Monday, November 28, 2011

making christmas. week 2.

hello friends...

not too much to share about week 2. we had a really great thanksgiving break at home with just the three of us. joey has a few big work weeks before christmas so we made sure to get in lots of fun daddy time and relaxation.
i did a little crafting and a lot of work on this...

i've been working on this cardigan for way too long. embarrassingly too long. i'm so ready for it to be done but frankly, i'm bored. i hate 40 inches of the same thing. ugh. i'm not a marathon knitter. if you were hoping to receive a beautifully knit & cabled sweater from me one year, think again.

we got our tree up and our 12 11 ornaments. santa met with a fatal catastrophe two years ago when we got a real tree... a catastrophe caused by a dog of course. i need to replace him very soon... i love our old world christmas newlywed set and i do not like the empty space in the set's box. (p.s. i LOVE my tree skirt, it was purchased from anthropologie a few years back and has a matching stocking. purchased on extreme discount i might add!)

so, what's on the agenda for this week?

finish decorating!
stocking & restyle diy's
a little nyc holiday market shopping
a trip to see the rockefeller christmas tree!

can you believe it's still in the mid-50s and 60s in nyc? there has been some rain today and a little more called for tomorrow but by thursday it will be all clear again so i'm hoping to enjoy some time in the city with little miss so we can enjoy these warm days while we can!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

making christmas: ornament wreath diy

hello again...

i'm back with part 2 of today's 'making christmas' diy!

for wreath #2 i wanted to make an ornament holder for a set of disney princess ornaments that little miss got for christmas last year. they are pretty heavy so i feel confident that you can recreate this without fearing for the lives of the ornaments you decide to showcase.

wreath form
5/8" cup hooks (hardware)
ruler & pencil
glue (tacky or liquid nails)

let the glue dry overnight before crocheting the wreath or hanging any ornaments... preferably 24hrs but i totally could wait that long! then crochet the wreath as normal... simple statement wreath pattern by Good Knits! i used 1 skein of Lion Brand's Hometown USA in Monterey Lime.

when you get to each hook cover the hook base by crocheting around the hook. if you are following the pattern step 4 would be on the right side of the hook and step 5 is pulled through on the left side of the hook.

i started this wreath with an additional hook in the back to secure a ribbon for hanging but because of the weight of the princesses pulling it forward i decided to scrap that idea and just hang it directly on the hook on little miss's door.

if you have any questions let me know! please feel free to share wreaths that you've been working on or any crafting you've been doing this weekend to get your home ready for the holidays!

back tomorrow with this weeks review and plans for 'making christmas week 3'!


making christmas: simple statement wreath

good morning!

who's excited to be getting into all of the christmas decorating? i know i am!

i'm very happy to be sharing my first 'making christmas' diys, and today it's all about this beautiful crocheted wreath pattern from Good Knits. if you are a knitter or crocheter the Good Knits blog is a must-read, must-follow! Lisa has so many great patterns available (for free!) and the items in her etsy shop are gorgeous. (check out her newly released pattern book Love Lace if you are into vintage lace patterns, it's so very lovely!)

i made this wreath with the 'simple statement wreath' pattern shared on the Good Knits blog.

did you miss that link? here's another... GET THE PATTERN!

once you get into a groove on this wreath pattern they are so quick to finish up! i maybe spent 3 hours or so on this one, in between chasing little miss around this past week.

i love this wreath pattern so much. it's so simple and pretty and so quick and cheap to make! i chose to use a 12" green styrofoam floral wreath form so that white wouldn't show through in case i didn't cover it 100% (i did, see troubleshooting in a min...) and the for the yarn i used Lion Brand's Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Cilantro. the red ribbon i used was recycled from a christmas gift one of us received last year that i saved. (free! reuse!)

troubleshooting. i'm a crazy tight, crazy overboard, all around crazy yarncrafter. i probably squeezed 3-6 (ok maybe 9) more single crochets than were really necessary on this first wreath to cover it. so in my opinion the loops look a little over crowded when i sit and stare at it, but my husband and everyone else who have seen it disagree so, you know. us crafters are always hyper critical of our own work.

