Category Archives: What I Made

Merry (Belated) Christmas, From Us to YouDecember 30, 2013

This has been the longest holiday celebration we’ve ever had – almost a week full of dinners and family and long visits. The season was made longer by an ambitious Advent calendar and plenty of handmade gifts (like this, this, thisthis, and this – yes, there were plenty more not documented). I’m not complaining – we certainly made the most of our last one-child Christmas. While we wind down, I wanted to share my family’s holiday video (in lieu of cards). Catch a peak at my huge belly, some Bowie cat, and our humble tree decor. Many thanks to my husband for putting this together… and revising it to include some my favorite ornaments.

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A Simple Cookie BasketDecember 20, 2013

Yesterday I posted this little project to Instagram. It was so simple (and delicious), I thought I’d share the recipe and how-to for you last-minute gifters like me.

  • Chocolate peppermint cookies: I’ve been making this Martha recipe for years, and they’ve become my most requested recipe. Lucy helped by having fun smashing candy canes.
  • Paper plate baskets: I used baker’s twine in place of washi tape and it holds together just fine.
  • Final touches were bits and bobs from around the house: unbleached parchment paper, plain tags, and some greens cut from our Christmas tree.

I even got to making some more with Lucy last night, though we dressed hers up with some watercolors, pretty ribbon, and tissue paper (we used sandwich bags for her to package the cookies). With our baked goods in the freezer, we can put together a cookie basket when she’s ready to gift.

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Farewell, FallDecember 16, 2013

Winter is officially here for us folk near Philadelphia. Though the heft of snow from last weekend has melted away, it ushered in the promise of a wintery holiday season. We don’t always get that in these parts, so I was happy to slow down for the snow – even making snowmen with Lucy and my 8-month-pregnant round belly.

Though our Christmas decorations have been up for over a while now, I miss our fall decor. Lucy, me, and even my husband spent most of November bringing home leaves of different shapes and colors. Then I’d dry them out with our field specimen press or, for the big ones, between paper towels under big books on the floor. Our dining room table was covered with kraft paper and paint most of the month, too, as we slowly grew our collection. Using washi tape, I created a temporary installation of the artful leaves in our living room as they were completed. (If you follow my instagram, you’d have seen our progress here, here, here, here, here, and here.) Now our Christmas tree lights up the corner, and those leaves await a home in a scrapbook. Here are some favorites:

And here is a full view of the installation with Miss L in the foreground, dressed as a pink fairy, gawking at the Thanksgiving Day parade:

All photos by HT Adjemian (thanks, hon).

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curating the ROASTING shopDecember 14, 2012

It’s been a work in progress but the shop is really shaping up! Reclaimed pine countertops are installed, vintage chairs and tables have replaced the dining table (just in time for holiday dinners, too!), and a final installment of shelves are under way. And while Pop was taking care of those things, I’ve been curating a small collection of handcrafted items from some favorite vendors for the season:

Chase Studios: Fellow coffee addict, Heather Ossandon, invited me into her studio to co-design the custom mugs for the shop. She also brought in some of her recent pieces – vases, carafes, mini cups – and has some more exciting things in the works for us. Currently based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, but she’s actually a native of the Medford area where the shop is located. Small world!

Chez Sucre Chez: Kimberly Scola’s “handcrafted miscellany” has been on my fave list for years. Her embroidery work is simple and perfect every time, but she’s been getting some high praise lately from Martha herself with her pretty and functional sewn goods. But I don’t need Martha to tell me that her bowl covers, mulling spices, and other goodies are great, because I already knew that. And it happens to be that this Thornton, Pennsylvania, transplant is yet another native of the shop’s location. Even smaller world!

Melo Studios: I met co-owner Olivia Lotz through Craigslist. After an exchange of quality furnishings, we soon realized our meeting was meant to be – her husband, a contractor, and I started networking for future projects, and I knew I’d find a way to get her candles into my possession (muah-ha-ha). She and her partner, Jess Lee, hand pour each candle in their Germantown studio – not Medford, but still local.

To put it all together, I spent an afternoon with Stacy Jackson at Meadowsweet Vintage in Manayunk poring over her treasures. The various crates and hardware drawers assembled on the wall are from her shop, as well as the Neapolitan flip coffee pots added for good measure. So one wall down, one wall to go! 


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What I MadeDecember 2, 2011

My husband and I were recently reminiscing about Christmas traditions. He told me how much he loved his family’s Advent calendar, where each day they would hang a new ornament on a little tree. Now I grew up in the Catholic school system, and remembered lighting a candle a week on the little wreath, but had no idea what an Advent calendar was or what the purpose of them. I did a little bit of (last minute) research and threw one together last night for my family. And because I was late to the game, I admit to cheating on the first day… “Make a wreath” was first on the list and accomplished at the DesignSponge event last night.

