What I’m Lovin’ in December

christmas

I hope you are reading this post while snuggled under your favorite blanket in front of a warm fire with hot cocoa in hand. {Or at least I hope you’re channeling that image}

I wanted to pop in to share a light-hearted read with you: the list of what I’m lovin’ this month!

resliced by Jordan (1)

Because of all the time I was able to spend sitting on my couch thinking of all the things I love, most of this post contains moments from my wisdom-tooth-recovery at the beginning of the month {It was a slow recovery, but I’m feeling better now!}.

1. Leaf Lookin’

I love when fall transitions to winter and the grounds become covered in the most beautiful blanket of leaves…and the sky becomes a little more visible through the trees. It’s just magnificent!

blue ridge mtn

This year the Hubs and I spent Thanksgiving at his grandfather’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The drive there was absolutely amazing! The photo above is from Popcorn Overlook. I wish I could bottle it up and send all of you a piece, but for now you’ll just have to enjoy the picture 😉

2. The Great British Sewing Bee sewing book

Having my wisdom teeth removed really zapped my energy. I was hoping to have enough energy to sew some while I was at home resting (thinking my only compromise would be a pair of chipmunk cheeks). No such luck.

Since I didn’t have the energy to sew, I gathered up all my sewing books – including one of my newest gifted from my mother-in-law: The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe – and did some sewing-related reading.

sewing bee

The Hubs kept me stocked on Frosties which really helped with healing 😉

The book is stuffed with tutorials for closet staples. It even included five full-size patterns which is exciting! One of them is a pair of men’s trousers which the Hubs is super excited about – he is quite tall and has the opposite problem I do: he struggles with finding clothing long enough. After plugging along with my Moji pants, I’m feeling more confident that maybe one day I could make him some pants! We’ll see…

3. Iris Apfel

iris 2

While stuck at home recovering from my wisdom teeth removal, I realized that I’m not a great television watcher and had no idea what to watch (after binge’ing on Friends…again…because it’s the only show I could think of).

My friend Markessce gave me lots of great recommendations – including Iris which he recommended because she reminds him of me.

iris

{Click the image to see more quotes from Iris}

loved the documentary! Iris is absolutely fabulous and so witty! If you haven’t watched the documentary on Netflix – add it to your list! {You can watch the trailer here & read 11 inspiring quotes from Iris here}

4. Knitting

knitting

Over the days I spent recovering from my wisdom teeth, I picked my knitting needles back up and finished the ear warmer I’d been working on. I took a knitting class over the summer, but I didn’t catch on as quickly as I’d hoped and struggled a little during the class. I went home and started searching the internet for help. I ran across Good Knit Kisses on YouTube and found her videos super helpful!

Then I started searching for beginner knitting projects. I thought I’d try to make some dish cloths because I heard they were easy, but then I ran across this ear warmer that looked even easier [and way cuter!]. I am kind of smitten with it and wore it to the Indie Craft Parade Holiday Market with my sister {cuz why not wear your handmade goodies to a handmade fair?!}.

ear warmer

Next up: I want to learn how to use circular needles so I can make this infinity scarf!

If you like to knit, follow my Knitting Pinterest Board!

5. Being a quilt guild member

A few months ago, I joined the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild. It has been such fun! I have enjoyed getting to know all the ladies and being a part of a group that loves sewing as much as I do.

At the guild’s holiday party, we decided to do a gift exchange. The rule was that everyone had to make something smaller than 18 inches to exchange. We played by the white elephant rules – there was lots of “oooh-ing” and “ahhh-ing” and gift stealing 😉

I mean – look at this gorgeous array of handmade presents!

quilt guild

Clockwise from the top left: a set of 3 vinyl-front WIP bags on top of their draw-string gift bag, an open-wide pouch (pattern also from Noodlehead), a zip-top pouch & Tula Pink fat eighth, my envelope clutch, patchy mug rug and large zip-top pouch.

For my gift to exchange, I made a tried-and-true envelope clutch {pattern by Noodlehead}.

envelope clutch 2

A few weeks ago I snagged a bag of Liberty of London scraps from Mad for Fabric on Instagram. The scraps are so small that they can’t really be pieced together so I used a glue stick to place them where I wanted them on a piece of batting then zig-zag stitched between them construct the flap. The method worked out pretty well.

My new friend Francine stole the bag when it was her turn – and lucky Francine…you can’t steal the gift more than once!

6. Crafty Feast

As usual, my sister and I had a blast shopping at Crafty Feast!

crafty feast

In the photobooth before the doors opened (yes, we got there early!)

We took over the Cola Indie Maker’s Instagram account to live post the event. I made sure to tag vendors in the posts so browse what we found and follow the shops! We discovered a lot of great new shops and loved seeing our local favorites 🙂

7. Supporting Friends & Makers

The holidays can be a frivolous time. It’s easy to find yourself mindlessly stocking up on meaningless gifts or putting your Amazon Prime subscription to good use (I’m not judging! #BeenThereDoneThat).

I think it’s really important to support handmade businesses as often as you can. As someone who has owned a handmade business, I know exactly what that sale means. It means the world: your purchase tells that artist “I believe in you!” / “Keep going!” / “Your skills are worth sharing!”

The president of my quilt guild has the cutest Etsy shop. When I saw that she would be at Crafty Feast, I started stalking her shop and asking her constantly about the bags she was making (we both love Noodlehead patterns). She’s mega-talented and super-duper sweet and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of her adorable bags!

I wanted all.the.bags, but settled on this ahh-dorable zip pouch (because who doesn’t need another zip pouch?!):

roar haus

The fabric made me swoon and the gold accents made me feel so fancy! I love it. It’s already been in my purse non-stop since I bought it – holding my favorite homemade lip balm {I’ll share the recipe soon!} and other little essentials.