i really hope you try out this pattern! it's so fun and easy... i think it'll be a great craft to do with kids too if you bought a smaller wreath form that was easier for them to handle. it's a great beginning crochet project.

i'll be back in a couple of hours with wreath #2 and how i turned this 'simple statement wreath' into an ornament holder!


p.s. post-thanksgiving weekend was always the big decorating weekend at my house growing up... i'd love to hear how you spend your weekend OR how you have started decorating this season so far! ♥

Thursday, November 24, 2011

thank you.

for my sweet little miss.
for a most patient & loving man.
for this perfect little family of ours.

for a roof over our heads,
food in our bellies, 
and the clothes on our back.

for everything we have,
and everything we don't have (yet).

for grandparents.
for great grandparents.
for our sister (and the coolest aunt ever).
for our ever supportive families and friends.

for smiles,
 and mean faces.

for hope.

for love.

thank you.

i hope everyone had a fantastic thanksgiving! this time of year makes my heart feel so full and happy... so very thankful for all of the blessings in my life. we're having a great long holiday together and are so excited to get our tree tomorrow! 


Monday, November 21, 2011

making christmas. week 1.

hello friends!

this past week i began all of the planning and preparations for our holiday season here at the taylor flat. i love this time of year. last year we did so much traveling in november that putting time into our holiday decor (and then turning right around to spend two weeks in indiana) didn't really make too much sense. especially with a 6 month old little miss who wasn't terribly interested in christmas just yet but...

this year is completely different! this year we are staying home and celebrating thanksgiving together as our little family of 3. this year we are starting our own traditions. we have the unique opportunity to stop, reflect, give thanks, and dream a little about our future too!

i feel so blessed that we have the ability each year to celebrate christmas at my parents'... their home is always so amazingly decorated, and tends to feel more like home to me than our tiny apartment. but this year i have the time to make christmas at our house!

so for the next few weeks leading up to christmas (can you believe there are only like 5 left!) i'll be sharing how i am 'making christmas' at our house. each week i plan to do a 'vignette love' recap post, share projects, and hopefully i can help share a little inspiration this season on how you can make christmas at your house without spending lots and lots on new decorations (no matter how much those target christmas aisles tempt).

as i said, this week was all about getting a solid plan together. we pulled out our two boxes of christmas decor from storage. i have a feeling we'll be putting more than two boxes back... but i'll worry about that later. :)

i started clearing some of our spaces and pulled some non-seasonal non-essential bits and pieces to be packed up in the christmas boxes to make way for  holiday vignettes.

i made goal lists that i felt were reasonable without overloading myself with too many projects... which is something i love to do. bite off more than you can chew much? i do! i made some recipe plans for thanksgiving weekend and grocery lists.  i wrote a plan for each room in the house and a supply list for all of the projects on my queue. oh, and gift lists!

later in the week i started working on a few of the diy ideas and patterns i've collected to experiment and see how long some of them would take. i'll share in more detail a little later but i LOVE the 'simple statement wreath' pattern by Good Knits. wreath #1, huge success!

and then to wrap up the week, on saturday we took a trip to the craft store.
i'm sure the first trip of many! hehe.

what's on the agenda this week? thanksgiving for sure. did i mention the 5 whole days little miss and i get with our most favorite? so happy. ♥


cleaning. cleaning. cleaning.
(can't put nice new handmade decorations on dusty shelves!)
complete project list for little miss's room.
find a tree!

i hope everyone is having an amazing season so far and enjoying some time with family this thanksgiving week!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

vignette love: what a week.



besides my christmas planning (and birthday shopping) this week...

