfect beret and I think I finally found one I like.
I'm thinking Winter White for this.

...Just thought I'd share and keep it all in one place!
Can you tell I've been obsessed lately?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Twinkle In The Snow

The beautiful snowfall inspired me to make these ornaments last night. I have been eyeing all of the yummy tutorials. But I think this one is nicest for the holidays.
It had been a loooong day and I couldn't bring myself to work on any of the other WIPs I need to finish before Friday. So, a couple of loved ones will receive one of these. I wish I would have made a bunch sooner. They would look so lovely tied to presents.

A lengthy phone conversation with a favorite person afforded me enough time to finally make myself a Yorkshire Cowl. Yipee!!! I wore it out yesterday and was asked where I bought it twice. Hee, hee!
I love this cowl.
Want one in all those yummy colors.
So easy to make and so warm and snuggly.
A special girl in our lives will receive one of these in the color of her choice, too!
I'm so overtired, it's not funny. But I'm having a blast with it all.
Later on, I'll get to relax at the 5:45 showing of Princess and the Frog.
Happy Sunday to you!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lil' Booties!

After crocheting many, many, gifts this season, these by far were the most fun for me!
They whip-up fast and are just so cute. We couldn't wait to see what they will look like on Winter Baby when she arrives. For now, Baby Jenny and Mia have warm tootsies...but only for six more days!

I'm thankful for the snow, which is already coming down.
It will force me to stay in without feeling guilty. This way, I can work on finishing the last of my gifts and baking oatmeal cookies.
Caramel-making will have to be put on hold.
I forgot the wax paper.
I'm blaming it on what I now call, Elf Brain!

Happy Days, All!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thrifty Holiday Fun

One of the best things about going to make a donation at our local Salvation Army is running through the store afterwards looking for treasures. Tonight, we did pretty well: a lovely vintage white cotton dress for my girl, a vintage puffy-shouldered jacket that ties at the waist for moi, and these two adorable holiday finds...

A Little Luvkin votive candle holder, circa 1978. I actually remember these!
Who can resist a puckering Santa? He's so sweet.
And because you never know what you're going to pull out of a deep cardboard box filled with random Christmas-y stuff....
Looky, looky!
This is just perfect considering I've dubbed this a "very crocheted Christmas!"

I've made what feels like a gazillion scarves,wrist-warmers, potholders, washcloths, etc. Actually, not that many...but it's all pretty time consuming, so it feels that way!

Hope you're having fun preparing for the holidays and/or enjoying the present one.
Blessings and happiness to you all!
These are sweet days, aren't they?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pretty Little Trees!

Last year, I used this recipe. It was absolutely delicious and right on par with Williams Sonoma, as Soule Mama suggested. Wow! It went pretty quickly at the family gatherings, too. But I do remember it being fairly labor intensive and a bit messy with all the melting. This one looks a lot easier. However, they will have to be made at Grandma's, as we don't own a microwave. And I'll use Nestle white chocolate chips. This will make the perfect little gift, wrapped in little cello-bags and lots of ribbon.

Thanks to Dollar Store Crafts for all of the beautifully frugal holiday ideas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Embracing Reality

I found this beautiful image tonight and then I found this:
"I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health.
There is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are the nature to change.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand."
:From, The Plum Village Chanting, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Simple Fleece Scarf

I guess my body is not used to all the rest it had yesterday, so I was up until 2:30am working on my handmade Christmas list. Finally, one of the few presents I'm making that is not crocheted. Yay! I found this over at Make It and Love It. It was a lot of fun to make and really does involve "minimal sewing," which was good for me so late at night.
We both love it.

But it is a gift for one of her cousins.

It looks so cute on her though, there may be time for one more before the big day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Just Have To Share The Goodness

When we were growing-up, my grandma had the best vintage snow village I've ever seen. Over the years, and after all the grandkids handling 'em, they began to fall apart. Sadly, I think I only have one of two saved...broken and all.
When I saw Alicia's snow village, I became so nostalgic. She has the most beautiful mantle and the photos of her village bring me so much joy.
I'm tempted to begin collecting houses and churches, but we really don't have the room to store them, they are so fragile, too...and well, there are just other things to focus on.
We'll just add that to the "To Do" list when we have our own house with a fireplace, someday.

( Photo courtesy of Alicia Paulsen.)

In the meantime, I found this awesome Cereal Box Tutorial posted by Bella Dia, one of my favorites. We have a never-ending supply of cereal boxes around here because in my opinion, they are a MUST HAVE for so many reasons...from gift-boxes and bags to journals, bookmarks and photo-albums...The possibilities are endless. I've already begun cutting ours out. I plan to paint them in those wonderful vintage Christmas candy colors and then sprinkle with glass glitter. Hopefully, I'll be sharing these soon.