Want to see how to pull off your own calendar? Click below for instructions.


– paper
mini envelopes
– string
(see “notes” at the bottom for a simple alternative version)
– scissors
– pen

1. Write a list of Christmas-like things to do. Examples include:
    – Sing three Christmas carols.
    – Drink hot cocoa.
    – Watch “Elf.”

2. Cut the list into strips or print onto cards if you are that fancy (and have time).
3. Number your envelopes for each day – I did the 1st up through the 25th.
4. Fold and put the slips or cards into each envelope – do NOT seal yet.
5. Flip the envelopes over so the flap side is facing you – be aware that they are backwards so you will lay out the cards starting with the highest number on the left and the lowest on the right. Arrange the spacing evenly to determine the length of string you will need.

6. Once you’ve laid the envelopes in order, lay the string so that it tucks into the crease of the envelope flap. Leave about 24” or more on either end to hang.
7. Lick the flap and close, being careful to keep the string tight to the crease.
8. Lay a book or something heavy for a minute or so until the seal is dry.
9. Repeat the process until all the envelopes are done.
10. Once all envelopes are dry, hang up and enjoy.

A few helpful notes:
– When you open the envelopes each day, just be careful to tear the envelope open and not disturb the string too much. Ripping it off will surely bring the whole sucker down.
– If you don’t have mini envelopes around the house like I do, take a wide strip of paper (about 2.5” x 6”) and fold in half to make a 2.5” x 3” folded card. Write your holiday note inside. Hang from the string and seal with a staple or sticker.

I made mine in only one episode of “Cheers” (Tom and my current nightly Netflix obsession). I hope you enjoy and if you are a day-late, dollar-short crafter like me and get this done, send me pictures, k?

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What I MadeAugust 22, 2011

Two years ago this week I was 60 pounds heavier and the house was clean and quiet. Now I find myself slimmer, but only due to cleaning up and running after a “high energy child,” as my nanny puts it. My Lucy Bear is getting bigger and smarter everyday. So, of course, we need to celebrate her 2nd birthday in grand fashion! I spent the weekend scouring thrift shops for fun decorations and such, as well as finishing up a little project:

After seeing How to Make a Number Pinata on Oh Happy Day! I thought, I could do that! Furthermore, I had just taken down the tissue pouf mobile over her bed that was actually made from decorations from her 1st birthday. Being the resourceful craftsperson that I am, I turned 16 poufs (I’ve made more over the year for other occasions), into a pinata!

I simply disassembled the poufs, cut off the 2-3” edges that were already scalloped, and glued them on with a gluestick. And, yes, it was pretty simple, though quite time consuming.

Lucy approves, which is quite important. You have no idea how long it takes for this kid to dress herself, pick out what to eat, or choose a bedtime book. She takes after her Mama… always wanting the best and never settling. It’s exhausting. I love the Wilco tee, hot pink short-shorts, and Crocs she put together this morning. Style.

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DIY Ombre UtensilsAugust 17, 2011

A lot of eye-catching cutlery going around the interwebs these days. Here’s another with an easy DIY – grab some old silverware from the local thrift shop (clean it first, of course!), some neon spraypaint, and go to town on the handles! I’m sure there is sanding or something involved. And that ombre effect takes a bit of skill. But if you can score some cutlery for cheap, experiment and see what you can make. Then send me photos, saying, “Look what I made, GM!!”

via Sania Pell at Home via hwentworth

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Beard: The Gift that Keeps on GivingJuly 20, 2011

Last year for Lucy’s birthday, my friend’s son, Bubba, was obsessed with our photo booth – especially all the silly props (see here, here, and here). So, for his 6 1/2 birthday party this weekend (what fun is a birthday on a big holiday like Christmas?), I made him a beard. I figured he was getting all old anyway and could use some facial hair. Kids grow up so fast these days.

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What I Made: Gertrude & WallyApril 12, 2011

Despite having a million things on my plate all the time, I always like to have at least one fun sewing project in the works. Here are some little lambs I just finished up for Lucy and her cousin-to-be. Their names are Gertrude and Wally (because what else would you name them?) I made them using organic cotton (Cloud 9 Happy Nursery), recycled PET content grey felt, and bamboo fill. Oh, how I love me some sustainable sewing!

Pattern found here.

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Homemade RandJanuary 3, 2011

I’d like to wish you a happy new year… and belated happy holidays! I had meant to come back to you, friends, but became consumed with the whirlwind of the season and sort of crapped out on you. For that I apologize, but I’ve put together proof of my elf-like work ethic, crafting up gifts and decorations until the last minute. Click here for all the fun, including a few DIY tutorials.

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