little miss had a doc visit, and some vaccines. not happy.
lots of teething, drooling, and sniffles 
(can't wait to try her amber necklace when it gets here)
a sick pup (roxy is much better now, thanks!)
a broken needle and other clumsy mishaps
tested a few diys for 'making christmas'
some harajuku mini shopping
(you know to help make the teething hurt less and make up for the shots)

despite the teething grumpiness we did have a great week. little miss turned 17 months old this week and every day i'm surprised at what a smart cute little girl she's becoming. i know i say this all the time but she learns things so quickly and comes up with things that just crack me up.

i'm very excited to start a series of posts for the holidays... 'making christmas' week 1 will be coming tonight!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

par for the course.

today has been one of those days where somewhere in the middle of cleaning up after a sick dog, chasing and soothing a cranky post-vaccine little miss, and dropping or breaking just about everything i touch... i have to sit back, surrender, laugh a lot, and take life as it comes.

tomorrow is a new day.


Monday, November 14, 2011

a new year // 29 before 30

1. restyle my space.
2. develop & focus the blog.
3. plan a real honeymoon.
4. take a sewing class.
5. start keeping a family meal planner.
6. crochet a ripple throw for my bed.
7. host a dinner party. (or two or three!)
8. take more walks with the pups.
9. learn to knit socks.
10. use or purge 25% of scrapbook stash.
11. family beach getaway to asbury park.
12. create a small jewelry line.
13. picnic & family photos in central park.
14. make & install curtains for little miss.
15. get a new tattoo.
16. family bikes.
17. sew a spring quilt.
18. learn to play guitar.
19. drink more water, eat more fresh + local.
20. plan regular (and more frequent!) date nights ♥
21. sharpen up my time management skills.
22. discover the good thrifting towns in nj.
23. join a mommy + me swim class.
24. plan a girls' weekend (road trip?) with my mom & sister.
25. learn to ice skate.
26. join a yoga class.
27. get a new computer. or ipad. (or both!)
28. knit, crochet, or craft my way through a book.
29. find a home we can love.

i love my list this year. i'm so inspired and motivated, i know 29 is going to be amazing! i intend to keep much closer track of my goals this year and update here more often... i'm excited to start checking things off.

usually around my birthday i also share some of my end of year goals. just a few simple things so i stay on track and feel good about what i've accomplished during this hectic season when inspiration and project queues can get a little overwhelming. some of mine this year include...

  • style a family photo shoot.
  • send out christmas cards.
  • make or thrift a desk for little miss.
  • finish knitted cardi.
  • dye my hair back to dark auburn. (it's joey's favorite, mine too!)

do you create and share a list of goals each year at your birthday? or maybe at the start of each new calendar year? do you use quarterly goal lists? do you have a few simple goals you'd like to accomplish before 2012? please feel free to share!

off to work on a restyle and get to bed 'early'. tomorrow little miss turns 17 months (and gets a flu shot... eek.)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

birthday bangs.

hello friends. next week is my birthday and today my besties took me out for a little birthday shopping trip.  while we were out i decided it was finally time to get my bangs cut and my hair trimmed a little. i've been growing my hair out for almost two years now and want to keep it going (if you are new to the blog or don't remember how short it was you can get a refresher here..)

my little walk-in appointment is going to be the last time i go in to have someone cut my hair for a very long time. i'm happy with the trim up but i could not get the stylist to cut my bangs how i wanted them. she cut a tiny side bang when what i really wanted was a nice full bang... and after asking her to cut them shorter 3 times i gave up.  so when we got home i took out my trusty cutter bee's and took matters into my own hands... and i have to tell you i'm in love! i haven't been this happy with my hairstyle in a super long time!