(Photo by Bella Dia)

Healing and Still Joyful...

Thanks to my dear family and close friends, I made it through the surgery yesterday.

Painful, yes- but not unbearable. I think I had the best sleep ever on that table. I remember being cranky when the anesthesiologist woke me up from a lovely dream yelling, "Your done! Who's your favorite writer?!" Ugh..."I actually wracked my fuzzy brain and blurted out, "Shakespeare!" And then there were more questions about writers. Whaaaaa! I wanted to go back to sleep!

Thanks to our Loves, I came home to a refrigerator stocked with food for the next month (seriously), a delicious dinner followed by homemade Rice Krispie treats for dessert, and a sleepover with one of our favorite people.

Cub woke me up bright and early today and I'm a bit sore...but thought I'd drop in, say hello, and thank you for all the thoughts and prayers. Hopefully, this will be the last of my surgical episodes. Keep the good vibes headed this way!

This morning I discovered that Brooklyn's wonderful BAM is celebrating 40 years of Sesame Street next weekend with a fun film festival. There were so many to choose from, but we finally decided on, "A Special Sesame Street Christmas" in keeping with the holiday spirit. Kristin and Kat, how I wish you and your girls could join us.

Peace and Blessings, Everyone.
Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


With the help of some dear friends, our tree is now standing proudly in my favorite spot of the apartment. We are so happy to see our artificial "Charlie Brown" tree and all the ornaments that are each so special in their own way. My girl was in her glory, singing, dancing, and decorating the entire tree. Our modest tree is now adorable. I am so happy to know my girl has inherited the "Ecstatic for Christmas" genes of her Great-Grandma (and Mama's) family. She is into is with her entire heart and soul and it is beautiful. I am so blessed to be able to spend these sweet days with my dear child. God is good!
And although I've been under the weather and am preparing for surgery tomorrow--I won't let anything keep me from my Christmas-elf crafting. This year, we are on a bit of a budget-so this is my gift for extended family and friends. My new favorite washcloth (crochet pattern here). It's so pretty and delicate with its ruffled edging. Each one will be wrapped around a bar of our favorite Ayurvedic soap and wrapped with pretty ribbon.
I just hope they can all dig the "hippiness!"
This year, I am only purchasing a handful of gifts. Everything else has been made with my two hands. It gives me the upmost joy to be able to make something for a loved one; knowing they will wear or use something I made especially for them.
Nothing too extravagant, but made with love just the same.

PS: Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers the next few days. I'm not great with hospitals and things like that. Thanks, Sweet Friends. xo

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Me & She: What We've Been Up To

If all goes as planned, it will be a very simple and almost totally handmade holiday. Of course, there are always the unforseen circumstances that will not allow this single mama to crochet and craft every night from now until Christmas! But I'm hoping for the best.
This weekend, I stocked-up on some lovely yarn that will be turned mostly into scarves and wrist-warmers for family and friends. That seems to be my theme this year.
I am loving the look of this Homespun yarn by Lion brand, even if it is a bit fussy to work with. I think my friend is going to like her new skinny scarf. I'm finishing it up with some brown fun-fur yarn, too...Very "her."

Here are my first pair of wrist-warmers. I found this super easy pattern, but it took a little longer than I wanted to spend. Luckily, I found a shorter version. These look cute cuffed at the end, if you don't want to wear them long. Almost all the girlies I'm crocheting these for are getting them in black, which I think is a good choice. I will also use a smaller hook and some softer yarn. Cub says I look like I have "monster hands" when I wear these. But of course, she wants her own pair, "in pink and purple." Thankfully, she still has small hands. They should be fun to make, anyway.
She has been very busy caring for her "new" pets. I'm astounded at how much time she takes caring for these two. Baths, dinner, toys, bones, bedtime stories, the works.
I have always been touched by how she loves and cares for all her beloved dollies and stuffed friends. How I wish I wasn't allergic so she could have a real pet of her own!
Maybe a fish isn't such a bad idea after all. I wish I wasn't so creeped out by them.

...And this proud mama just had to share what I woke-up to the other morning. Cub playing school with her friends and name-tagged them, too. I think phonetically, she did really well!
Meet: Peanut Butter, Wally, and Sophia!

Hope everyone is happy, healthy, and peaceful.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finally Inspired!