Every time I pull this pouch out of my purse I’m reminded of Amber and how sweet and encouraging she is. Always air on the side of buying it when it comes to handmade businesses (unless, of course, that money was earmarked for your electric bill because you can’t enjoy it if you can’t see it! 😉 ). These makers appreciate your purchase more than you know! And if you’re going to buy “stuff,” it should be stuff that’s going to bring you joy.

{Visit Roar Haus on Etsy to see what Amber’s been making. If you’re looking for more handmade businesses to support, read my re-cap of Vintage Charlotte last year with links to several of my favorite shops or browse the Cola Indie Maker’s Instagram page to see all the awesome shops we found at Craft Feast – just click the shop names tagged in the post to check out their shops.}

Merry Christmas!

tree

I’d love to tell you this is my tree {HA!}, but it’s actually just a beautiful nautical-themed tree my sister and I fell in love with in a shop in Greenville.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with warm memories and lots of snuggles!

Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.

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Spring Break, Part 1

One of the perks of working for a school district is that we also get to be off for spring break. Just when the year is starting to speed up, we get a much needed break 🙂 How thoughtful.

While we work in different districts, my sister and I have the same spring break this year (yay!). Our mission was to get together a few days with the mission of sewing clothing.

Day 1

Katie has been wanting a Canny tunic for a while. The pattern is a quick sew (with only 2 pieces) so I offered for us to make it together. We kicked off our week by converting the Canny tunic to a dress!

canny dress

My sister in the Canny as a dress.

Stay tuned – I’ll be blogging about how you can turn the Canny tunic into a dress on AddieK’s blog soon!

I gave my sister some recommendations for my favorite sites to order fabric from and let her pick which to order. She chose a burgundy and black chevron pont de roma knit fabric from Girl Charlee. It’s no surprise that my sister ordered chevron (she loves chevron) and it’s definitely no surprise that she ordered garnet and black (go Gamecocks!).

I have not worked with pont de roma before, but my-oh-my this fabric was so stinkin’ soft I just wanted to pet it! It has a beautiful, easy drape. It’s sturdy, but has a good stretch. For the deal she got on the fabric, I had low expectations, but wow – it was dreamy. Girl Charlee is my go-to for knit fabric – great quality and great prices.

And…later on that evening, I spoke on a “What are they doing now?” career panel hosted by USC’s Arnold School of Public Health. This was my second time speaking on the panel – the first time, the room was so full there were students standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the back. The program has really grown since I graduated! (And obviously the students are still just as curious as we were about what on Earth to do with your degree in public health.)

I love looking out at the wide-eyed, bushy-tailed students – they’re so full of motivation to save the world, but yet scared to death about what the future holds (and for these students, they obviously want to hear it holds a j-o-b). I was one of the first 10 or so students to enroll in the undergrad [public health] program at USC so I always feel like a dinosaur when I talk to current students. Nonetheless, I am so honored and so humbled to be asked to speak on such a panel 🙂

Day 2

I had been intermittently working on my second Noodlehead Envelope Clutch (remember my first?!) since the weekend. While my sister cut pieces for the Canny dress on Monday, I snagged a few minutes to add a few more stitches. I took my time to get all the details right. I even added 6 additional card pockets to the interior (opposite of the zipper & 3 card slots). I wanted it to be a functional wallet that I could throw inside my Noodlehead Super Tote (remember my Super Tote?!) during the work week and pull out as a grab-and-go bag for the weekend and running errands.

My finished Envelope Clutch!

My finished Envelope Clutch!

I know, you’re probably going all heart-eyes over the fabric aren’t you?! I picked up this stunning print while in England over the holidays. I fell madly in love with Cath Kidston while we were there. On Christmas, Jeremy’s Aunt received a London Buses bag from her cousin and my mouth started watering. The print was so whimsical and as Jeremy’s Aunt started telling us all about Cath Kidston’s themed stores (where everything – from wallets to notebooks to luggage – is covered in these novelty patterns), I knew we had to visit the Newcastle location.

The store was such a delight. I wanted to move in and stay there forever, but my Hubs hates to shop (especially for fabric) so I beelined for the corner where they had the fabric stash and picked one to take home with me. While I really liked the oilcloth selection, I decided to go with one of the cotton prints (more of a canvas/home decor weight) because it was familiar and knew I could use it for multiple projects.

envelope clutch 2

How perfect is that sweet little butterfly?!

For the interior and wrist strap (PS: this is my favorite wrist strap tutorial), I used a shimmery gold home decor fabric I had lying around. I wanted to make pink piping for the exterior of the bag, but decided to forgo because I became impatient (le sigh…must get that under control). The pink fabric used for the inside of the zipper pocket and for the card slots was from a pair of medical scrub pants. It matched the fabric perfectly!

envelope clutch 3

I wish you could see how perfectly shimmery the interior is – these pictures don’t do it justice.

I can’t speak highly enough of Noodlehead patterns. Anna is pure genius. The details of the bags may take a bit longer than what you’re used to (if you’re used to sewing basic bags), but they are so worth it! In the end you’ll have a bag that you never get tired of because it is so stinkin’ functional (which is what has happened with my Super Tote which just underwent its first washing because I literally use it daily for work)!

I’ve been eyeballing Anna’s recently released Caravan Tote & Pouch. The bag has a lot of little details that are specifically handy for knitters. While I’m not a knitter, Jeremy’s grandmother is – and while we were in England she was working on knitting my third(!) sweater! To say I love her might be an understatement so obviously I’d like to make her a Caravan Tote.

Stay Tuned

Coming later this week, I’ll share with you the rest of the projects I’m working on! I’m hoping to stay on this super-productive-sewing-kick for the rest of the week! 😉