(disclaimer: i'm NOT advocating cutting your hair with crafting scissors, even if they are awesome. for future bang trimming i will be purchasing real shears.)

i've been researching DIY haircuts for awhile. i've had my mind up to get bangs one way or another for awhile now and since i tend not to have amazing experiences with salons (unless i'm getting everything chopped off) learning to cut them myself has been a major desire. if you're interesting in trying to cut your own hair you should check out you tube and do some searches. there are a ton of really great videos to help you get on the right track. i suggest watching several until you are really confortable with it!

along with some new threads i got a new pair of Minnetonka's while we were out...

so comfy. all in all it was a beautiful saturday out with my two favorite people!

i hope everyone is having a great weekend... i'm off to cuddle with my little family as joey plays acoustic and little miss circle dances around us. happy days!


shirt: day trip
cardigan: merona (target)
jeans: h&m
moccasins: minnetonka
necklace: anthropologie

Friday, November 11, 2011

hooks & needles: falling leaves garland.

i'm very happy to finally be sharing this quick knit that i did several weeks ago. it was completed during my 'black out' period where i didn't have a camera to get decent photos of the finished product. i love this garland and keep moving it around the house so it's already getting a lot of use. i can't wait until we move and i have a real mantle (or at least better spaces) that i can truly decorate to my heart's content.

when i was thinking about garlands for my fall decor i really wanted to do something knitted... both because i love knitting simple quick projects and because i had a lot of yarn left over from my sister's lap throw. the colors were just too perfect for me to pass up the opportunity to put all of those scraps to good use!

i found a leaf pattern after some searching online that was nicely textured and also allowed me to practice a symmetrical double decrease which i hadn't really used before. it sound complicated but it really isn't... i love adding new stitches to my bag of tricks and discovering that a crazy sounding stitch really isn't all that crazy!

you can find the pattern here...

as i said i used the same yarn as i did for the lap throw i made my sister which was 'cozy yarn' by 'loops & threads'. i didn't really care about gauge so i used US11 needles.

the symmetrical decrease is written as (sl2, k1, p2sso) and all you do is slip two stitches onto your right needle, knit the next stitch normally, and then pass the two stitches that you slipped over the knitted stitch and let them drop. at the end of the pattern there is also a 'p3tog' decrease that you can stitch symmetrically by again slipping two stitches purl-wise onto the right needle, purling the next stitch, and passing the two slipped stitches over the purled stitch. easy peasy right?

it may take a few re-do's on your first leaf but after no time you'll get it and won't even have to think about it! the symmetrical decrease creates this really great vein in the middle of the leaf and it was perfect to use as a guide when i strung all of the leaves together.

sorry about the mobile photo, but it was my only option at the time!

i hope you can tell from the photo but there was a perfect V and then loop at each decrease that i used to determine how i would string them all together.

if you have any questions please feel free to ask! this is a great quick project for any beginner knitter who would like something to practice on. you can use smaller yarns/needles for smaller leaves, you could use them individually to hang on an autumn or thanksgiving tree, use larger ones as pot holders, make a table runner... there are so many possibilities!

happy knitting!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

be prepared to share.

it was another gorgeous day today. i feel so blessed to have this beautiful weather to enjoy with little miss before the temperature drops for good. today we made another trip to our favorite jersey city park/playground at lincoln park. the leaves have finally all changed and fallen. i think the shock of halloween's snow warned the foliage that despite the late amazing weather winter is indeed on it's way!


after some playtime in the leaves, we did our usual run around the playground. first stop is always the swings... little miss runs right to them. this girl would swing for hours. i think besides just the enjoyment from swinging she likes being up high and able to see everything going on in the park... she was having a great time today watching huge fat squirrels run around looking for handouts. i couldn't believe how bold these guys were...

this little guy kept running underneath abby as she was swinging and before i knew it...

what a little thief! he climbed right up onto the stroller and grabbed a cereal bar! to be fair i had forgotten that i'd opened it and offered it to abby as we were walking in... she'd rejected it for the time being and left it on the tray of her stroller. abby thought this was all quite hilarious, especially the little chase scene that unfolded as another squirrel realized the bounty that was to be had.

after that swing time was over and she just wanted to chase squirrels for awhile... those dang things let her get really close before taking off and it was scaring the crap out of me. i was afraid they were so used to all the kids that they would just charge her... they  probably wouldn't have. but we moved on anyway.


i know the weather around the country hasn't been quite as great this week so i'm very grateful for these days... we're doing our best to make great use of them.