Well, I am finally emerging feeling stronger and more content than I have in a long time.
It's nice to feel inspired, too. First and foremost, I have my beautiful crafty-genius friend Jenn to thank. She has provided the necessary spark I needed to begin thinking about holiday crafting. Until she mentioned it, it wasn't even a blip on my radar. As always, her enthusiasm and overall attitude toward life and art are contagious...and so I crocheted a scarf and a simple pair of wrist warmers this weekend. I even started a hexagon afghan for my Cub, who put in her request immediately after seeing the one I completed for her future cousin.
Now, ideas seem to be sprouting up everywhere. This is one I particularly love and I am in love with the idea of pendants made with spoons and power tools. Awesome.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Yes, it has been over two months since my last post here. What can I say?
"Life" did get in the way and I guess I needed to give myself some breaks.
My energies were needed elsewhere, I suppose.
Anyway, I'm back for now. I thought I would share the progress I've been making on my very first afghan blanket. This hexagon pattern has been very therapeutic and meditative.
Now that I have the hang of it, I've been able to relax and enjoy it. I need 42 hexagons in total and I think I'm up to 27...not bad! This is for my daughter's first cousin, a baby girl who will arrive in December.
Just a little list of things I am thankful for:
My little Cub who keeps me going every day with her love and hugs.
The support of good friends, everywhere. Thanks for not giving up on me!
The changing of the seasons, finally. Goodbye, Summer- you were a tough one this year.
My challenging and wonderful job. My sweet co-workers and students, too!
A renewed sense of what is really important in my life.
This time, I will try not to forget, Universe. I promise!
Simple moments of peace and joy.
The books and music that are inspiring and healing my soul.
Love and blessings to you all. I have missed this little place.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Beautiful Day in NYC

On Sunday we spent the most exciting and joyful day in Manhattan- more specifically on the west side along the Hudson river, my old "stomping grounds." For ten years I worked in a high school located on w19th and 9th Ave...Not always as glamorous as it is now, The Meatpacking District is known for its high-end designer boutiques, trendy restaurants, bars, and hotels... I still appreciate its urban beauty, both old and new.
The High Line park is so pretty and surreal. Have you heard about it yet? You can read more about it here. How cool is a park on top of old elevated train tracks? Very.

Check out this restaurant underneath the tracks? Tres chic, no?
I see myself there someday sharing a drink with a new love...

Creepy, beautiful wall on W22 St.
Me and my girl took lots of portraits together using this as a backdrop.

Still love my graffiti. Love the drip on this one.

We have been surrounded by so much love and support from family and friends the past few weeks. It has been wonderful. I feel truly blessed.
as we were leaving, this jumped out at me.
So hopeful and appropriate.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sewing for Her

One of the things on top of my summer to-do list was to begin making clothes for me and my girl. I've already upcycled a bunch of old t-shirts into cardigans, necklaces, and shrugs (soon to share) for myself...and the undies are going to happen before season's end! But today I am feeling especially satisfied after making these comfey bandana pants for Cub. (They couldn't have been any easier, either.) She put them on immediately and has already requested a pair in red.
No problem, my Sweetie.

Luckily, our local dollar store carries a whole rainbow of colors.

Cute, cozy, practical, and quite affordable.
Next on deck is the popular pillowcase dress.
It's going to be one of the handmade gifts I give her for her 5th birthday next week. The other is a set of handmade pillowcases. She picked out the fabric last night and I went back to get it today. I'm so excited!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Her Many Faces

My little one often comes up with some excellent craft ideas for herself.
This morning, she made some masks, "for Halloween." I didn't bother to tell her we have a while to go until then. I sat back and watched as she drew out each emotion with marker on paper. I think she did pretty well: Sad, Shy, Angry, Happy, and Worried.

This is how we're feeling today.

The only mask Mama would to see added to the collection is "Sleepy."

Sunday, August 2, 2009


The steady downpour of rain earlier today left me in that "I hate my hair!" mood.
I suppose it's not that unusual considering I've been letting my gray grow out these past months. Actually, that hasn't been bothering me as much as I thought it would.
What's more troubling is I've been losing A LOT of hair. My thick ponytails have been feeling thinner and thinner. I hate to be vain about it, but I have always had thick hair. Could it really be my age that's causing all this thinning? This hasn't really happened to any of the friends I have in my age group. Hmmm...
Anyway, a short bob seemed like the right thing to do today...
for the both of us!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cuckoo For Crochet Flowers

We are in full summer enjoyment mode here. Schedules have been long tossed aside.
Most of our days are spent sleeping late, lazing around for a bit enjoying our home, and then off for some outdoor fun...usually a beach and/or park, then shared meals with friends and family. Late evening, we are the best kind of tired...beat from the air and activity.
I am still enjoying my late-night crocheting projects, which have recently been of the flowery-theme.
This necklace is lovely and was quite easy to do as well. I was playing around and grabbed whatever stiff yarn I had on hand. Also, I used a different flower pattern.
Next version will be black with flowers of the eighties-style neon variety.

I have always been smitten with rosettes-especially when it comes to embellishment-cakes, clothing, textiles, whatever. I've been having a lot of fun with these cuties lately.
Yes, there have been lots of little pins, necklaces, and hair clips around here, too!

Hope you are enjoying these beautiful summer days. Tonight, while enjoying a lazy popcorn dinner, I made travel plans for three long weekends this month. The hotels and campsites are reserved, so it is now official...We're hittin' the road and I can't wait!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Every bottle of dishwashing liquid needs an apron.

And growing out my gray is requiring even more hair accessories!

I'm enjoying quiet, late summer nights just sitting back with my crochet.
This past week, I've been choosing projects that can be completed in one session.
So far, so good. Last night, one just wasn't enough, so I went for a new dishtowel, too.
Luckily, Cub has been sleeping until 9am every morning!
Yes, we're loving summer-living.
In related news, I'm taking my love of this craft to the next level.
I've joined a local crochet group!

PS: If your name is JOYCE...Yes, it's me! Please leave me your email so I can contact you!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not So Lazy Summer Days

Now that the hoopla of Cub's first play has ended, we're indulging in some summer fun.

Of course, there has to be some crochet.
I'm loving the way she luuuuvs her new purse!

I'm still having fun upcycling t-shirts in a million ways...this time, a necklace!

Gettin' ready for some serious TtV photography.
Meet the latest addition to our family!

Hope you are keeping it cool and crafty!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


My child's first (almost) handmade costume!
Yes, I'm one excited Mama.
The show, High School Musical ("One") will be performed tomorrow and Saturday night at a local theater. My girl is floating on air.
For the past three weeks, she has been attending a children's theater company summer program. She has loved every minute of it. There have been many hours spent learning songs and choreography. She has worked hard, enjoying it all...especially working with such a large group of kids, who range from age 5 (she is the youngest!) through 16.
I'm very proud of her.

As you may remember, I became instantly inspired after seeing and falling in love with this dress earlier in the week. Such a great idea for little girls, who seem to just love fluff and ruffle.
I told you my Cub would have one of those dresses soon.
I had no idea what I was doing, I just did it, if that makes any sense.
I did stay awake until 3am on two evenings working on it.
You know how it can be when you get busy with something you love and just can't put it down.
I made a ton of mistakes along the way that had me at times, both laughing and crying.
In spite of the sleep deprivation, it was a wonderful learning experience and confidence builder.
Did I mention I now have three sewing WIP's waiting to be put together on my ironing board?!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sweet & Simple

Turns out the crochet book I purchased at Michael's a while back has been worth every penny.
It's fun and adorable and the projects are super cute and do-able. It has that little touch of 70's crochet-kitsch that I find so appealing, too!
Yesterday, while Cub and her cuz were in rehearsal, I sat and made some lovely daisies- a pattern from the book. These make me happy and the possibilites are endless. Not to mention all the potential color-combos make me dizzy with joy!
Potential: Hair clips, appliques, bookmarks, and all sorts of embellishments, really.
I turned these two into hairclips for the girls. I hand-sewed one of those metal snap-clips (you can find in most craft stores) on to the back of the flowers. Done.

Miss Fly-Away Hair loved hers and wore it for about an hour...which is a lot for my girl!

If anyone is interested in this pattern, I will gladly pass on the sweetness!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


With my two favorite girls...

The crowd made it difficult to see the Can-Can dancers...but they walked right passed us on their way off stage. Unfortunately, I was digging through my bag for something and missed the shot. Poo.

The highlight of my day, believe it or not. I am a macaron freak! They are absolutely impossible to find on Staten Island...in spite of three french bakeries and one gourmet cafe/bakery/restaurant. Shame on all of them, really!
Besides the dancers, this was the other (REAL) reason we came to the festival. They were selling straight from being Fed Ex-ed from France! Wow. The line was insane. There were so many cool varieties it was so difficult to choose: Green tea, Vanilla Bourbon, Creme Brulee, Figue, Pastachio, Dark Chocolate, Caramel, Violette, Lime, Rose...and many others.
I wanted to try one of each...but their inflated price tag made that impossible...almost $2.00 per cookie. My sweetest friend treated me to a half dozen and I felt spoiled beyond belief.
I think Cub is now hooked on 'em, too. Uh-oh.

Thought I'd show off one of my new "no-sew" cardigans. Already received two compliments today. Hee, hee. I love being able to say, "I made it," even though it's kinda cheating with the no-sewing and all. I bought all the material to make my daughter's costume for her performance this weekend. Instead of sewing it at 2am, I was making shrugs and necklaces out of t-shirts.
I'm addicted.

I'm afraid to say it...the t-shirt panties may be on their way.
But this girl does not show her undies...not even on the hanger!
Hope you are having fun during these blessed days, as well!